Tag Archives: stability

To Stir The Pot or Not?

It seems that bipolar disorder has two modes; on and off. I’m certain that most people, when thinking of this disorder, think of it in its on mode (widely known as cycling). While cycling moods act as something of a roller coaster, with easily triggered mood swings in all directions and even long strings of swings that seem to go on independently of triggers or situations.

For the last two and a half years, I have been cycling.

Before that, though, the bipolar shifts would come and go. There were periods of weeks, if not months at a time, where I felt perfectly fine. Times when it felt like bipolar disorder had suddenly turned off. 

Most of the people I’ve talked to that are experiencing these periods of rest seem to be the ones who are still learning about the “whole bipolar thing” and whose symptoms have only begun appearing recently(ish). Of course, this is kind of just speculation on my end, because I really don’t know… is this something everyone experiences, or if it is more of a random occurrence?

Anyway, this off phase has its good and bad qualities. In the realm of good, it allows people a much needed break from the roller coaster of emotions that bipolar disorder has to offer, and it can mean something of a return to normalcy. On the other hand, it isn’t uncommon for people who experience this to suddenly drop their doctors and medications because of the seemingly miraculous healing that has suddenly taken place. Sometimes symptoms are forgotten about completely before the on switch flips on and mood swings return again.

In my life the most common response to this off switch is one of paranoia.

When will my symptoms start again?

Will doing action x trigger it all to come back again?

The last two weeks or so I’ve fallen into one of these periods of stability. My bipolar symptoms are in off mode. Though the whole thing has been quite nice (the first period of stability in two and a half years) I find myself, as I said, a little paranoid about what might bring it all crashing back.

My doctor wants me to try new medications despite feeling good, and I’m somewhat terrified doing so will “unstick” my stability. Stir the pot, if you will.

To be fair, there are a lot of other things I am doing (or not doing) to avoid stirring the pot as well. I haven’t had any alcohol. I’ve been (actually) exercising (with like… weights).

If I think of all the things I do to try to sway an elevated or depressed mood one way or another, it is sort of the same ballpark. Just trying not to sway things one way or another.

Overall, I don’t know what will happen. I don’t know how long this will last (and winter is coming). I feel compelled to take advantage of the time I feel more like myself than any other time. I take my life one day at a time, and these days have been something like a time warp to a time like three or four years ago.

In a sense it is like taking a vacation from myself (or the self of the last three years, anyway). To stir the pot or not? I can’t. With these moments so few and far between I feel compelled to stick a lid on that pot and (mindfully) let it simmer.

A Happy Story

Earlier this week, magic happened.

I woke up feeling refreshed, stable, appreciative, and creative.

The day itself felt relaxed and good humored. I felt loved, and loving.

The muscles in my body did not clench or contort under the weight of stress or anxiety by the end of the day, and somehow the daily physical pain I normally feel took a day off. No headaches, no backaches, no stomachaches.

The entire day felt something like going back in time, like being 21 again. It was as if the last several years had never occurred and my health, (though sporadic at that time), was not yet debilitating.

It was a perfect day. I don’t remember the last time I felt so entirely like just myself.

I fell asleep entirely content, the need to wish that this person, this former version of me would be there when I woke up the next morning, didn’t even enter my mind. There was no fear, no concern for the future, just a perfect day under my belt.

The next morning I woke up not quite so rested. Feeling not quite so much like myself. And over the next 12 hours, I watched everything that had been there the day before evaporate, leaving me with this person. Me. 25 with pain to be reckoned with. Atrocious anxiety. Irritable.

The perfect day I experienced was something I considered to be a very happy story, but as time wore on this week I found myself wondering at what point is it a sad story?

If this was the first day I felt like myself in a month?

If this was the first day I felt like myself in 6 months?

If this was the first day I felt like myself in a year?

What about longer?

I find myself torn between two places, one of appreciation that I could have any time, even a single day, feeling like myself again… and the other of frustration with the fact that that single day was so fleeting and I genuinely have no idea when (or if) I can get it back again.

Does this one day grant me hope or doom me to obsess over this carefree version of myself that hasn’t been present in ages?

Either way, it is so rare for me to spend an entire day in any one mood or state that all I can seem to do is wonder at the fact that this one day of sublime stability happened at all. And at this very moment, something about it feels encouraging… so we’ll leave this one a happy story.