How about how much of being Bipolar has affected your daily life?
Surprisingly little! Before I was properly diagnosed, my life was always in a constant flux. I was going from one extreme to the other and had no idea why. My doctors were giving me one anti-anxiety medication after another, which made things worse. I had panic attacks all the time. I never knew which “me” I was going to wake up being.
You could say that being Bipolar has actually made my life easier. Since my diagnosis, I am on a medication that is working and have learned so much. Aside from sticking to a routine for my medication, I live just as anyone without Bipolar does. I am not allowing Bipolar to rule my life, although I do closely monitor my moods. I use a mood tracker to track how I am feeling from day to day so I can remember for my next doctor visit.
I’m also learning what triggers me into mania or depression, and making sure I avoid those activities. For example, I know that I get very emotional and manic when I drink alcohol (and I shouldn’t be while on my medication anyway), so I avoid it. My social activities do not revolve around drinking. Another thing that can trigger mania in me is big projects. This weekend my husband and I painted and redecorated our guest bedroom. Instead of doing it all in one day, we spread it over several days so I didn’t feel overwhelmed.
I’ve also found that keeping a schedule in my daily life helps a lot. I eat meals at the same time every day. I write my blog posts at the same time every morning. Everything is usually done at its regularly scheduled time in my house, which helps keep me balanced. Then again, there are plenty of non-Bipolar people who do this, too.
Being Bipolar does not define who I am. It’s just a part of me. It does not cause me to wallow every day in self-pity that I have this condition. It has driven me to become stronger, and push past the mood swings and side-effects of medication. It has shown me that I am a lot stronger than I ever thought I was.
I do not want others feel sorry for me or treat me any differently. I can do anything they can do (and then some!), and so can you.