12th February, 2017


Today I thought a lot about the few paragraphs that I wrote yesterday.  Mainly about the comment I made how there is no real information about how life is for people who have bipolar after they get a handle on some stability.  It is something that I think about often.

I know that I have spoken about my own depression and bipolar a lot in my previous blog but I now feel the need to deconstruct everything to help me reconcile myself to the person that I feel I am these days.

Although I was diagnosed with bipolar around 13 years ago, it was only at the end of 2013 I was forced to acknowledge the truth of it and take responsibility for it.  Had I not done that there is no doubt that I would have found myself in a mental health unit.  The past three and a half years have actually been extremely challenging and so now that I find myself stable, that in itself is a new challenge.

When I look up the meaning of bipolar, there is a lot of information out there.  Mania and depression and the vast space in between those two moods.  A space that is filled with a great deal of chaos.  There is really very little reprieve for a person who does not take medication.  But it’s hard for a person who has never experienced such a thing to really appreciate how debilitating it is and I am certain that is why those with bipolar seek others to feel part of a ‘tribe’ and try to normalise the condition a bit.

The only way I can describe bipolar is that it is like having a two year old running around in my head.  An extreme level of excitement with no logical concept of the outcome.  Just a wild surge of energy racing through my entire self and taking away my ability to see the consequences of my activities.  Then the two year old crashes and burns into a very long and crippling depression.

The past three plus years have been a very rocky journey.  I have finally made it to the other side and this is allowing me to have an interesting view of the whole ‘before and after’ feeling that I have.  I can almost look back objectively on what impact bipolar had on my life.  It is an interesting process.

Unlike a person who does not have bipolar, I have no point of reference as to who I am or what is my true ‘self’ as for years it was impacted by bipolar.  I am not exaggerating that truth.  When I finally arrived a place of solid stability I would walk around my house and too many things reminded me of what I had bought when hypomanic.  Places I go to remind me of how I felt when I was depressed or hypomanic and I can now no longer go to those places as it only serves to make me extremely anxious.

I have been told that I am a bit boring or not so much fun these days.  This only serves to remind me of what a disruptive person I was at work and that being funny and entertaining was actually part of an extremely chaotic state of mind. Now that I am stable I realise how truly inefficient I was at work and how that truth meant I had to work twice as hard to get things done.  These days I could pretty much do my work in four days as I am so organised and relaxed.  This is a direct result of my medication and therapy.  Without those two things I would never have come to this place.

Last year when I had to transition from one drug to another, the process was so slow that I was basically unmedicated for three months.  That experience struck fear into my heart and these days I am actually  paranoid about going back to that place.  Even if being stable means a life of relative flatness there is not a chance I would go off my medication just to have a taste of the person I used to be.

In my mind I am not in possession of a completely authentic self.  I think that is part of the reality of having to take medication for my brain to make me okay with myself and the world that I live in.  It also makes me a better person to others. The way I think of myself is that I am a medicated ‘self’.  My personality is a mix of my core self and my medicated self.  It is hard for me to accept that the medication simple takes away the crazy toddler and allows me to be a  person closer to ‘normal’.

It must seem as though I am some sort of navel gazing middle aged woman.  I don’t think I am. I think I was one person for fifty years,  I am now another and trying to reconcile myself to this experience.   That is how different the other Linda was before this Linda was brought to the fore.

At times I wish I had a friend who was in the same place as me.  It would be a good thing to talk about it to someone who knows exactly where I am coming from as there I times when I feel very alone with it all.

I am always grateful for each and every day and that is something that has always been with the before and after Linda.

lc x

5 thoughts on “12th February, 2017

  1. My memoir “Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder” (Post Hill Press, October 2017) is about my life before and after my diagnosis at age 37. I write about what is has been like to be relatively stable, and about what helped me get to this point. Hopefully it’s not too navel gazy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing this post. I used to work with an engineer who was bipolar. I didn’t know this about him until several years after he transferred far away and I no longer had dealings with him. I dreaded meetings with him because I never knew what his mood would be – I thought of him as Jekyll and Hyde, or somebody with multiple personality disorder. He missed work often. If I had known he was bipolar, perhaps I would have had more patience with him.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It does help that work knows I have bipolar. When I first started treatment they were (and continue to be) really supportive. Also, it helped that they would alert me to any noticeable changes in mood as they usually saw it before me. eg. I would bound up the stairs and say something like “don’t you think that Astro Boy would be a great name for a vacuum cleaner?” which was a sure sign my mood was on the way up.

      Liked by 1 person

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