Having bipolar disorder, and constant mood swings, the only consistent thing seems to be the inconsistency (of how I feel).
This has been something I have struggled with (and struggled to treat) for about fifteen years. My own bipolar disorder manifests itself in moods that last from weeks to months – in mania, depression and mixed episodes. I have been in in-patient & out-patient programs, group & private therapy, and I consistently take my prescribed medication.
Regardless of all my efforts, I still have to live with the mood swings – they aren’t nearly as extreme (when I’m taking the right medications, at the time), but, they are there. I will always struggle with feeling too much emotion and empathy. Then, there can be the helpful contribution of the wrong medication, and those complicated side effects (sarcasm).
Just two weeks ago I was knee deep in crying fits. At good things, at bad things, whatever, I would cry at the drop of a hat.
During this, maybe, two month long period, I felt so depressed. It was a distracting and overwhelming sadness, and it was so consuming that there were numerous moments I found myself lost in it, not able to remember how it felt before this sadness.
I could have given up. I could have returned to a path of self-destruction (something I struggled with in my youth), but I didn’t. Why? Because I knew the permanence of this sadness was a figment of my imagination. I knew, from (so much) personal experience that my depression would pass, and I would find myself knee deep in anxiety, euphoria, the peace of good medication and therapy, or something new and I would literally forget how this sadness even felt.
Knowing this – not trying to convince myself of it, but knowing it, knowing, for sure that this extreme, very human feeling was passing…it almost made me value it.
I am an artist, a writer, a creative person. Constant mood swings have driven me into the arms of some of my favorite creative platforms and techniques. Using this emotion, as it passes through, trying not just to channel the energy of the emotion into my art, but trying to document the emotion in my art.
Before I know it, each mood swing has passed, and the grass does always seem greener, so…
It doesn’t bother me that I cried every day, for two months. Like waiting for a cold to pass, or waiting for snow to melt, or broken hearts to heal– it was just a matter of waiting it out. And, for me, on a deeper level, it was about documenting this time in my mind, and in my art.
In my mind, I became a new person with every mood swing. With that came an excitement, and a sadness, that I could be someone knew, but also that I wouldn’t be that person, again. The only way to ease myself through the transitions created by constant mood swings was to utilize and document my moods, as they passed through.
Fortunately for me, using this tactic allowed me to accept the depression, the mania, who I was when each mood passed through, because I knew it would pass, I would change, but if I didn’t document it, if I didn’t learn from it [each mood], I might not change (in my core).
So, I allowed myself to feel sad, weak and overwhelmed, for two months. I knew it wasn’t who I am, I didn’t have to take that sadness with me, when my mood changed. Not if I examined and accepted it.
It turned out a large part of my overwhelming sadness was a side effect of a prescription for my bipolar disorder. I noticed a deep depression would follow me taking one particular prescription. My doctor eased me off of it and now, voilla, those bouts of crying are not even a clear memory.
Who called that?!
Keep in touch and stay strong, guys,