I know that Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder. I understand that. In my experience, my interpretation of it is that our moods swing from one extreme to the other and are super intense. They mess with our thinking and we make can bad choices. According to the National Institute of Mental Health “Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.” Sounds pretty negative over all. It doesn’t have to stay that way.
I’ve talked about triggers in previous posts and how you should avoid triggers that cause you to have bipolar episodes and go into a tailspin. I have found that as we finally found the right medications and the right dosages of those medications coupled with counseling and learning about myself and my illness on my own, that I can actually experience moods that aren’t scary. I can be happy and know that it doesn’t have to mean I’m manic. I can make good memories from doing things that put me in good moods that I’m finally able to experience. (If you’re not where I am, don’t give up. Never stop fighting to be better.)
The more in control of my illness I am, the more I am free to feel healthy emotions without fear of losing control. It’s important to realize that being well doesn’t mean not having emotions at all. Getting rid of all manic type feelings would leave me unhappy and unfulfilled. I want to experience the highs I get when I’m doing something I love. Those are good, healthy moods.
When I am not being a slave to my emotions when they are out of control I can make choices that impact how I feel. That’s exciting to me. I can make my own choices and control my responses. (If you’re depressed, and I know some of you are, hang in there. You can feel better. Never give up fighting to be happy. You have the ability to learn and grow and follow your treatment plan and reach stability too.)
I admit that I am a little depressed right now. I’ve got too many major stressors happening in my life and they are having an impact on me. (My father passed just a year ago, my daughter moved out 11 months ago and my son 2-3 weeks ago, I’m taking the quarter off school, and I’m looking for a house to move into in town.) So far I’ve been able to keep from spinning out of control. I’m staying on my meds and meeting with my counselor. I’m trying to have healthy habits at home including playing with and training my dog and walking with her and eating better. I’m trying to sleep less. Getting up has always been a struggle but when I’m depressed it is so much worse. I’ve resorted to having people I know who get up before me call me and get me up for a few days to help break the cycle of over sleeping. 10 hours a night is just too much.
My point of all this is that it is possible to get to a point where we can feel healthy emotions, emotions that are good for us. I journal and I make sure to write about the good times… as well as the difficult ones so I can go back and prove to myself that it isn’t all horrible.
If I keep working hard to stay stable I can keep experiencing health/good emotions, and so can you.
“I had many battles to win over myself-and that was work too….” WC Stone, success and motivational teacher