Coping with Bipolar Disorder

Some days are easier than others and that goes for those of us who live with a mental illness and for people who do not. But I tend to laser focus on those days when I have a hard time getting out of bed. The first thing I think is, “The depression is back. Guess the medication isn’t working anymore.”

One bad day doesn’t warrant calling out all the stops and naming the next depressive episode, does it?  After feeling depressed for so long and finally getting a bit of relief it stands to reason that I would be just a little paranoid over the down days. I simply don’t want them to string together into bad weeks and bad months, where the good days come infrequently.

How hard is it to live when you are constantly monitoring your moods? I feel a little like I am in a scientific project. I have my medications in one drawer, my mood chart in another, and my books pretty much everywhere. I have become a bipolar disorder survivor fully equipped to do battle with this illness. Experimenting with what works and what does not.

Almost everyday I wake up in the morning, put on the coffee and sit for a moment enjoying the fact that I actually have clear thoughts. It seems such an easy thing to hope for when you can concentrate and string words together, but it is nothing that I take for granted. Because there are those days, like yesterday, when I could read a book but could not concentrate at all to write.

The bad days really bring me down. I turn into a “glass half empty” person, and I hate that when it happens. I like the part of me that believes in hope, inspiration, and dreams. I don’t care for the person inside of me that wants to say I’ll fail before I ever get started. I have begun to learn bad days are not the day I want to focus on creating dreams for myself.

I sit back, take a deep breath and wonder for a brief moment what it would be like to be “normal?” I can’t even imagine what my life would be like if I wasn’t struck with severe bipolar disorder. I don’t waste much time thinking about something that does not make me feel better. I would rather spend my time coping with what I know I have to deal with.  But I admit sometimes my coping is not always healthy and I indulge in unrealistic daydreams at times.

I just returned from the doctor’s office today and I’m happy to say the medication change is going well. At first I was really worried that I would have to deal with the “Zombie” effects as the dosage was increased. But fortunately it seems to be not as bad as some of the other drugs in the same category. I just keep hoping the anti-depressant effects will continue to work well.

After writing about my experience Lost in the Mountains with a Bipolar Episode, I had a bump in the road revisiting what had happened to me. I am grateful for all the kind comments and supportive feedback I have gotten. It’s always good to know someone out there can appreciate what you have been through.

I can also attest that I have been through some of the most difficult experiences caused by untreated bipolar disorder.  I’m a strong advocate for finding the proper medication regimen, without it I would not be writing these words.






10 thoughts on “Coping with Bipolar Disorder

  1. I relate to literally every single word of this, Amy! I would love to write something more profound but I was up at 2a.m. with a sick child coughing and pup Lucy having massive diarrhea after eating cat food by mistake. However, as I cleaned the floor on hands and knees using my Kindle Fire as a flashlight, I was proud of myself for dealing with it. It is sometimes the little (and smelly/gross) things that actually become a little humorous to me and I forget all about bipolar for a sainted half hour! 🙂

    1. Dyane,
      So sorry Lucy got into the cat food. Awful! But how resourceful of you to use your Kindle as flashlight! I am so glad you can relate to what I wrote. I mean, I wish you didn’t have to deal with BP, but since you do…you know what I mean. 🙂 I think it’s great you can find humor and relief in an otherwise stressful situation. Sometimes we get breaks from the most unlikely places. I helped paint the kitchen today and it was a break from thinking about BP stuff. But painting is such chore to me, seems like it would be relaxing but not for me. I hope your evening brings lots of good rest and relaxation. Hope Lucy is feeling better too. She is so cute!

      1. Thanks for a wonderful reply, Amy. Painting is a good break as you noted, but it is arduous! Give me a hot bath! Tonight I’m vegging out watching a little t.v. and reading blogs on my Kindle. That’s my ideal evening except for the fact that I’m out of ice cream. I’ll remedy that crisis tomorrow with buying a pint of one of my favorite flavors: Haagen Dazs chocolate chocolate chip. Yum. Lucy is doing better, and I’m just praying she’ll stay okay overnight. I hope as I write this you are having a good evening too. I’m looking forward to your next post very much! take care! 🙂

  2. Yes I agree wholeheartedly that medication is the cornerstone to successful treatment of BiPolar and, I think, mental illness.
    Like you, I tend not to make decisions when I am down and dont;t think that the odd day is a reflection of what is going on. I wait and see if it lasts a few days, as was my recent experience. After a few days on eplilim I feel better. Thanks for the thoughtful post Amy. cheers, Glenn

    1. Glenn,
      That’s a really good reminder to say hang in there and let a few days pass before you start to judge it. As many years as I have dealt with this bipolar thing I don’t think I have always been as good at managing it. It’s those little tips along the way that make life easier to deal with. Being symptom free certainly helps! Have a great day Glenn! Cheers to you too! 🙂

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