I just wondered if there are others like me. First, I am heavily medicated. (12 pills in the morning, 14 at night) They include litheum, tegratol, seroquel, topamax, and resterl to sleep. I am Bipolar 1 with anxiety. Before I was diagnosed my maniac phase inflated ego, hyper-sexuality that included affairs and naked pictures, and other Hypomanic issues. I never really had to much depression. Now with the meds, they are pushing me so far down that when I have a manic episode, i feel like I’m trapped in this shell and I am fighting to get out. I’m uncomfortable almost all the time and it has driven my anxiety and anger issues way up. When I come down a bit, I just want to sleep. I fall asleep everywhere. Then 2 days later I’m all freaking out again, but look calm on the outside. Is there anyone else like me? And how do you get through all this alien like feeling?
First it starts with a catch in my throat making it difficult for me to breathe; then comes the pain in my chest and finally every sense that I have is overloaded. The simplest of noise bother me, the softest of touch makes me cringe, and all smells penetrate my nose like it was a disgusting odor. My anxiety overwhelms me and makes it difficult to function when I have to, because I have a job and kids that need me to function as if nothing is going on. So no my friend you are not alone in the journey of managing our bipolar!
I have been diagnosed Bipolar 1 for two years now and we have yet to find the right medication combination to keep me stable. I still spend most of my time in some state of mania, whether it is hypomania or full blown mania. Before I was diagnosed, I was often called super woman by those who knew me because I did it all and I did it well. I went to college full time obtaining many degrees and credentials, I worked full time with special needs kids who needed my full attention, I coached my kids’ soccer teams and I made the banners for their teams as well. Not to mention the spending sprees I would go on, or the sexual activities I engaged in. I did it all burning the candle at both ends, overloading myself with anything and everything. Now that I have a diagnosis things make sense as to why I made some of the choices I made, but it doesn’t make it any better to deal with.
It’s amazing what medication can do to us; something that is supposed to make us better can sometimes make us worse. What has worked for me in dealing with the “alien feelings” of our disorder is having a great support team, which first starts with a little vulnerability; which is
not easy for me! Along with the support team comes my sticking to a routine as much as possible.
My support team consists of a lot of people both professional and personal, as well as some unexpected members. My professional team consists of a therapist that works with me to do cognitive therapy. This is where you talk yourself through the situation removing the
anxiety and taking everything moment by moment. This isn’t always easy for me, as I tend to have a catastrophic mentality. Everything is black or white; I struggle to see shades of gray. The cognitive therapy helps with this. I have to write it out because of the way my brain works and have to see it logically before I can process it. The other part of my professional team is my psychiatrist. I have had to learn to be an advocate for myself and speak up as to what the medications are making me feel or not feel. I have learned that I can no longer say “yeah everything is fine” when the truth is I am suffering major anxiety or my brain is running at hyper speed.
My personal support team consists of friends that have stood by me during my periods of hospitalizations. They instinctively know when to call and check on me, often because I am too stubborn to reach out, because I have to be in control. Sound familiar? The unexpected
members of my support team are my children. They live with me every day and I work very hard for my disorder not to affect their lives, but the truth is it very much affects their everyday lives. They are the first to notice some of my symptoms before they become a realization to me. Being completely open to others and their help helps us manage the “alien feelings.” Beyond my support team is the necessity of me sticking to a routine. Because I tend to be manic more often than depressed I have a sleep schedule. I go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time every day, whether I am working or not. I take my meds at the same time, setting an alarm for my afternoon meds so there is no excuse as to why I didn’t take them. I also make sure I get in some sort of exercise, whether it is walking while my kids are at soccer practice, or walking a block to the store instead of driving. Sticking to my routine is essential for me to maintain stability.
Practice removing the thoughts from your head, the physical aspects will slowly diminish, and use those around you who are willing to help. Having Bipolar is not a “death sentence.” Remember to switch your mentality from I am bipolar to I have bipolar. It doesn’t define us it only adds flavor to our already unique lives!