Being bipolar is hard work. Seriously. It’s work. I have to work at keeping my strong emotions in check. I have to work at recognizing my symptoms of mania and depression and figure out how to stop them in their tracks. I have to work at being a good wife and daughter and friend to the people who are there for me during every episode and breakdown. I have to work at holding a job because sometimes you just can’t go into the office that day. Being bipolar is work.
I don’t have “regular” feelings. When I feel something: happy, sad, anxious, love,empty, restless, nervous, grateful; i feel it HARD. My emotions are magnified and heightened when I’m manic, hypo-manic and even euthymic (normal). Contrast this to when I am depressed when my emotions are severely dampened. I feel numb to life, just going through the motions.
No I don’t have a “medium place” where I just feel like a regular, non-bipolar person. My feelings are heightened or dampened, and I am working everyday to understand what this means and how to function with it. Imagine having an interview for a new job and then finding out they chose someone else; for you this might make you sad, angry or disappointed. For me, this triggers an all out meltdown. I feel sad, for the missed opportunity and DEVASTATED that I lost another chance at contributing to my family’s income and taking the major financial stress we have off my husband. I will cry, and cry hard for a good thirty minutes until I tire myself out. I cry till it physically hurts and usually someone or something has to pull me out of it.
I also love hard. I love my family, friends and sometimes people I have just met, HARD. I get easily caught up in other people’s lives. I will be your biggest cheerleader, protector and shoulder to ball on. As an empath, I feel other people’s feelings very deeply. Sometimes I think of others feelings far above my own. I’ll go out of way to make someone’s life easier; even if it makes mine ten times harder.
Being bipolar is exhausting. Sometimes my brain will race, thinking of the million things I need to do and how to do them all at once. Seriously, I want to do all the things and all at the same time. Other times my head feels like its in a fog. I have trouble remembering things or events and I struggle to find the right words. Even writing this blog can be difficult sometimes. One day words will flow out of my fingers like water; other days its like clogged faucet, with just bits and pieces of a clear thought.
So yes, being a bipolar person is difficult, but it has also made me an exponentially stronger person. The person I was four years ago wouldn’t even recognize the woman I am today. I have learned to listen to myself, listen to my thoughts, and listen to what my body actually needs versus what I want. I can’t workout every morning at 6 am and sleep 3 hours and be a functioning human being anymore. And that is OK! Now I workout at 10 am 3-4 days a week and sleep for 7 glorious hours! I’ve learned that life doesn’t need to be rushed or uber scheduled, going with the flow is my favorite way for my day to unfold.
I’m going to keep working at being Bipolar…every day of my life. I hope everyone else keeps working too.