Bipolar Disorder

Girls Night Out

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Due to the busyness of the everyday lives that we live, we don’t often take the time to socialize with our friends.  When you have children, most of your focus is spent on your offspring and we tend to neglect our own personal needs.  I believe it is incredibly healthy to set time aside to spend quality time with those that are within our support system.

Girls Night Out often holds a negative stereotype of women dressed up in seductive outfits, letting their hair down physically and metaphorically, and engaging in risky behavior due to being “kept” for an extended period.  However, this is not always the case, at least in my own personal experience.

I planned a Girls Night Out for Saturday night as my partner would be out of town and I wanted to spend time with my friends.  Yes, we did put extra effort into what we wore, and there was elaborate planning that went into the event.  However, it was not a drunken, flirting, over the top event.

The night started out with bowling and I was in heaven.  The alley blasted great tunage from the 90’s and was a clean facility with amazing and attentive staff.  Following bowling was hopping between a couple of dance clubish bars.

I am not writing to tell you about my night out, there is a catch.  I was sick most of the night which put a major damper on things.  I was nauseous and sick to my stomach.  This was not the flu that has been going around or because I had too much to drink.  This was the result of an increase in medication following my psychiatry appointment on Friday.  To combat the nearly debilitating anxiety that I have been suffering while driving, we chose to increase my Lithium.  The new dose started Friday night and I began feeling the effects of the increase on Saturday.

Being on medication effects my everyday life.  Last night it was glaringly obvious that my life is affected due to my medication and the mental illness of Bipolar Disorder.  I have had to make changes to my life as result of the diagnosis and the medication that I am on.  I have been stubborn with making some suggested changes due to my refusal to give up all the things that I love.  However, there are times when my body makes it incredibly clear that it does and doesn’t want certain things.

I must remind myself that I need to listen to my body and when necessary make changes based on what my body says.  Being a hard-headed person in general, I have lived with the mentality of I will do what I want when I want and how I want, with no regard to whether this is good for my overall wellbeing.  It is a new year and I am in a different place than I was this time last year, or even a month ago.  I can not change the fact that I have Bipolar Disorder and that I need to be on medication to maintain stability.  I do have the control over the choices that I make.  I was disappointed that I was not feeling well last night and did not have the over the top time that I was expecting to have.  But, I still had a good time, enjoyed getting dressed up and socializing with my friends.

There is room for a socially fulfilling life with Bipolar Disorder, but it may have to be adjusted and slightly massaged to meet the new “normal” of my life.  Today, I start the process of accepting this and to relent in my fighting against it.

 

Bipolar Disorder

If you are happy and know it…

happy and know it

I am going to go out on a ledge and proclaim that it is a universal goal to be happy.  Or that more often than naught, people would prefer to be happy over being sad, angry, disappointed, and many other negatively charged emotions.  I know that I prefer to be happy versus being sad.  I aspire to have contentment in my life and a general positive well being.

However, for me, when I am happy, I pull out my microscope and I dissect my happiness piece by piece.  Why am I happy?  Is it a normal level of happiness, or is it an unusually high and elevated mood?  Did I take my medication each day without missing a dose?  How is this happiness different from mania happiness?  Is there a difference?  Holy crap, am I manic?  Am I exhibiting other symptoms of mania?  Where’s that mania check list?  I need to see how many signs I am currently exhibiting!

All these thoughts zoom through my head.  Sadly, I can’t be happy that I am happy.  Oh no, we need to think that it is the start to a manic episode and we need to batten down the hatches.  Let’s make sure that I have Klonopin in my cabinet incase I skyrocket and need to come down.  Set a non-negotiable time to go to bed and wake up to ensure I am getting eight hours of sleep.  Pondering if I should take a sleeping pill to ensure that I am getting enough sleep.  Everyone knows that a decrease in sleep can push a person into mania.  Let me analyze the amount of caffeine I am ingesting, is it within reason?  Should I cut back?  Have I taken on too much due to this place of heightened positivity that has soaked into my bones?  Was it the busy month of December, and subsequent holidays that pushed me out of the “safe zone”?

It is incredibly frustrating to worry over being happy.  To wonder why I am happy.  To be afraid of what it could lead to.  To be in a place where when you start to experience feelings and emotions and that scares you.  Have I been in a place of numbness and too perfect stability that this minor change is going to rock my socks?  Have I forgotten that it is “normal” to have good days and bad days?  To have some days when you are in a good mood, happy and excitable and then it is as equally acceptable to have a day or two when you are more down, solace and perhaps negative?

I have found that since I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 nearly two years ago, I constantly dissect my mood.  I can’t accept any mood outside of one that is bland… like my world is supposed to always be beige.  If I am not surrounded by beige, I jump to the conclusion that my medication must have stopped working and instability is on the horizon.  I miss the days when I just went with the flow of things, when I was not so incredibly driven by fear and anxiety.  When a good day was just a good day, and that a dreadful day would end the moment I fell asleep.

Is this how it will always be?  Will I get past this way of thinking?  Will the day come when I can have a string of good days and not wonder if below the surface something evil is in the making?  Is this just the way that it will be for all my days to come?  Is this the way others with Bipolar feel?  Is this “normal”?

 

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