Why Bipolar Disorder is a Full Time Job
I know, I know, “don’t let your illness define you. Don’t focus on it”. My parents tell me this all the time… and I do not let it define me. However, the truth is that I need to be aware of it in order to be healthy — in order to function at my best.
As much as I hate to admit this, the truth is that bipolar disorder is a part of who I am. It’s part of who makes me me. The ups create my strong motivations and make me feel so much and the downs turn me into an emotional mess or sometimes a human robot. I’m not trying to say that I enjoy having bipolar disorder. I hate it. It sucks. But I don’t have time to sit here and feel bad for myself or complain because it’s not gonna go away. So instead of fighting it or laying down and crying about it I learn to live with it — flow with it — adjust my life to what’s best for me and my illness. And honestly I’m scared of it. It’s painful and terrifying, but I also try not to fear it because that is only giving my illness power.
This has gotten easier over time as I’ve learned my triggers and early warning signs that a storm’s about to hit. Because no one knows you better than yourself. I need to always monitor my mood so I can stay on track — accomplish my goals and live a good life. This means staying on a constant sleep schedule, avoiding large consumptions of alcohol, exercising on a daily (which isn’t a hard task becuase that is my stress relief), and always making sure I take time to just chill and do me.
Depression comes on slowly… It starts with a change in appetite. I start to sleep more and take long naps throughout the day. I become irritabe, angry at little, stupid things and I start to put improtant tasks off for later. Lastly, and probably the worse, I don’t know what to do with myself… Nothing feels good or right and I don’t want to do anything but I have to do something. It’s like my mind and body arn’t cinked. AH.
Than I know it’s time to call my doctor — and when I’m lucky it’s a quick and fairly short fix. Because I have Biplor II I don’t have as much problems with becoming manic. BUT — I do feel that high at times and I absolutly love it. Like I’m up for anything and everything. So much energy and boy am I productive. I don’t think that’s a good thing ha but I do not know the consequences of having a full blown manic episode.
What I’m trying to get at is that I always have constant reminders that I have this illness. And no I do not focus it and let it consume me. But I have to listen to myself — understand my habits and track my mood. It’s a part of my life and I do what I have to do to manage it and be happy. Because honestly that’s what matters.