When new people like a post of mine, and if my Internet connection on my phone allows it (currently throttled), I go to check out who is reading my stuff. Read until I find something that moves me to comment. The more I find I like, the more I follow.
Yesterday someone came across one of my earlier posts and I was able to load her page. She drew me in with her honest plea for help and understanding of the struggles she’s facing, another like soul crying out for someone to connect with, to help cope with the stress of being bipolar.
She wrote a very honest post. You can check it out at: Bipolar Drunk Chick
She had so many good questions that I felt like I had at one time wanted answered for myself. She just wanted to understand what was happening to her. I could totally relate to that. Because I’m in the same boat, walking the same path, working toward the same goal.
I took her post and separated it into different sections to make answering more understandable.
“Today the usual emotional rollercoaster. I need to really understand bipolar. I read recently that people do not know much about bipolar even the people diagnosed with it.”
One of the easiest traps to fall into when reading from the Internet is forgetting that a lot of sources fail to be impartial. Everyone has an agenda they are pushing – whether to promote understanding of the illness to downplaying the seriousness of the “illness”. Take everything you read with a grain of salt.
There is tons of information about bipolar symptoms, habits, tendencies, medicines to help cope, therapists to guide, a blogging community to relate, a plethora of anything you could ever want to know about the ups and downs of being bipolar. There are specifics from every angle: people living it, people loving people who live with it, medical opinions, judgmental and ignorant opinions, lies, and insults. It’s all there.
The way I filter the information is by finding what actually applies to me. I’m a rapid cycling manic bipolar who was diagnosed in May of 2014 after having a psychotic episode where I felt God entered my body and used it like a puppet. My episodes tend towards the up cycles of hypomania and mania.
So while there is a plethora of information about the depressive side of the illness, I limit myself from delving too deep into something that hasn’t affected me too deeply yet. I know what to expect when my body takes the eventual dive into depression and that’s enough for me. I feel as though more reading would worry me rather than nurture.
Decide how much information you want the outside world to tell you about yourself. Bipolar is a diverse all-encompassing kind if illness. It affects people in so many different ways and yet there are underlying themes that connect us through the extreme differences. It’s very interesting to read about others and know the details are different but feel the similarities in spirit. Just try to keep in mind their details do not necessarily apply to you.
“I was diagnosed a couple of years ago. I was taking meds but was still drinking really heavy plus abusing benzos and opiods. So I contributed some of the rapid cycling to the addiction. I have been sober (no drinks or pills, I do smoke weed) for over 100 days and I do not feel any better.”
Addiction is a common theme of bipolar. Sex, drugs, gambling, risky behavior… impulse control is not a strong suit of the bipolar community.
My personal (uneducated, unprofessional, and not at all medically relevant) opinion is that the upside of the mood swings feels so amazing, like the best high you could ever imagine, so good it makes you want to weep in pleasure that is borderline painful, so intense you subconsciously seek to replicate the feeling in day to day life. Those activities we all stumble over: gambling, sex, drugs, and risky behavior – they all illicit adrenaline rushes or mimic euphoria or do a combination of the two. Either way, these are areas we are naturally sucked into because our bodies naturally produce similar feelings. We just want to feel the same all the time. And most of us seem to just want to be happy.
The problem is that there is a big difference between the natural euphoria and unnatural ways to produce it. The unnatural behaviors, habits, tendencies, and/or addictions throw your body out of natural balance. And makes it harder to recover when you gain control back after relinquishing it to a negative energy drain.
Your body naturally knows how long you can last in the up stages and how to come down to baseline to give you the break your body needs after working so hard. Because being bipolar is treacherously hard on your body.
Trying to get higher or bring yourself down before your body is ready seems to create a blockage in the natural flow. Sometimes it takes years for the dam to burst, months, days, hours, sometimes even minute to freaking minute. But when it bursts holy hell is it a bitch to deal with. Emotions are all over the place, thoughts are running a mile a minute, any unresolved issues come surging forth in the form of rage and hatred, it is not a pretty sight to behold.
And then once you get natural control of yourself, the negative feelings often come to make you feel worse for losing control of yourself in the first place. It’s a slippery slope that then throws your body into an unnatural depression after the unnatural high.
It’s really about learning what is right for you. Not anyone else. But know that whatever you choose to do may affect your natural flow of emotions.
Realizing I had a choice in relinquishing control of myself was a big awakening point for me. I was no longer a victim but rather enjoying the rollercoaster ride of a lifetime. One where I would go up and down without ever having to lift a finger, and yet still had the option of the “fake euphoria” should things ever get too bad. It was very liberating.
Hopefully you can find a similar epiphany that will give you peace with bipolar. The more I fight what comes naturally to me, the more out of control I get. When I embrace the changes and feed my body what it needs (food, sleep, and creativity) during the ebbs and flows my life is peacefully blissful. I can’t say this approach will work for everyone but I know I have found utter calm in the midst of a cataclysmic whirlwind of emotions, thoughts and energy.
Life feels good despite everyone telling me I’m crazy. So who are really the crazy ones? The ones beating me down for not being like society or the girl who just wants to make people happy by being happy?
“I am friendlier and I have started being more approachable. But, my mood can flip at any second and then I am done and want to walk away or get off the phone with that person. Then the more they continue to talk I want to scream and I feel so irritated. Now I will say if I have smoked my herbal medicine I am more relaxed and can tolerate people a lot longer.”
You are likely more friendly and approachable because you are learning, whether consciously or not, to recognize your triggers. For me, the more I have come to understand my triggers, the better I am able to cope with people’s behaviors that hurt me.
However my body naturally starts telling me when someone is affecting me more than I can handle. I lose interest in the conversation, my mind starts to put up defenses for perceived insults, racing to downplay the situation, I start to get fidgety.
As I continue to disregard the signals my warnings get more intense – I start to interrupt, get irritated, get argumentative, my voice suddenly picks up a megaphone volume, my body starts shaking, pulse starts hammering, I start to feel too “quick” in my movements. And if I still continue to disregard the warning signs a full on rage will sweep over me.
But those are my warning signs. I’m sure you have similar occurrences and patterns, it’s just about looking for them while you are in the throws of emotional tidal waves and reflecting on your behaviors after you come down and comparing the two. Find the links between when you are in control of yourself and when you are not and strengthen those bonds. It has helped me learn to further control the ebbs and flows.
“There are several feelings I have going on and wondered if they were familiar or do they seem familiar to you. Please, Please tell me what your symptoms are…are these familiar?”
I am a rapid cycling bipolar. I swing effortlessly between hypomania and full blown mania and come down to a baseline level that pulls in tiny doses of depression to even out the almost constant euphoria I am in. I haven’t yet swung into a major depression since being diagnosed but I am on constant alert to avoid that. I’m attempting to control myself to remain in the upper half of bipolar.
My triggers are pretty extreme. I get passionate about love, my family, injustice, money, controlling entities, hate, inequality, judgment, and hypocrisy to name the major ones. As you can see these are very broad themes and trickle down into nearly every conversation I have. Every conversation I have has the potential to set me off in a tailspin. When I realized that, I was scared to death. How would I ever learn to be around people?
But when I recognized my triggers and the full potential of their threat, I learned to notice patterns of other people’s behavior that lead to my trigger being set off. By knowing how people are going to act, I’m not offended. But rather bored because people can be so predictable. It’s hard to get upset when everyone is so unoriginal. Again, that’s just me though.
“Here is a short list of things including my moods swings that I attribute to Bipolar and wonder if anyone else has the same things:
1. I have mood swings everyday-I can swing two or three times a day.”
I differentiate between mood swings and emotional overflows. Mood swings for me are when I’m switching between depression, baseline, hypomania, and mania. These come and go frequently for me with spells lasting days to weeks. These come naturally regardless of the medicine I am taking, the situation I am in, or the time of day. I’m not in control over the ebb and flow of moods. They will come when they come.
Emotional overflows are situational. These for me are loss of composure over a present moment circumstance. Depending on the event, my emotions can go a million different directions and cause a billion different outcomes. They come on hard and strong and are often a blur of twenty different emotions warring for attention at the same time.
It can be stressful and unnerving when it seemingly comes from nowhere. When this happens I try to think of myself like a sponge. I have absorbed some outside information that is throwing me out of balance. What just happened that I took issue with? From there I delve into the problem and arrange the emotions accordingly. I’m learning to bring myself back to center very quickly.
My husband and I just had our first very real manic talk about a serious issue I have with the girlfriend of my father being involved in my children’s lives. I am passionate about that woman having nothing to do with my children.
During our conversation I started throwing off warning signals left and right but chose to keep talking because I felt it was important. The more I talked the more signals I was setting off. Because I know my signals and have battled countless wars (in my mind) with my husband we are both aware of my special needs, he acted exactly as I begged him to. In the face of me losing control, he projected utter calm for me.
In the midst of flipping an extremely volatile manic trigger, I felt his calm and the juxtaposition to my own fire and realized my emotions were all my own, made of my own choices, my own perceptions, and thus could be shut down. And with a few hugs, tender loving touches, and complete reassurance he understood my passion and wanted a solution that worked for both of us, I was back in control before I ever regretted losing it.
This is huge because similar conversations had resulted in me spiraling into full blown rages that scare him out of the house while I whip into destruction mode. Big difference in outcomes this time and it all stemmed from learning who I am and what I need. And demanding respect for those special needs.
“2. Sometimes my mood is angry and I get scared I am going to lose it and snap.”
I was there. From the day I had the breakdown in May until somewhere in the midst of my two month seclusion from humanity in November and December. My anger would whip up into a frenzy for seemingly no reason at all. And man how I would rage.
But with time I noticed a pattern to my anger and rage. It always centered around my belief that I was being disrespected or my needs were not being met. I’m kind of a needy bitch in that I require infinite amounts of love and found myself getting quite salty when I didn’t feel I was receiving it.
Sometimes I was justified in my feelings, sometimes my perception was completely off and led me to being upset over fictions problems. Either way, my anger was a problem. So I changed my perception of reality.
I cannot make people respect me. Can’t do it no matter how hard I try. The hurt I feel from that is devastating. I cannot understand nor do I wish to define if further. That pain knows no limits.
Before I recognized the pain existed I was subconsciously suppressing it. The suppression resulted in anger. Which I also sought to suppress. Which then led to rage. More suppression. Then boom I’m out of control with no idea why saying the sky is blue set me off on a rage about the injustices of the world.
I noticed my problem. Suppression. I sought to hide that which is always present. Doesn’t work like that. Never has. Never will. You can’t just make something disappear without expecting a rebounding appearance of something else. So I stopped suppressing.
I have spent close to three months siphoning off all of the pain and hurt that I have suffered over my thirty short years that feel like an eternity with each day that passes. I have pulled each ache, pain, grief, sadness, insult, hatred, and other bottled up disappointments to the front of my mind and looked at them in depth.
Looked at them, felt them, accepted the pain as real, learned the lesson, connected the pain with similar lessons, and then released the negative, never to plague my mind again.
With every negative I purged, I was filled with a lightness to life, a happiness, a sense of love for myself. With every negative I purged I felt compelled to purge more negative from my mind. It is very liberating to know that the negatives will come but they come with a positive. You just have to work to separate the two. Do the work and you’ll reap nothing but positives in your life.
“3. There are days that I am so happy it scares me. I mean over the moon happy! (I know it sounds strange)”
Try not to be scared when you find yourself in a happy moment. It is a blessing beyond belief. My personal feeling is we are tapping into what utopia feels like, what the future we are working towards feels like. It can be unnerving because NOTHING in this reality can adequately describe or replicate how incredibly amazing true euphoria feels. Sounds egotistical but it’s truth.
Be still and dig deep on what brought the intense feeling to light. Project out the warmth of the euphoria and seek to give it detail. If you can tap into why you’re feeling euphoric, you can learn to put more euphoria producing activities in your life. This leading to an almost euphoric state of existence, which I am currently experiencing.
“4. There are days my moods swing so much I get so depressed that this is the rest of my life.”
I felt this and feel this more acutely when I am baselining. It is daunting to know that your moods are going to ebb and flow like the tides. Try to find peace in that. The tides come and go based on the pull of the moon. They don’t fight it, seek to stem it, or force it – rather the tides just come in and go out based on something outside of their reach but shining light on the situation.
The swings are the same. They come and they go based on something I haven’t figured out yet. By going with the natural flow of them, the process is much gentler. Much more akin to the gentle lapping of the waves on a beach. Less exhausting. More exciting. And oh so calm.
Learn your flow and how to get along with it. You might just lull yourself into euphoria.
“5. There are days when I am unbelievably tired, a sudden feeling of fatigued.”
This is your body telling you that you have overworked yourself. Start resting you mind and body immediately. Eat as much healthy food as you can get into your belly. Veggies, milk, fruit, bread and butter, pasta. When I’m overworked these foods taste glorious in their simplicity.
If you find you can’t eat healthy, force yourself to eat something, anything. I force myself to drink pop and eat candy when I can’t stomach real food. It is essential to keep your energy stores level if you want to control your episodes.
When your body isn’t getting what it needs it will stop working to control the ebbs and flows of bipolar. Respect your body first and foremost. You should know better than anyone what you specifically need. And you more than anyone should give it to yourself and work to surround yourself with others who will nurture you when you can’t do it yourself.
“6. I have the worst time remembering things.”
I used to feel this way. Then I had an epiphany. I only struggle to remember things that are not important to living life happily. I NEVER forget something I NEED to remember. It’s a subtle difference but I have found life to be cluttered with unnecessary processes and rules that serve no other purpose than to tell people what to do. In that finding, I realized all of my “forgetfulness” was directly tied to a lifestyle I don’t understand or agree with. And so I stopped worrying about forgetting it.
If someone wants me to remember to live by their agenda, then they can remember to remind the next time they catch me breaking their rule. And I’ll remind them to mind their own business. Life is much simpler that way.
“7. I am late for EVERYTHING.”
Yeah. Me too. And I tend to make everyone around me late as well. I have no concept for time at my core I evaluate life on a moment to moment basis. There is no time when you are living in the moment.
I value and mark it’s progression by experiences. And I hate to feel rushed in any experience. Therefore my natural inability to recognize time coupled with my lack of desire to feel rushed means I never get anywhere until I was meant to be there.
I warn people I am like this. They know what to expect and still accept me when I finally manage to get there. No hurt feelings for them, no guilt on my part.
I do want to add that I am also late because I tend to get extremely frazzled as I’m getting ready to actually leave. My mind starts racing. I try to prepare for the unknown, which is crazy. I run in circles. And I always forget something.
“8. My car looks like I might have rodents living there.”
I can relate to this. Try to keep in mind that “cleanliness” is a societal standard and just another way to look down at people who fail to keep up with the unoriginal “norms”.
If having a rodent infested car works for you, who cares? At least you have a car to get you from one place to another. That is more than I can say or myself. Why do you have to waste time keeping your transportation up to other people’s ever changing and always demanding opinions?
Truth is. You don’t. You’re messy. If you like it, learn to love it. And learn to work within the mess. Make it work to your advantage.
If you don’t like the mess, find a way to make your lifestyle work so you don’t create a mess to clean up. Too many fast food wrappers? Stop eating out or stop eating in the car or stop leaving the mess once you’re done with it. Simple changes but realize you do have a choice.
“9. My house is only clean because I have people over and don’t want to be embarrassed…but, if not it would be a hot mess.”
This ties into what I said above but it goes deeper with a home. A car is temporary. You only use it for short periods and don’t need to keep anything in there but to make your life more convenient.
A home is different. People fill their homes with unending amounts of shit they never touch, move, look at, or think about YET expect it all to be kept organized, neat, and tidy for the slight offchance company might show up. It is ridiculous and a complete waste of time and energy.
My recommendation is to purge your home of anything you don’t need or love. Get rid of it all and get down to basics. I’m willing to bet you’ll find life much easier to manage AND you’ll find you are actually quite clean and organized. When you love what your living with.
“10. I will go a couple of days without a shower.”
Yep. It happens. Me too. I don’t believe in showering daily because it strips your body of natural oils and nutrients that protect your body and hair from day to day life.
I shower when I am dirty. Sometimes it is days before I’m dirty, sometimes only a day. Regardless of how long it takes to get dirty, I judge when I am dirty and I dictate when I will get clean. If society wants to look down their nose at me for that, they can come and bathe me themselves.
“11. I have NO desire to go back to work and wonder how I am going to be able”
I’m struggling with this one too. My approach is to create work that works for me. I can’t imagine going back to a nine to five job working for some nameless corporation who could care less what I’m doing and will replace me at the drop of a hat if I dare to step out of line. Big middle finger to that lifestyle. No one deserves that.
Instead I’m pushing to do things that make me happy and earn money along the way. This is the only way I know how to “work” and could sustain a living for my family. Find something that works for you.
“12. My thoughts have raced so fast that the other thoughts have caught up to each other and start to inner mingle as if I can’t separate the two.”
I’ve found when my thoughts start to do this, finding a release for the overflow is essential. I write, draw, eat, sleep, dance, sing, laugh, text, or whatever can siphon off the excess information I can’t process right now. Most times I do things simultaneously. I’ll be blogging while drawing while holding multiple conversations via text. It’s very busy but very calming to my overworked mind. It kind of channels the chaos of my mind into creative energy for my body.
“13. I have heard someone call my name but no oone is there.”
I haven’t had this happen. But perhaps it is your subconscious trying to get your attention. Try to think around when you heard your name. What was happening? How were you feeling before you heard it? How did hearing it make you feel? See what you come up with and perhaps find a subtle problem that you’ve been ignoring.
“14. I love to write/read/and talk about sex.”
Sex is a strong theme that runs through the bipolar community. It’s understandable to me considering how incredibly rewarding it is for a bipolar person to sleep with another. It is the epitome of the connection we so desperately seek naturally within ourselves.
Two bodies coming together and creating passion and excitement from the touch of bodies, similarity of thoughts, and connection of emotions. It is amazing, orgasmic, and euphoric. Sex is nature’s way for bipolar people to give the world a dose of the medicine we so desperately crave with our very existence.
I want to teach a course on how to REALLY give head, start a porn website for my husband and I, and blog about the finer details of my sex life. I love sex. So do most people. They just aren’t brave enough to REALLY love it like the bipolar community seems to.
“15. I am incredibly intrigued by the power that a woman holds because of what’s in between them”
Me too. Me too….
Being a woman is incredibly powerful. Your mere presence can illicit a physical manifestation of the connection a man feels to you. Hard ons are awesome like that. It’s like a natural pop up turkey thermometer. He pops up when he’s interested. No popup, no need to waste time or energy.
Then once you get your emotional hooks in a guy…. It really isn’t fair. I know the power I hold over my husband and it is almost disgusting how much control I could exercise should I choose to manipulate people for my own benefit. Which I personally choose not to do as I can’t handle when people manipulate me for their own personal gain and at my expense.
Recognize the power you hold as a woman. Men truly have no idea. But realize how much better we are with power. We see we have it and still we do not seek to dominate. True power does not need to boast or control or attack. True power just seeks to love. And that’s why women hold all the cards. We are the ones who know how to love.
“16. I have incredibly controlling and everyone calls me bossy”
I think controlling and bossy are common negative descriptions of attributes typical to the bipolar community in general. We are detail oriented and seek to ease situations before they become a problem. Because we are so perceptive, we are really good at making things work. People not so good at pulling strings to make the chaos of life work, don’t understand and will attack you for it.
Bossy is another way of saying you know what you want and are not afraid to vocalize those desires. Just because most people are scared to stand up for themselves does not mean there is something wrong with you.
“17. I think I am and should be treated like a princess”
You are a princess. And you deserve to be treated exactly the way you decide you need to be treated. Try to be aware of the hoops you make people jump through and always be willing to go through the same jump yourself. Nothing wrong with feeling like royalty and demanding the respect that comes with it. If there is one royal on this planet, then we are all royals.
No one deserves to feel less than or to be treated differently than any other person alive.
“18. I can’t seem to keep a man…however I usually walk away..not sure what that is about”
You haven’t found the right man for you yet. Don’t stress. Find yourself first so you know what you’re looking for when he comes along. He’s going to be your exact opposite. He will even out your imbalances and be the yin to your yang. But that only happens once you learn to love and understand your yang.
I have spent thirteen years trying to escape my soul mate because I didn’t know what I needed. Being able to keep a man has nothing to do with being happy. I will vouch for that.
Make yourself happy so you know what happiness truly means to you. Then find someone who wants the same definition of happiness.
“20. I used to be so focused and together and the bottom just fell out”
I know this feeling quite well. My life is in a state of disaster compared to where I was before my breakdown. The focus and feeling of wholeness has broken because you did not focus on yourself. Take the time to rest and recuperate.
Don’t beat yourself up because you aren’t who you used to be. Learn to love yourself for what you have to offer right now in this moment. Focus on that and you may find yourself as a better version of the person you used to be and are no longer meant to be.
“21. I love drugs and alcohol!!!!”
Another very common bipolar theme. Drugs and alcohol mimic and dull the extremes of being bipolar. They are good crutches but crippling if leaned on too heavily.
I like weed. I would smoke it all day long, every day, for the rest of time. But that’s not life. I take what I can get.
I use it to sleep when I’m restless, to eat when I can’t stomach food, to calm me when I’m anxious, and to focus me when I need to work. What a multifaceted amazing plant.
Such a shame the government would rather make me shove pills down my throat that give me suicidal thoughts rather than allow me to smoke a plant that relieves all that ails me in a moment’s puff without fear of overdosing. So kind of them.
I have enjoyed taking pain pills in the past for the euphoric numbness they give me and the excited energy they create. However I couldn’t handle the physical toll they take on my body. I was always left feeling way too tired, way too emotional, and in extra pain after I came down. Not worth doing regularly for me.
The same goes for alcohol. I enjoy the numb “dumb” feeling I get when I’m intoxicated. But no matter what my body will punish me the next morning with violent vomiting. The backlash just isn’t worth the temporary pleasure for me. Plus I really don’t enjoy feeling dumb. Dumb is easy and unoriginal. I prefer to keep myself well outside that particular box.
“22. I love to write and listen to music-its an addiction.”
Music speaks to my soul. My brand of creativity does not produce music but I love it all the same.
By all means this is a good addiction. Music nurtures the soul, can bring light to subconscious issues you aren’t aware of, and comforts the body with rhythm and melody. Write about music. Share what moves you. Share what you create. Do what you love with music.
“23. I am also addicted to Google…I google all day.”
Google is cool. But Google can be a crutch. Evaluate if you are using Google as a way to avoid living life in the moment and learning things for yourself.
Life is about living. In order to live, you have to be yourself. How will you ever feel comfortable being yourself if you constantly rely on a computer to answer everything for you? You aren’t a computer and a computer doesn’t operate like a human. The two do not go together and only seek to throw the natural out of balance.
Technology is useful but only if you know why you are using it and what you are forgetting by not doing it for yourself. Technology should never make you forget yourself or what it means to be you, nor should it define your life or what it means to be happy.
If you love Google and it feels healthy and natural, Google away. But consider the possibility you may be relying on it too much. I can’t answer that one for you though. Only you can say what is too much.
I hope I have helped with my thoughts and opinions on the bipolar life as based my experiences and self taught lessons. Disregard anything you find offensive because my words only seek to nurture and help.