Monday, September 29, 2008

A little more about being Bipolar...

I was asked a question today by a friend and I thought I might answer it here as well. The question concerned my being Bipolar and the mood swings that come with it. She was concerned with how to deal with them. Though she was not bipolar herself, she is married to a man that is. She wanted so badly to help him, be there for him, even understand him a little more, but found it difficult. The biggest issue it seemed for her was the mood swings and how to deal with them. They come and go with such speeds at times that she isn't sure where it is she is supposed to be. Happy or sad.
This is I think a common issue not just with the person that is bipolar but with those that are around them. The mood swings that occur with someone with this disorder are very alike and at the same time very different for anyone with bipolar disorder. Very often it is as confusing for the patient as it is the loved one watching and trying to keep up with the mood swings. Although there are many people that suffer the same as I, I can only speak freely of my own self. I think that you may find though that what I say is similar or exactly what you as the loved one may be dealing with. I go from the very highest of highs, that feeling that the world can not hold me back, that I can do anything and that I WILL be huge and famous, to as low as wondering why I am even here and why I should stay. The highs are so exhilarating and fill me with so much energy that I will move my entire house furniture around and may do this 5 times in a week. I will exhaust every ounce of energy I have, make love over and over and spend as much energy as I can before collapsing. I have the feeling that nothing can make me sad and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with me. It has all just been in my head. (This is often the times that people that are on meds for their disorder will abandon the pills, thinking surely they do Not need them. A dangerous time for many.} This mood can last from 1 minute to a week or more. Starting projects, one right after another, because i feel I can get them done BUT... the disorder still present and not allowing me to quite finish one before starting another.
In a moment, the time it takes for me to go into the bathroom, pee and come out, I find a LOW! The higher the high was of course the lower the LOW is going to be. Suddenly I am crying without reason. I find myself looking at the projects I started and realizing there is NO WAY I can finish them. Hell, I don't even have the desire to finish them. I want to be alone, go away from people and am irritated easily. Especially if a loved one is trying to help and wants to stay with me to watch over me. The lows often take me to wishing i were dead or feeling i can do nothing in this world but hurt the ones that love me the most. Thinking that the world would for sure be better off without me. Sadness the envelops every inch of my being and causes me to close up and become alienated from the very ones wanting to help.
Stomping away or barely walking, I go to the kitchen for a drink of water or the outdoors wanting to smoke a cigarette. I come out and I am smiling and wanting to joke around. Those around me are just settling in to the sad I have left them with and I am ready to have fun. But because those around me are not even settled on the one mood, I become upset because I can not figure out why they are so sad or confused. For me, it was just a blink of an eye and yet it was really an hour or two or three. Now comes the difficult times for the loved one looking in.
She asked what her reaction should have been and i had only one answer. An answer that is so hard on a loved one. "Go with the flow," I told her. Try and find that happiness that the patient was overwhelmed by again. Try, and I Do know how hard it is, to smile again and go on about the day as if nothing were different. To bring it to the bipolar side of the world. Love them and let them KNOW they are loved. Reach inside of your heart and remember that this is the person you love so deeply. Walk with them through their moments and always let them feel "safe" with you. NOT the safe as if you will beat someone up if they mess with your bipolar love or friend. That "safe" place is the place they feel that no matter how strange their actions are, no matter how badly they may act, alright and nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed by. That will go sooooooo far inside of that bipolar brain. Just don't let them feel as if they are a freak of some sort. They already think that without you telling them.
I know it is hard and in a sense, we only have the disorder to deal with. YOU have the task of trying to ride the roller coater with us. A ride that can leave you feeling so lost and so confused. A place that leaves us, the patient feeling as if we have caused you or another of the people that we hold dear in out hearts pain or sorrow and that is Unforgivable in our eyes and heart. I know it isn't much of an answer, I told her so too. She seemed to think it was the perfect answer. Who knows?
I only know this. That bipolar moment might have been a second long or forever long to you. They come and go so fast at times, I am dizzy from the ups and downs. This is the world of a bipolar. A world that you are in deeper than you may know. But a world that you are our safest place and the the only place we ever feel content, even if just for a moment in time. Hugssss to each and every one of you that deal with a bipolar loved one. God Bless you and "welcome to my world." Always I am, Darrel XXX

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