The Highs and Lows of Bipolar Disorder
Sometimes it feels like you are on a roller coaster. It's hard to describe to someone who isn't bipolar. One day to the next, you may not know how you're going to feel. One day you might be totally exhilarated, and the next day in a pit of deep despair. Usually each phase last longer than that, for me it's a matter of months. But sometimes it's a day to day battle of swinging emotions.
How do you deal with it? Well, you do the best you can. Sometimes you don't manage it as well as other times. Staying on meds helps a great deal. Even when the side effects are really bad, I stay on my meds. Because I would be in a worse position if I were to quit.
Knowing you'll come up when you're down helps too. You have to put things in perspective. You have to remember this isn't going to last forever, and try to muddle through until you feel better again. I didn't say feel normal, because there really is no "normal" in bipolar disorder. At least not for me. It's always either up or down.
Then there are the dreaded "mixed episodes", when you're on a high but you feel bad emotionally, or on a low but you feel restless. These are worse than being depressed or manic. At least then things are orderly.
Writing helps me get through all phases of bipolar disorder. It helps me to organize my thoughts, and thus to organize my life. If I didn't have writing, I don't know where I'd be. I'd probably find some other way to cope. Luckily, though, I do have writing to help me get through the tough parts.
I keep writing even when I don't feel like it. It gives me a sense of purpose, and goals to reach. It helps me keep in tough with my inner feelings, and allows me to share them with other people, who may be going through the same thing that I am.
It helps to be really organized. To keep track of time and set your clock to remind you to do things. My time sense can get distorted, and it helps to use alarms and reminders. I use a daily planner, a calendar, and to-do lists. These all help me regulate what and when I need to do things.
I also keep a daily medication log. It helps me remember when and if I took my meds, and I keep notes on how I'm feeling as well, so I can recognize any patterns in how my meds are effecting me.
I will always be bipolar. I accept that, and try to live life to the best of my ability, despite the ups and downs.