I have found success in managing my Bipolar Disorder when I aim to stay consistent with my routine. Waking around the same time each day, following a process getting ready and eating around the same time. It leads to a mundane existence at times, but it is good for me. Although I struggle to maintain my wake-up time routine on the weekends, I truly love to sleep in, the rest comes easy to me.
With that being said, I recently was on vacation for nine (9) days away from home and my routine. My waking time was changed as result of being in a different time zone and my bedtime was alas extended as well. (Funny how a later sunset greatly changes your natural wake/sleep inclinations). My time on vacation led to a different adventure each day, which meant variety, and quite a bit of time sitting in the car. Much to my surprise, I did not notice a change in my mood in response to the change in routine. I did find that my car anxiety was horrid. The fears associated with getting in an automobile accident were clearly present in my brain and I was having anxiety attacks left and right and then there were a few panic attacks that left me in tears. However, my overall mood was stable.
Following the white-water rafting incident, I was emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted and was quite edgy the day following that event. It took me several hours of being out on dry land hiking for me to shake the nasties and be happy to be in my skin.
Upon arrival home, the following day I was at the doctor with symptoms of pink eye. How I contracted this, is beyond me, but it came out of nowhere. We had stopped at so many places on our drive home, the potential contraction point is limitless. As result of the illness and being contagious, I have been quarantined since Monday afternoon. I will be allowed to return to the office for work tomorrow. I felt absolutely horrible that after taking a whole week off work, that I would need to further change my schedule to accommodate this unwanted illness. And, due to the medication and the fact that my body was fighting an infection, I have been more lethargic and tired, thus taking naps throughout the day and further upsetting my normal schedule.
But, I am fine. My mood is stable, a little emotional but overall fine. I count this as a victory. As in previous years, a vacation or just being sick would have derailed my stability. So getting hit with a one two punch would have knocked my socks off and caused a setback.
Today, with clear eyes, I am in a decent place, clearly comparing the past to the present, and being able to see the success that I have achieved. I feel proud that with all that happened, the white-water rafting trauma, the long, long car ride with anxiety in the front seat, and then contracting an ailment, that I am still in a good place. Often, I don’t think we take the time to stop and look at how far we have come. But, when we do, we can see that we are rocking it, and that should make you smile, even for just a second. How far have you come? What have you accomplished? What are you doing now that you were not able to do a year ago? Give yourself credit for all that you have achieved, you deserve it!