Living with bipolar disorder

19 Oct

I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t think about the fact that I am living with a mental illness. Not because I worry about what other people think of me, it’s not that at all. It’s because I have to constantly be taking the pulse of my mood so that I can manage my illness to the best of my ability. Over the last seven years I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

I like to describe my experience living with bipolar disorder as a scale of one to ten. A simple ten point scale tells so much for someone like me. Think of it this way: 1 = completely depressed, can’t get out of bed; 5 = in the middle, balanced (this is what I strive for every day); and 10 = completely manic, need hospital. I won’t lie, I like being in the 6-7 range, but when I do have those times when I creep up to the 8’s, I start to crumble. I know that when I get to 8, I need to make time for sleep or else I could tip over to 9 or 10 and that would be incredibly awful. Just because I’ve been there before. And now we have two kids and I would hate for them to see me in a manic state. Just as I would hate for them to see me depressed. But with my version of bipolar disorder, Bipolar I, my moods swing on the higher side of the scale versus the low side.

Nighttime is the hardest. The kids have been asleep for an hour and within that time I’ve cleaned up the kitchen and (of late) collapsed on the couch in front of my favorite show right now: XFactor. Some nights I am motivated enough to do a workout and then am filled with so much serotonin that it’s almost impossible to turn off the endorphins enough to sleep right afterwards.

I’m trying to curb my evening leftover work/facebook surfing/twitter gazing/blog stalking to a minimum so that I can hopefully join the 10pm bedtime club.

When I do climb into bed, I get super jealous of my husband who, within exactly two minutes of us shutting off the lights, is snoring away happily. I’m a different story. My eyes close, my breathing slows down, and I shift around until I get into a comfortable position to try to nod off. Thoughts pop up and a running to-do list keeps flashing before me. I’ve learned coping mechanisms over the years so now I am able to turn down those things and find sweet sleep. If ever an hour goes by and I am still not asleep, I know that I must pop a sleeping pill to help me get the zzz’s that I need.

I’ve just been thinking lately about how I live with this each and every day, and will for the rest of my life. Nothing I can’t handle, just thought my readers might be interested in knowing a little bit about what it feels like.


4 Responses to “Living with bipolar disorder”

  1. Andrea October 21, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    Thank you for sharing. This definitely shows a glimpse of what you deal with every single day. I have OCD & like you, not one day goes by that I don’t think about it. I also had trouble falling asleep for the longest time (why is it that men seem to be able to do this so easily?!!) After a few years of falling asleep with the tv on, I have finally found what works for me & reading usually helps me to fall asleep quickly. I am glad that you have found what works for you too. The road to finding what works for us isn’t always easy :)

    • BipolarMomLife October 21, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

      Thank you for sharing, too, Andrea. I find that reading also helps me to fall asleep more easily. I need to do it more often.

  2. Masala Chica October 21, 2012 at 12:40 am #

    It sounds like you’ve got your routine down pat and can make it work for you, which is huge, So many of us suff from “something” these days and finding our routines and what grounds us is so important!

    • BipolarMomLife October 21, 2012 at 8:51 am #

      Thanks so much Kiran, I completely agree. Routine is what makes living with this illness bearable. I wish I would have been able to have been more descriptive and creative when writing about it, but I was so tired and was trying my hardest just to write it and get to bed since I knew I needed to try to catch up on my sleep. Been trying to catch up since our California trip. Sometimes I think life is too exciting to waste our time sleeping, but then I remember how critical it is to my well-being. And so I sleep.

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