Yesterday my brain was hacked by the wiring and chemistry that is imbedded in my brain, and I could pay no ransom to a hacker or call any help line to straighten out the problem. I was completely disabled. I tried to turn to writing as a therapy but was frozen and could not function enough to turn on my computer. I am leveling out now, but want to talk about what led up to the crash and share some in-cite on this experience, and to give a birdseye view to my history and experiences for two reasons. One, to let fellow suffers know that they are not alone. And two, to share information for those who have no clue what the disorder feels like, and to allow them into the mind and thought process of an episode.
Yesterday started out like always, then all of a sudden I felt I was in an elevator in a one hundred floor building rapidly going down with no panel of buttons to push to stop the out of control spiraling. I immediately knew what was happening. Depression had invaded my brain.
The scariest thing to me about being Bipolar is that moods can change on a dime without warning. When a manic episode is in play sleep is impossible, and my mind goes in a thousand directions. When depression hits even sleep doesn’t take away fatigue. All manic moments are not the same nor are all depression experiences cookie cutter downs. One fear that always pops in my mind is “Will I be stuck in this position forever?” That is a ridiculous thought, because I am never stuck in any position forever. All episodes seem like I am on a mini roller coaster. Sometimes the ups and downs are more extreme. Depression tends to mask reality so these thought pop up.
Over the years when I have had a manic high it has been followed with a low equal to my high. So if I had been on top of the rainbow my low that followed was a doozy. In the past when I felt I was going too far up or down I would say to myself “Let’ take a nap and reset the clock”, and sometimes that worked depending on how quickly I figured out I was on my way up or down, but this one yesterday gave no warning.
I am a problem solver at heart. So yesterday I tried to figure out why I was down and how to rebound. I recently began blogging after a break of two years. In 2014 I began blogging about mental issues after being encouraged by a friend who though sharing my story would be useful. He even helped me set up my blog. After 15 or so blogs I stopped, because focusing on my experiences was starting to be detrimental to me. I also was brought down by stories my followers shared about their pain, which I related to. I never expected to write about my journey again. Then I had an extreme reaction to Rogaine a couple of years ago, that caused me to feel suicidal, after using it on my scalp for four months. I wrote about that in a blog that can be found in my history of blogs.
The past few weeks have been very happy for me to the point they could have been mild manic episodes. I was encouraged by my friend and mentor to start blogging again, not on mental issues, but from a Journalistic point of view, on other subjects that caught my attention. I took the bait and published again on April 15 of this year. It was exhilarating. I have written several since with warm and encouraging comments from my teacher and cheerleader. I felt purposeful in my writings. I am thinking my down was directly in proportion to my past weeks highs. That is a high price to pay for happiness, but I am willing to pay that price. I remember thinking while I was down that I wanted to write to see if it would bring me up. I wasn’t able to yesterday, but just thinking about writing may have helped me wake up in a better place this morning. I think writing can be my salvation. I am willing to use it as a tool and see if I have success in turning moods around more quickly when I am down.
For those who wonder what being Bipolar is like, for me at least, the easiest way to describe it, in a nut shell, is that ups and downs are exaggerated by a hundred percent. There is no on or off buttons available that work, and it can be scary as hell. A manic episode can make me feel like superwoman and a downer can make me feel worthless and lost. Drugs are not my choice for managing this disorder. Each Bipolar person is so unique that, in my opinion, there is no medication that fits all. I have not been medicated for over 20 years by choice and with my doctors blessings. Many drugs aren’t able to address the cause, but just address the symptoms, with side effects I am not willing to accept. I know myself pretty well. I know not to get too tired, or eat crap that is full of sugar and preservatives. I avoid GMO foods and eat organic. I think thoughts are powerful, so I work on having a positive attitude. I try to practice relaxation and EFT, (Emotional Freedom Technique). I try not to worry about things I have no control over, which is a tough one, because I am politically conservative and follow the chaos going on in D. C. My tool box is full of other things that I try when I hit the wall. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, but I think writing will be my champion. I was feeling better when I started this post and now that I am finished I am feeling even better. That is a good sign. The next time I get down I am going to spend that time with pen and pad and outline my next blog.
Many years ago I got a call from a friend with troubling news. When I hung up I said to myself, “This is going to put me in bed for weeks”. I sat down at my computer and wrote a letter to God for help, then went to bed. The next morning I read what I had written. My words were powerful. I thought, “Where did these words come from?” I copied the letter and gave it to the person who was struggling. It impacted the recipient so deeply that the letter is still carried by that friend to this day. A few years ago I got to see the letter, and it was worn and tattered. I went to my jewelry box, retrieved a copy I had made of it, and made a fresh copy to replace the original, and we hugged and laughed. I should have gotten the message when I originally wrote those words, that writing was my gift and my salvation. I am happy I am back on track, and writing again.