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.