Day 195, Reflections on Having Bipolar
Tonight, I have been exploring bipolar support groups and videos on Facebook. It is a whole world I was unaware of. People with bipolar are speaking out about what it is like and encouraging others to be more vocal about it, to overcome the stigma.
I have been writing since Day One about a journey of my own. During this time, I have had no manic episodes and only a minimum of depression. However, I deal with bipolar every day. Bipolar has affected who I am. I want to come to terms with who I am and see bipolar as a blessing rather than a curse.
I have been in so much pain in the past I have been on the verge of suicide. I have been so high, I have totally abandoned everything in my life and gone here and there, after every little passing passion of my heart, singing and dancing. My emotions have been so extreme, that only the labels of ‘bipolar’ or ‘manic-depression’ can describe them.
However, with treatment I can harness those emotions into creative expression. Could it be that the prolific outpouring of my words is from the fount of bipolar itself? If that is so, I can be grateful. I can dig deeper and organize the meaning into something that may touch anyone, whether they suffer from mental health issues or not. That is my hope.
Writing About Nutrition
I discovered I could write. In writing, I discovered I had even more to write. I write about nutrition because it is one of my passions. However, nutrition is not the answer for everything.
I like nutrition because there is no universally accepted “right” way of eating. Sometimes two diametrically opposed ways of eating will both work. There is always at least more idea that can be tried. What works yesterday may not work today. It sounds like confusion, does it not? And yet nutrition is always a world to be explored, a world of surprises.
Writing About Spirituality
I sometimes write about my beliefs, not to stir up controversy, but to inspire others to seek their Higher Power. I have a lot of answers, but I have even more questions. Sometimes, I change my point of view.
So, what am I doing up so early in the morning? I am starting to feel sleepy now. However, I may have trouble falling asleep. I feel a bit hungry, so I may get a bite of food, even though I make a big point of fasting from supper to breakfast. Maybe I can just call it an early breakfast.
There. I ate some whole-milk yogurt from grass-fed cows with a little stevia and bottled lemon juice. It tasted pretty good.
At the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, we learned that primary food was all-important. The institute defined primary food as career, relationships, spirituality, and physical activity. This blog explores these areas along with secondary food–the food we eat. I also explore issues related to mental health because this journey is all about improving our mood and energy.
Bipolar can be seen as a mood disorder. However, it goes far beyond extremes of mood. You can actually lose contact with reality. Mania is like having every concept in your head take on a different meaning. That is probably why your speech gets to the point that it does not make sense to others. The actual experience of mania can be quite thrilling, but when you bump into others who do not like it, it can be a hard bump.
A hospitalization can stabilize bipolar, but it sends aftershocks into your psyche that can require years to recover from, if you do at all. The most debilitating part of it is that you lose confidence afterwards.
I have often wondered, “How do I get the right amount of self-confidence?” Mania tends to inflate self-confidence, which is dangerous, and depression lowers my self-confidence to zero, which frankly is also dangerous. There appears to be no happy medium. I do have periods between mania and depression, but it seems that my confidence does not rebound that quickly, if at all. Even during periods of normalcy, if I express myself openly, I am paranoid that people are going to think I am at one of my extremes and possibly cart me off to the hospital. With bipolar, I cannot take my freedom for granted. How do I get over a fear like that?
I wrote a poem called “Express Yourself” on February 10th to explore this fear and encourage myself to express myself anyway while building my self-confidence.
Express Yourself by KaeLyn Morrill
Express yourself, express yourself!
Now find inside yourself your voice.
Make way for other struggling souls
To become released from their cage.
Criticism from those you know
Can damage your raw self-image
And stymie your progress in life.
Let no worries ever stop you.
There’s too much currently at stake.
The world now awaits your message!
So get your next work on to bake!
Sergei Rachmaninoff, a brilliant composer, suffered depression most of his adult life. His treatment was effective, but he still struggled. If I can apply my own treatment effectively, making me more consistently productive, that would be wonderful. That may even build my self-confidence in a realistic way. It is time to see if I can get some sleep.
I slept until almost 6:00 AM, which is good. Since my night was short, I may need a nap by noon.
Even though I do not want to go back to bed right now, I am a bit drowsy. I want to pick up the thread of my discussion last night. As I mentioned yesterday, I battled some depression this past week. Depression is losing interest in everything. It is not wanting to do anything. It is wanting to die.
I took a gram of l-tryptophan in addition to what I take at night for a couple of afternoons last week. That brought me around, at least temporarily. Piping Rock has a two-for-one sale right now on l-tryptophan that may or may not be available by the time you read this.
Regaining the Ability to Act
There is more to depression than correcting a serotonin imbalance however. You must also regain your ability to act. My JV Life Tracker app helps me with that. For a more lengthy description of how it works, consult my free but valuable ebook, Joyful Vibrance: Transform Your Body Image, Energy, and Mood!
Lately, I have been scoring JV Life Tracker, but my scores have been only 12 points. They were quite a bit higher. However, the fact that I kept on scoring right through depression is significant. I had not completely lost the desire to do things, even though the paralysis of depression was creeping over me. Now is the challenge of regaining full capability and perhaps even going beyond where I was when the depression set in. I always try to be a little bit better when I recover. Then I figure I have not lost anything. I have fought the fight with bipolar and won.
Writing Authentically About My Experience
In 2016, when I was recovering from a serious manic episode, my mentor said to me, “Write authentically about your experience. That’s what people want to hear.” I was too embarrassed at the time to publish what I had been through on paper (or electronic canvas). However, over time, I may recount details as I still remember them.
What is today going to look like? It looks like I will be ordering groceries. My husband wants a new fry pan if I can find one. There. Now the shopping is done. I scheduled groceries to arrive from three stores within two hours. I love Instacart!
Now that I have everything coming this morning, that frees up the afternoon. I could get a haircut, take out the trash, get the mail.
I took some more l-tryptophan this afternoon. My mood was beginning to sink again. I am glad I have some of that on hand. I have prepared two meals but have not yet finished cleaning the kitchen, taking out the trash, or getting the mail. I did make a doctor appointment for my husband. I also read some more of The Dental Diet. He also has a recipe for cultured vegetables.
Today I told my husband that he is a Viking. His ancestors could have been Vikings. He has a Viking last name. However, his temperament is pretty much the opposite of Vikings. My husband is kind of a pacifist, and Vikings were warlike and fierce. I told him I was going to call him “Viking,” but instead I will probably just keep calling him “Baby.”
Fortunately, my husband and I are getting along very well right now. We have peace at home, and that is a very desirable thing. His son came over again on Saturday with his four-year-old daughter, and we had one of our best visits ever. We have harmony with my step-son as well.
For lunch for the two of us this afternoon, I made a salad of organic lettuce, tomato, hass avocado, ham, cucumber, and ranch dip and spread.
More Faith, Less Fear
I was just reviewing my blog entries during the time my husband fell and went to the emergency room, hospital, and rehab in early October last year. There were so many decisions to make at that time. I read the prayers I made about them, along with muscle testing. I feel happy that the decisions we made and their outcome turned out favorably, just as I prayed they would. Over and over again, I see how God’s hand has helped us out. There is no reason to worry about anything, not even my bipolar. From now on, I need more faith and less fear.
If you would like to join me in this journey from the beginning, please start with Day One.