January 04, 2010

Grieving the diagnosis

(I have no idea who did this art, but if anyone knows please let me know so I can give them the credit they deserve for such an awesome piece of work!)

My it has been a long time since I wrote a post. With school ending, the holidays, and a trip to Chicago I've been a little distracted as of late. However, its back to work, ultimately leading me back to blogland.

As I have somewhat discussed in previous posts, the last few months have been rather difficult for me. As my psychiatrist explained, I am a rather "hard patient" because my "life isn't all that stable" at the moment. But I wonder, now that I have what I believe to be a rather stable life, how is my life not stable? Now, I understand that I am in a strange sort of limbo being a new college grad without a job, (or at least a job that makes enough money to live an "adult life"), and I know that I do a ton of traveling doing speaking engagements, (and as many people explain, jet-lag is hard if you're bipolar), but I feel that I manage my "unstable life" rather well. Or at least most of the time. Until I hit three solid months of depression, having been completely emotionally stable prior to my normal yearly late October relapse, (this yearly relapse is due to a mix between solemn and painful mental health related anniversaries and changes in weather), but this year it just kept going due to a few major added stressors (such as impending graduation and the fear of finding health insurance).

But all of this I believe has been addressed in past postings, so what I really wanted to talk about is grief. In these past four months I have been trying my damnedest to be healthy and stay well. I made sure that I was not only continuing to take my meds, but I was also maintaining healthy habits such as exercising (yoga and running), meditating, and additional stress relieving activities like my new found hobby: knitting. I have tried to be patient and kind to myself and have worked with my psychiatrist to increase and adjust medications to help me get over this bump. But as I found myself continuing to move deeper or simply stay in the "pits of despair" I found myself moving into the same mind-frame that I experienced when I was first diagnosed with bipolar. I found myself feeling, to put it simply, angsty. I found that I was reverting to the teenage-angst felt when life just doesn't seem fair. When you realize, why me? And why now? I found myself getting angry at whoever or whatever has done this to me. And though I continually feel that my bipolar is part of me, though not all of me, and that I wouldn't want to get rid of it, I simply wanted it to go away, if not for even a little while.

So I suppose my question to the world is, and specifically to anyone suffering from a chronic condition or disease (and I don't really consider bipolar a disease), do you ever get over this grief completely? Do you ever just cope and come to terms with the fact that you may continually have dips in your health, even if they continue to become increasingly easier?

I know that for me they have become easier, this is by far better than my initial diagnosis, but it is still terribly frustrating sometimes to know that I may have this occur again and again. All I know is that I will get through this and it will continue to get better, but somedays, on my most 13-year old angst ridden days, I can only continue to say, this sucks.


pvong said...

the artwork looks a lot like Tokidoki. but it could be someone else.

Ken and Helen said...

Linea, I believe every one of us has challenges in life that we wish weren't there, many not to the depth of yours, but challenges all the same. As I age, it bothers me that I don't have the mobility that I used to, and I have aches and pains that never used to be there. I look at your grandparents and it saddens me that all of us are changing and facing health challenges. We wish they would go away, but they won't, so we have to learn to live with them. As you have done so gracefully with your bipolar. Love to you.

Le_Petit_Oiseau said...

I'm in this very situation. There is no way for me to escape my diagnosis and just yesterday a CT scan revealed yet another set back in "stability".

There are ups and there are downs so far, as my diagnosis is new to me as of April. During the downs, I'm not exactly social: as long as it isn't against medical advice, I take long walks whether it's raining or not and challenge myself to find a beautiful tangent in everything I see.

It took practice, because when I'm down, I'm really down, but it's helped be learn to cope in healthier ways.

Vampi said...

I don't know that we ever stop grieving... it's been 10 years since I was diagnosed and I still have times where I cry because I can't cope with the every day stressors that most people deal with.

That being said, it does get easier to deal with. Over time, you become more aware of triggers and stressors and you learn to come up with ways of working around them. The stratagies may not always work, but at least you have them.

I've found that just taking it day by day instead of looking at 'the big picture', helps control that angst... sometimes even hour by hour :)

linea said...

Le Petit Oiseau and Vampi,

I think you both have it right. Living in the moment, enjoying the small things, the tangents, the beautiful seconds, or raindrops that fall, that is the way to get by the hard stuff. I know that that is one of my biggest challenges, especially as of late. I need to simply forget about the big scary future picture, the picture that we can never fully fulfill, and focus on my life right now. I was actually told by a very intelligent boyfriend today, "what's the point of torturing yourself for the future when you can't enjoy the present?"

Cinda said...

"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans" (Lennon,Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy), Double Fantasy, 1980), Beautiful girl (darling girl).

Megan said...

I am glad you are back. I have seen my own daughter go through a PTSD response in the fall, as well as depression from the fading light. She too gets angry at times and peevish about being bipolar, especially when bad things happen that wouldn't of if she wasn't bipolar (several very traumatic things.) Hang in there. You have a real purpose in this life.

Meg said...

Life isn't fair. As you get older and go through more you will see this and accept it and this will make things easier. You won't expect things to be what they aren't. It's important to remember that there are always people that are worse off than you. Much worse. Keep perspective on your situation and always remind yourself that gratitude is the key to happiness. You're doing a great job!