My July 2010
Living with bipolar disorder is always a challenge, especially when - as is often the case - you have other conditions that affect it. Some of you reading this also have other "mental" illnesses like an anxiety disorder, PTSD, borderline. Others of you have fibromyalgia and/or diabetes - both fairly common. You may be heavy smokers - a very large percentage of people with bipolar smoke. And of course, you may have other unrelated conditions.
I have fibromyalgia and diabetes - the latter is in my family history but I have no doubt that I developed it directly because of the weight I gained from psych meds. I'm a heavy smoker, trying to cut down but with no intention of quitting. I have back problems that often cause me a lot of pain.
And as the month of July 2010 ends, I'm thinking about what a physical and mental rollercoaster ride it has been. A basal cell carcinoma was discovered on the back of my left ear, requiring simple but painful surgery to remove it. The next day the "children of my heart" - two young people I unofficially adopted 14 years ago when they were teens - came to stay with me for a week. This was a joy no pain could lessen. While they were here I had a colonoscopy, and their presence helped me through that.
In addition, the first ten days of the month were a pressured whirlwind of getting ready to give a party at my home. This was an enormous stress that I handled so-so, and I was blessed to have good friends who helped and my visiting kids to boost me as well as assist.
After the kids left at mid-month - letdown. It's not quite depression, but there are a lot of depressive symptoms in it. I skip meals and when I do eat, it's not nutritious, way too much carbs and sugar for a diabetic. My back let me know I'd been doing too much and had been too stressed. Although with no change in meds, I've had trouble getting enough sleep. Being tired, in pain, and suffering the natural slump after a big event is over, my second half of July has been mostly unproductive.
Yet there have been some very good days in there. For me, good days are the days I get a lot of things done. It's making me wonder about my mood cycles - are they faster than they used to be, or is this just a normal thing?
I've learned to identify depressive episodes, though it takes me awhile, and hypomanic episodes. I know less about feeling good one day, bad the next two. When you have bipolar disorder, do you always wonder whether smaller shifts in mood are part of your illness or are just "normal"?