I tend to be quite the extremist when it comes to my mood swings. I either have so much energy that I can’t stop cleaning or I can barely get off the couch to get anything done. I will admit that I somewhat enjoy the first few days of my manic episodes. I love the fact that I can get so much done; my house looks beautiful, dinner is always ready for my husband, I find it easier to run errands, I call my family and friends to catch up, I need less sleep, and some things are less anxiety provoking than usual. I love all of that; if only it would stay that way, but it never does. I run out of things to do, I start pacing and shaking, I make random and inappropriate phone calls, and I spend money more freely than I usually would; these are just a few examples of my bipolar mania. Often, when I’m manic, I still feel pathetic, worthless, and insignificant, as well as deal with suicidal ideations. I think that some of these episodes are considered mixed episodes because of how badly I feel about myself; mania generally has feelings of elation.
As my manic episodes come to an end, I tend to crash hard. All of the sudden, I’m sleeping way more than I need, I have a hard time getting out of bed or getting up to do just about anything, and my feelings of worthlessness and uselessness grow even deeper along with my suicidal ideations. I never get a break from feeling horrible about myself, no matter what type of episode I’m in. While I like the productivity aspect of the mania, there is not one part of the depression that I enjoy. I wish there was a way that I could feel okay and still be productive, but I haven’t found one yet.
What I really want is to find some middle ground somewhere. I must have experienced it at some point during my life, but right now, I can’t remember any moment like that. Maybe it’s just because of my memory loss from ECT. I know that I have come out of a few major episodes before, but no matter how balanced I seem, there is always something going on in my head telling me how pathetic I am. I just have to trust that I have had balanced times in my life. This is where positive thinking comes into play. It’s not easy to be positive, but there are several techniques that I use to help me through these difficult times. None of these techniques are easy to do, but they are vital to our health.
Use these techniques to get past the bipolar extremes and find peace and balance in our lives:
- Remember there is always hope; believe in that hope. If you can’t, having someone else believe for you can help. When I can’t, my husband and mother believe for me.
- Reach out to your loved ones and caregivers.
- Find a support group that you’re comfortable with.
- Be 100% honest with your psychiatrist, otherwise they can’t help you.
- Take your medication as directed, otherwise it won’t work properly.
- Write down the different methods that help you feel better and worse so you know what to do and not to do in the future.
2 thoughts on “Bipolar Extremes: Finding Balance”
I’ve been bipolar for so long, have taken meds for so long, have so many side effects (tardive, metabolic, nausea, constipation)…..I’ve been an angel for nearly the entire time but my tegretol interferes with a medication I need to switch to, so I have dc’d it for the second time (for a week journal and see how much I destabilize) my back is up the wall. I can’t afford to go inpatient ‘to see’ if I can ‘not take tegretol so I can take this other med that won’t constipate me. I am a little more variable (it’s my fifth day….off tegretol and I am on that newer, less nauseating new medicine and it’s working good. When you have had this illness for this many years and learned a lot about being your own doctor…..sometimes, we know what’s best for our bodies. My health, at 54 is breaking down from the meds and I need less toxic alternatives, things that don’t go through my digestive system, but are IM or sublingual instead so My liver doesn’t have to break it down. Gotta figure out how to give body a break. No one cares more about my life than me.
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Dealing with these side effects is very difficult and often dangerous. However, I would like to point out that you said, “No one cares more about my life than me”, good for you. It’s hard for individuals with bipolar to honestly care about themselves; I’m really impressed that you do.
I deal with nausea, constipation, memory loss, muscle aches, and confusion to name a few things as medication side effects. It’s hard to find the balance between our medications and our physical health. I’m not physically healthy to begin with. I already had to have a hysterectomy due to a physical ailment, I have a bladder disorder that causes me to get catheterized every 3 weeks (called bladder installations), and a double knee surgery because of knee misalignments are a few of my physical ailments. I’m pretty sure that my health will just continue to decline. I wish I knew how to handle it properly. I’m 31 and have had 5 surgeries already that I can remember. I guess we just have to take it as it comes. And I will try to remember what you said; I will have to care about my own life and stand up for my medical health.