I’m a little scatter-brained today so I ask that you forgive me if that shows in this blog.
The past few weeks have been a little bit abnormal and out of control. I’ve lost my temper (hulk-style) three times since December 13. That hasn’t happened in years. I literally had three episodes like that in the span of about five years prior to this. When these horrible episodes occur I get down on my myself and then I’m depressed that I’m depressed and the whole thing makes me annoyed at myself and I can’t pick myself up out of it. I can’t figure out why I couldn’t control my feelings and actions. Especially after I have done so well, for years, at not letting my triggers trigger me.
I know I’m not the only one who has felt this way. I’ve been worried that maybe my medications just stopped working. I’ve heard stories of this happening. It’s terrifying to think about. I believe, however, that I’ve found the culprit of my recent extreme mood swings.
I stopped taking a medication recently (not a psych med) that affects the body’s hormones. I was sitting around talking to my mom about these strange hot flashes I keep having in the middle of the night and it was as if a light bulb just went off. We looked at each other and said the same thing, “It’s withdrawal”. I looked up the withdrawal effects of this particular medication and they fit like a glove. I am not relapsing, not really. My episodes are still what they were and I need to address them, and I have to make sure this withdrawal doesn’t throw me into a relapse, because that can happen. The same night we realized that this is most likely withdrawal I actually slept. It was as if a weight lifted and I could see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Sleep is a vicious cycle in Bipolar Disorder. You can’t sleep or you sleep too much when you’re episodic, but you need consistent and adequate sleep to get better. It’s a constant struggle. I’ve even read (I don’t have a link, sorry) an article that insinuates that Bipolar Disorder could be categorized as a sleep disorder. Sleep has been a battle my entire adult life. I’m getting way too much, or not nearly enough. I cannot find my balance. Most Bipolars struggle with this. It’s just another malfunction in our brains, which means for many that it’s another medication.
It’s hard… a medication for mood stabilization, an anti-psychotic to boost my mood stabilizer and control outbursts, one to help me focus, one for anxiety (if I feel I need it), and a mild antidepressant. Morning, afternoon and night. There’s a Carrie Fisher (I miss her) quote that hits the nail right on the head:
“I’m fine, but I’m Bipolar. I’m on seven medications, and I take medication three times a day. This constantly puts me in touch with the illness I have. I’m never quite allowed to be free of that for a day. It’s like being a diabetic. “
Girl, I couldn’t have said it better myself.
When starting this blog, people came to me and said,”I would have never guessed…” Those statements have now changed into people thanking me for being so transparent. They have turned into people saying that they also have a mental illness and are less scared to talk about it and don’t feel so alone. They have turned into friends and colleagues telling me that their brother, or their cousin, or their mother has Bipolar Disorder. This in turn makes me feel less alone. We can talk about this, you guys.
Overall I am proud of myself. I felt myself getting out of control. I felt something change and I recognized it right away. It didn’t stop me from reacting to my triggers, but I was able to recognize that I was spiraling. Now that I’m pretty sure I know why this is happening I can address it.
I am aware that there is someone out there who sees me differently now, but I don’t think most of the people who have known me since before I started this blog do. I am still me. I am still Sarah, or Weezie, or a daughter, a cousin, a friend, a colleague… whatever I am to you. I still laugh at the same things, and I still sing really loud in the car. I still crochet until my hands hurt, and play the violin and like to hit things with my boxing gloves. This is why I feel ok talking about all of this. One thing is true through all of this…
I do feel quite sane about how crazy I am.
RIP Carrie. Thank you for being a light that shines through the darkness. You will forever be my hero.