During a “valley” in your mood are you aware that the shift in mood is a result of bipolar disorder? If so, does that help you work through it?
Peaks and Valleys are fun aren’t they! Wait, no, not really. I mean , I don’t mind a little bump in the road from time to to time, and I’m kinda a fan of the peaks, but valley’s. Oh sweet evil valleys. We are so not friends.
About 75% of the time I can tell if the culprit of these valleys is bipolar, or if it’s real life. But the other 25% can be VERY frustrating. For instance, last month my grandmother died. Who wouldn’t be in a valley during mourning, right? But was my valley my grief? Some of my actions/feelings felt a bit extreme to be grief. I was lethargic and unresponsive. I was on the verge of tears even when I wasn’t thinking about her. I was fatigued and sad and irritable and emotional.
Does everyone deal with grief that way?
What finally gave me the hint that this went beyond grieving was when it lasted for more than 2 weeks. And the feeling of nothing. I’m not sure everyone understands nothing feels like, but it sucks.
Let me take a moment to explain. Nothing feels like …
My world is nothing
I am nothing
Nothing can make me feel better
Nothing is worth my time or effort
It’s an empty hollow feeling. And then depression starts to fill the nothing and then it’s a sad, empty, hollow feeling. This is not grief. Maybe the grief propelled it, but who knows.
To answer the second question, yes and no.
Being aware of my down spots does help keep me grounded. It doesn’t take away the pain or the hollowness, but it does keep that little bit of rationality from completely disappearing. Knowing that I’m cycling on the low end helps others from exacerbating the issue. If I can explain to my husband or friends that I’m in a low Low, they aren’t as upset with my withdrawal or sadness. (I think/hope) And once I’ve told my husband, he can remind me to keep grounded.
But it still hurts. Nothing can take that part away.