My diagnosis of bipolar is relatively new. Well, very new. No one really started throwing that around as a potential diagnosis until after my last nervous breakdown in October 2014. Before that, I had been holding steady with my nice little generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder diagnosis.
I thought me and my GAD and panic disorders had a nice relationship. I knew they were there, I was used to them and occasionally I felt free from them. I had days where I had lots of energy and got so much accomplished.
But the meltdown of 2014 changed all that. Suddenly everyone was talking about bipolar disorder. Well isn’t that the same thing as manic depression? Does this mean I’m a maniac? Now, these bouts of energy were being looked at with suspicion. Ok, yeah, I would get really tired and down after periods of all this energy, but that was just me catching up on sleep. I was tired because I had been SO active. Now, the doctors are saying, no no that’s the depression part.
So I get meds. And I go home. Oh, and I get a whole big pile of therapist appointments as well. Three times a week for me. I guess if you’re gonna do something, you should do it right.
So, NOW I’m home one day and I start getting really energetic and jittery. I’m pacing, my thoughts are racing and I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m terrified. This must be the mania everyone has been talking about. Get to the coping skills. Take a walk, color, write in my journal, I’ve got all this energy I should be able to manage one of these. But, no, not gonna happen.
And the depression? Same as it always was, except that I used to write it off as normal and now I know that it is the far side of the bipolar pendulum swing.
When I look back, I can see the mania speckled through my life. I’m bipolar 1, but few dangerous behaviors. Although, maybe someone would have noticed dangerous behaviors, and I would have gotten help sooner. But, I digress. I see the days at work where I would work for 8-10 hours in a row, no breaks and not feel tired when I got home. No real rest, just a couple hours of sleep and back to it the next day. But I didn’t see the problem…and really, look how much I got accomplished!
Now that I have the name to put with it, it feels like a problem. It also feels worse. But that’s because it is worse. That’s the problem with bipolar disorder. It feels great while it’s shiny and new and you don’t know what’s up. Lots of energy, getting things done, what’s to feel bad about?
But now, it’s out of hand. I’m rapid cycling and I’m not very well controlled on medication. The various concoctions that I have been on have helped me gain another 30 pounds that I really didn’t need and/or made my restless leg syndrome so bad that I laid in bed every night crying from the pain in my legs.
I really want to just taper off all my meds and see who I am without them. But, the therapist and the pdoc both believe that regardless of who I would be without them, WHERE I would be is the psych ward. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Twice. No thanks.
So, now I have the knowledge. And sometimes I feel like I wish I didn’t. When I didn’t know, it wasn’t scary. Now I’m scared. I’ve also thrown another log on the fire of worry that I tend to daily. And I know that I’m better off with the knowledge. My intellect tells me that’s the truth. But my mind isn’t interested in the truth. (Did you just hear Jack Nicholson yelling that you can’t handle the truth? I did) My mind just wants to go back to the days when times were simpler and I was just super energetic. Or, ya know….resting.