By the grace of God my psychiatrist had a cancellation this week and I was able to move my appointment up two weeks. I walked in, sat down and explained what has been going on and how I have been feeling. He listened attentively and when I was done he asked a very simple question, “At what time of the day have you had your episodes?” I replied, “Afternoon or evening.” What followed was the simplest most common-sense explanation I never considered.
He explained to me that one of my particular medications, my mood stabilizer, is most likely wearing off due to its shorter half-life and that I probably need an afternoon dose to keep me even. This medication is also an anticonvulsant used to treat Epilepsy and he noted that if I were being treated for that no doctor would prescribe me one dose a day. It made total sense. I am a skeptic, though so I made sure to ask my Facebook support group how many of them split their dose (it’s a very commonly used medication for Bipolar Disorder). I was pleased to find out that most of the people who replied split their dosage for this particular reason, so now I know my doctor wasn’t feeding me a load of BS.
I am hoping that I will begin feeling more even soon. In addition to this adjustment I have also decided to seek counseling again. The main reason is that I do not know why I couldn’t control my anger the other day. I have been given so many useful tools through therapy to help me control my symptoms in conjunction with my medication. It is bothering me a lot that I couldn’t seem to take enough deep breaths, or count backward enough times to not act out. I literally turned into She-Hulk and I can’t stop dwelling on it.
I’ve tried to explain to my family what all of this is like, but the correct words do not exist. I don’t know how to explain it. If I’m sad am I too sad? If I’m really happy and productive for multiple days am I hypomanic? What’s too much? How do I know? What is “normal”? Will I ever know? It doesn’t necessarily consume my mind every second of every day, but in general I feel like I’m always looking over my shoulder to make sure the monster doesn’t catch up with me. I have to be ahead of it at all times. It’s exhausting. The thing I have to remember is that if it does catch up with me it doesn’t mean I am a failure. That is not easy. None of this is easy.
My goal for now is to follow Doctor’s orders and take my medication how I’m supposed to, which I already do. I am going to go back to therapy and re-learn how to control myself and my symptoms and I am going to make a concerted effort to not dwell on things and worry myself sick.
To everyone in my life… if I don’t seem quite like myself right now please don’t take it personally. I am forever learning and dealing with this ever-evolving thing that is Bipolar Disorder. I will always be “figuring it out”. I simply ask that you are patient with me. I am still in here somewhere. My mental “out-of-office” is on, but I will be back.