- Mental Health
How Does Summer Weather Affect Your Bipolar Moods?
And So The Day Began
The heat has been one humid day after another, days blending into each other like a heavy wet blanket. Does this kind of humid sweltering weather affect my moods? Having a mood disorder called bipolar, that is a resounding yes, I would have to say it positively affects my moods in very significant ways. Oftentimes I am able to just go with the flow. I do love the heat, and love the summer months, so I can for the most part go along with it. But I believe there are a lot of people with mood disorders who are severely affected by the summer heat and humidity. This hub is for the times I have had trouble dealing with summer, and for those who find the heat to be their enemy.
You Can Beat The Heat
One seriously sweltering summer day, the heat was brutally hot, with extreme melting death defying humidity. It was a sure fire day for the swimming pool. My niece, nephews, father, and sisters all took to the pool like hungry little dolphins. We swam, splashed and savored the cool water while playing in the sun. Roasting hot dogs on the grill, laughing while we were swinging on the old swing underneath the large oak tree. Sipping tall glasses of root beer with lots of ice. While the sweltering sun beat down on us.
I did however notice my mood was borderline "don't touch me I will bite your head off if you look at me the wrong way." I sort of felt like a rabid dog growl coming on. So this was indeed my warning sign (trigger) to get into my introverted mode. To observe rather than participate was a safer way for me to manage my mood.
The next day I had an appointment with my psychiatrist in the early morning hour.
I felt like a blood sucking vampire when I woke up. I wanted to fight. I couldn't stand myself. My skin was crawling as the humidity began to rise. Of course there is no air conditioning in my apartment. I feel depleted and tired from the bipolar medications, Risperdal makes me have mixed cycles, but at the moment I am semi-fine. That can mean a huge win in the world of bipolar. I will see the nurse first. We will call her nurse Diamond.
I tell her I am doing genuinely creepy and feel almost deranged for no reason at all. That I could be doing better. I want to be happy like a clam, and not as sad, as an oh lets say, what a basset hound looks like. She weighs me, and I lost a seven pounds. Yay! I almost feel better. I kind of forgot why I was there. See this is how quickly a mood can change.
So I go in to see the psychiatrist Dr. GetWellington, It is a fitting name. The goal is to get myself well. We chat a bit about some of the side affects I am having. Maybe I'll get used to them in the eight week time frame she likes to allot for the drug to take effect. It has been only four. Okay my mood is slipping even further because I hate to hear that. She comments on my flippant mood.
She then suggests it might be the summer heat wave, and perhaps the new medication change affecting my mood. Oh really, maybe I am just cocky because that is who I am, or perhaps I don't even know who I am anymore. No need to change medications around even more she suggests. She'll see me in six weeks. She advised me to drink plenty of fluids and be careful out in the sun. I am finished here and off I go. And I paid good money for that seriously 'flippant' advice.
I go outside and am instantly absorbed by a wave of sweaty, stifling humidity. It swallows me whole like a big vicious blood sucking shark. I become even more agitated, rage begins eating my insides. I get in my car and decide I need to go to the store. For what I don't really know, and at this point, I don't really care. I just need to spend the small amount of cash I have in my pocket. Something tells me if I spend it, I will feel so much better afterward. On a more logical note, I somehow don't think that is possible. But I give it a shot all the same.
So I go to a department store and walk around the school supplies isle as I always do every time I go into a store. It has become quite the obsession of mine. I thought I had the OCD in check with the Cymbalta. But apparently not. Ha! It creeps out when I hit the pencil and pens isle. So I buy the pens and check out $20.00 dollars later. Ten minutes down the road sweat dripping down my back and face I turn the air conditioner on. Crank up the radio and start to bawl like a hungry baby. This is what I mean by mixed episodes.
Well that's weird isn't it? I don't know why, but all of a sudden I feel like my life has come to it's conclusion. I tell myself there is no point anymore, my life has absolutely no purpose. How could it? I have $20.00 dollars worth of pens to play with. The urge to drive into traffic would make it all go away, so I think out loud. Furthermore it would look like an accident so no one would have to feel guilty. Not thirty minutes ago, I was suitably fine, I was appropriately irritated from the heat and was buying school supplies I didn't need. So I drove home in my super cold air conditioned car, stopped at my dad's, and jumped into his icy cool swimming pool.
So in conclusion, I am led to believe that the heat does in fact affect my bipolar moods. The weather can be stifling, if not suffocating. At times unbearable. But I love it like that. But my head obviously has other idea's about that. So anyway I try to make it a good day. Even if I feel like barking like a rabid dog. I think the point is if you can know what your trigger is, then you can become proactive and do something about it, instead of just blaming the heat and being taken by a mood swing.
Because yes, many people can be affected by the heat. They don't call them the dog days of summer for nothing. But with bipolar there are so many triggers that can be sustained if you just be aware and keep those urges in check. Frankly with bipolar you don't just wish the mood away or they wouldn't have a name for it. It would just be a bad mood. It is unfortunately a mood disorder. But the mood disorder does not have to win and control us either. Taking action can help. Being aware is a powerful tool.
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Tips To Keep Your Cool In The Heat
- Drink plenty of cold fluids. Ice cool water is the best choice, whatever beverage you decide to consume, be sure to use lots of ice. I prefer ice tea. Sweetened. With lots of ice. And a straw of course.
- When the sun is at it's hottest, be sure to close blinds and curtains to keep the heat out. I am lucky. I get the sun in the early hours of the day. So it comes and goes pretty quick. But it still gets sticky, humid and hot.
- Use a spray bottle with cold water. Spritz your face and neck throughout the day. This is a nice little trick that works well. With a fan if there is no A/C.
- Go to a public place such as a library, school, movie theater or shopping mall, grocery store, anyplace place with air. This is a good idea. I am next to the public library. It has Internet access so I can go online while I cool off.
- Take a cool shower or soak in the tub with cool water. Soaking just your feet in cool water will cool you down as well. Doing this a few times a day helps keep your temperature down.
- Wear loose fitting clothing, shorts, tank tops, Darker colors will absorb the sun's heat and be much warmer. Wear natural fabrics (cotton, silk, linen) rather than polyester, rayon, or other artificial fibers.
- Use hair accessories to your advantage if you have longer hair. Headbands and delicate little clips hold hair away from sweaty necks.
- Use fans. I use a tall oscillating fan. One in each room. I could use an A/C unit but affordability issues pose an issue. Ceiling fans are always good choices if you have them.
- Don't forget the pool. If your lucky enough to have a private pool, that's super great. There are public pools like the YMCA, school pools, some small town motels will charge a small fee to use the pool, even buy yourself a little kiddie pool. Fill it up and bask in the joy of coolness.
- Of course if you have air conditioning in your car, take a drive to cool off. Every little bit helps, especially if it helps increase your mood. I know I'd rather be in a good mood than a bad one. So here's to happy summer days and good moods.