Is it Harder to Recover from Travels When We’re Bipolar?

Lynne Taetzsch Health Guide
  • We flew from New York to California for ten days to visit family, and while it was a good trip (every day sunny and warm), I seem to be having a lot of trouble getting my life back on track after returning.  Maybe it didn’t help that we got home at 2:30 a.m., or that traveling by plane these days is a grueling ordeal.  We started off on the wrong foot by missing our plane because Adrian left his wallet home and had no picture I.D.  We had to fly later from an airport further away, and fly home to the same airport since our car was parked there.  Then we were chosen for the complete search, changed planes at a busy airport, and had the usual delays.  
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    But is it harder, I wonder, to recover from trips because I’m bipolar?  There’s the physical side where you need to catch up on sleep, re-regulate your pattern to the new time zone, and get back to normal eating habits.  That always takes me several days to a week.  I’m still not caught up because I overslept Friday and then last night woke up at 3 a.m. unable to get back to sleep until 6.  

    The mental and emotional sides seem to be harder this time.  I feel overwhelmed by unanswered email, unfinished work, and pending social obligations.  I find myself just doing the emergency stuff each day and promising to get organized “tomorrow.”  There have been a lot of tomorrows already and I don’t seem anywhere near getting my head above water.  I’m treading as fast as I can.

    The other problem for me, about traveling, is that coming home is somewhat of a letdown.  I get my energy up for the trip, planning and getting everything done in order to leave.  That frenzy stimulates my hypomania.  But coming home exhausted to face piles of catch-up has no such allure.  

    The only advice I have for myself is, “Give it time.”  That means as much time as it takes.  I always forget that the first person to be kinder and gentler to is myself.  

Published On: April 23, 2007