February 03, 2010

My story continued...

To follow up from the last post I want to once again say that we are making February our "share your story month". Because of this it is probably appropriate that I continue to share my story in February not late January. After sharing my story last week I know many people are wondering where I am now, maybe not necessarily occupationally because you can follow that on our website, but emotionally.

So out of my commitment to be completely honest to my readers here is my story now, today, in all its emotionally exposed glory:

Yesterday I went to see my psychiatrist. I told him that I am feeling slightly moody and find myself creeping into these unintended, uncontrollable moments of frustration, hyperactivity, or utter exhaustion. We talked about the need to "tweak" my meds, and we talked about the likelihood of changing one out completely sometime in the near future.

Now, I have been stable for a long time, aside from a small yearly depression that comes around the anniversary of an overdose, a depression that lasted slightly longer this year, but was still completely manageable. I still consider myself stable. But I continue to have these little hiccups of symptoms. Moments where I would feel much better jumping on the bed for hours than I would trying to attempt even a partial night's sleep. Moments where I feel so exhausted after having lunch with someone that I come home and pass out in seconds. And worst of all, moments where I find myself furious over the thought of doing dishes (and I am not an angry person by any means).

I tend to freak out about such hiccups. I think, is it coming back?! Oh my god, what if I have mixed episodes again! I'll have to be locked up! All the work I'm doing will be ruined! And then I spin off into these worry tangents until I either hit a wall, cry hysterically, or slap some sense into myself and tell myself to knock it off! These are hiccups, nothing terrible is going to happen. I am not going to suddenly loose it with all the safety nets in place, and all the lessons I have learned.

And so I go through this, I have this constant conversation with myself every time a little bump comes about. But then my common sense kicks in and reminds me that:
1) every time I felt an episode coming in the past I told my doctors immediately
2) I have learned healthy, safe coping techniques if things do go wrong
3) I am aware of the most minute movements towards any episode
4) I have an amazing support network

When I go through these hiccups, these "tweaks" in my meds I am always scared to tell people. I travel the country telling people my story, telling them horrifying things but making them feel better by saying "but I'm stable now" at the end. And I am. Just maybe not perfect. And I fear telling people, "I'm great but I have been having issues with my meds", or "I'm wonderful, but have been having small worrisome mood swings lately", because I'm afraid they won't get it. I'm afraid they will still be afraid for me. So I often tell them I'm fine no matter what.

But that's not truly telling my story. That's not being authentically honest. So I have made a promise to myself, I will always tell people exactly how I really feel. And if they worry I will remind them of all the things I remind myself. I will tell them how I feel in order to show them that when you are bipolar you have small bumps sometimes, but they don't paralyze you. You have to keep going on with your life. And you can with all the safety nets in place.

So, here it is, here is me right now, at this moment:
I am Linea. I am bipolar and have been having small mood swings lately that are causing me to have to make small adjustments to my medications and it makes me anxious. However, I am completely fine. I am capable and happy doing all the work that I do because I know how to take care of myself. Things will not happen as they did in the past because I know how to handle my stress levels, how to keep myself from coping in unhealthy ways, and how to ask for help when I need it. I am stable. I have bumps. And it's okay.


Marc said...

Wonderful post Linea, and one that I relate to completely.

After my 20 years of 'falling down the rabbit hole', climbing out each time worse off than before, it's sometimes still impossible to believe that I've found my path to wellness.

I made A Winter's Day to try help people, just like you are tying to help people, and sometimes I'm still terrified that I'm not 'well enough' yet, or that my next 'down day' might see me crashing further into the black hole than ever before.

You've reminded me that we've learnt, and we keep learning, how to live with what we've been given. That we can have a down day, that we will never forget our pasts and sometimes, just sometimes we'll relive some of that terror, and fear its return.

But it's ok, because we're doing ok. And we know now how to keep being ok.

We're ok. Your post is an affirmation, and an inspiration.

Be safe.

pixiemama said...

Cinda sent me.

I know exactly how you feel; I just had a med change and am feeling a little crushed by sadness and am in some physical pain. I'm doing what I can to move forward, rather than allow myself to be paralyzed by the fear that I won't snap out of this. I will, or I won't, and we'll make adjustments.

Be OK.

Nancy C said...

This is beautiful, and I love the picture at the end.

Truth looks beautiful on people.

E squared said...

Your honesty is so comforting and expressed so beautifully.

KSorl said...

I've been following your blog for about a month or maybe longer, and I just want to comment on how you've helped me. You mention hiccups in this blog, you've mentioned self-checks to see if things are approaching an episode or just normal ups and downs, and I've needed these reminders.

I think sometimes we are hyper-aware of our moods and a gentle reminder that everyone has hiccups now and then is important. Nobody is completely neutral throughout life, unless there's something else going on.

While I'm not exactly stable and need to keep track of things a bit, it helps me to not obsess over everyday things. Thank you.

Hartley said...


I just stumbled onto your blog today and wanted to say thank you.

I apprecaite you honesty and as the mother of a Bipolar child I feel like I am alway trying to find a way into his mind to understand him.

I too am in the Seattle area. Would love to chat with you about support groups and other information.


Gregory Montgomery, Jr. said...

Lin - I dig your honesty. In the beginning, we feel the urge to purge...Get on top of the building and screeeeeeeeeeam!!! ;-) I'd like your opinion on my blog at bpwellness.blogspot.com . Digest a few of my posts and tell me if you can see/feel a distinct pattern in the rhetoric. Then go back to TBY and do them same. This isn't a contest, it's a test. The answers lie within. They're in your reach, you've had them all along..... just look into the mirror.......finally with No Fear. Big ups - G