It’s been one month since I stopped posting on my blog’s Facebook page and writing blog posts, not because I didn’t want to but because life was just too hard, something had to give.
My bipolar and anxiety were giving me a good belting, they have been for this entire year which is why I can’t wait to say goodbye to 2018. But, in working with my doctors, I am feeling the best I’ve felt in over a year, I feel like a new person but, it’s been hard to get to this point.
15 months since my Bipolar diagnosis
It’s been a total of 15 months since being diagnosed with bipolar and around six months since being formally diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder. This year has been long and arduous, trying to get medications right, dealing with extreme lows, debilitating anxiety, negative thoughts and severe medication withdrawals. There’s also been a huge learning curve, learning about myself and my mental illness.
I’ve experienced days on end waking up feeling so anxious I felt sick, where I’ve doubted myself, felt worthless, had zero self-confidence and have wanted to run away from my life. I was I was barely coping and very depressed. Tiny things would put me over the edge; my fuse was extremely short. I snapped easily and would raise my voice. I hated it. Energy was at an all-time low, I just couldn’t get motivated, and my work and blog suffered.
Life has been exhausting, most of this year I’ve been far from being happy and, as someone with high-functioning bipolar, I haven’t functioned out of choice, it’s been out of complete necessity to raise my family and maintain my work. Worst of all and the point where I was desperate for my medication to start working was when I self-harmed by hitting my head against a wall multiple times because my mind wouldn’t stop. During this episode I felt trapped with no hope or answers; I was in a state of confusion and intense sadness.
The reality is that it’s not that things have magically come good, it’s the medication that’s started to work. I’ve tried different medications, I’ve stopped different medications and I’ve tried different doses and finally, what I’m on now is working. My psychiatrist reminded me that when medication finally works for people with bipolar, it’s an amazing change but it’s important to stay on the medication. As I have done in the past, many people come off the meds believing they don’t need them because they feel ‘normal’. I know too well what happens after that. All the ugly stuff comes flooding back.
What will happen when I wake up?
With bipolar, there are days I can wake up feeling down and depressed for no reason at all, this could last for a week or more. There are days I can wake up feeling manic for no reason at all or, the odd days where I just feel ‘normal’. I never know when it’s going to happen, even if my plans involve doing something wonderful, I could still wake up feeling depressed.
But every day since experiencing this stage of ‘normal’, I intensely hope that it continues because it’s the longest I’ve felt this way. I still go to bed hoping like crazy that I’ll wake up feeling ‘normal’, again. I don’t think I’ve ever hoped for something so bad.
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Wow! This is so similar to my bipolar journey! I was diagnosed 3 years ago when my youngest was 3 months old. At that time my other children were 1yr and 3yrs old. I am also high functioning but you have absolutely no choice when you have little people to care for. I remember days where my biggest success was getting out of bed. It was so incredibly hard. There’s no way to explain it. At the time and in hindsight too I believe I did my absolute best. I kept the children safe. I took care of their phsical needs. I cuddled them. I showed love and cared for their emotional needs even when all I felt was numb. I know who I am and even when my brain misfires and explodes I do everything within my power to remain true to who I am. I screw up. Sometimes. Lots I guess. Especially when I’m stressed. I can’t always stop what’s happening in my head from bursting out in a verbal terrade of words to be regretted and apologised for and my husband usually bears the brunt of it. If I had perfect control I guess I wouldn’t have an illness called bipolar.
I too have anxiety. Just to add something extra into the chaos of what I deal with in my mind. Not to mention the physical symptoms that go along with anxiety! I am hoping that as the kids get older and become more independent it will lessen.
It took a year to get my medication mix right. I am thankful every day for my meds. I think if it were 50 years ago I might have been written off. Put in an institution. My kids may have been taken off me. Who knows. Meds are a blessing. To be appreciated. I believe they minimised the impact of my illness on other people.
I too have experienced the rapid fluctuations in mood. Having no idea whether I would wake up depressed or hypomanic. Or occasionally within the realms of normal. Not knowing what to plan or what I could cope with for each coming weekend. Sometimes I breezed through the day. Super efficient and being able to complete a superhuman amount of tasks. This would escalate to not being able to focus as more and more ideas flooded my head. Other times I’d wake up and struggle to get out of bed. Everything everyone did would be wrong and super annoying. I’d try to do things that I knew would make me happy but nothing would work. I would feel as though I was ruining everyone’s day and sleep or go Bush as a means of avoiding screwing up.
I want to encourage you by saying that the tables have turned normal is the new normal! Those difficult ups and downs still happen but with psychotherapy techniques, self learned techniques and the healing power of time I am able to nip those mood states in the bud. They don’t last more than a day or two.
I still long for more and more normal. I hang on to the hope that my brain will create more and more normal pathways as I continue to manage this illness.
Knowing that the hard days will pass keeps me hanging on each time I face a challenge. I continue to do my absolute best. I refuse to feel guilty for being sick. It wasn’t my choice to have bipolar but it is my choice to make as to how I decide to manage this and i know i do all i can.
Phew! Hope you feel blessed as this is the first time I’ve commented on a blog! Its turned out to be a rather hefty comment!
Keep doing the best you can! You’ve come a long way and although the journey is hard you have the power to choose the pathways you take.
We can do this!