How The Hell Do You Chart THIS?!?

I have quite the love/hate affair with mood charts. I’m addicted to them—I have a total of four that I use daily or almost daily—but I wish I could combine them all into one single comprehensive tool for monitoring my moods accurately. Of course, it would be even better if I didn’t have to do that daily gut-check at all, but you can wish in one hand and crap in the other, and guess which gets filled first?

There is, however, no chart I’ve found yet which captures moods that are due to life events, rather than some chemical imbalance. Since my dearly beloved was diagnosed with inoperable cancer three days ago, my emotions have been all over the map, which according to the charts makes it look like I’m in another of my mixed-mood episodes. But I’ve talked with non-bipolar women who have been through what I’m going through, and there’s not a single thing I’m feeling that they haven’t experienced at some point during their ordeals.

In a sense, this is good news. I don’t feel like I’m in any sort of psychiatric crisis, but you know how good my insight is when I am in one, which is to say I can’t find my ass with both hands and a traffic cop directing signals. But as sad, revolted, shocked, astounded, and otherwise gobsmacked as I feel, it’s as if my brain has kicked the BP into submission while I’m dealing with this seismic shift in my universe. Which is a blessing, because all these emotions are heavy enough without interference from my stupid mental illness.

But, it does make it much more difficult to fill out the little squares on a mood chart when your emotions change from sadness to hope to desperation to “it’s all gonna be OK” in a day. Makes me feel sorry for those folks with the so-called ‘ultradian’ cycling who are up and down several times a day, every day of their lives……..that must be agony.

Then again, so is this business of knowing that the person you always believed would be there forever, is making an early exit from the life you’ve built together. Nothing I’ve ever been through—not even the loss of my baby—prepared me for this kind of pain, and I know I’m only just getting my feet wet here…….the worst is yet to come.

So, the mood chart is pretty much useless at this point, because I’m NOT manic, I’m NOT depressed, I’m NOT having a mixed mania and I’m NOT awash in panic (thank you PRN lorazepam!). What I am is a shocked, sad, and frightened woman facing the loss of the one great love of my life…..the only person who knows both the worst and the best about me, and still loves me without reservation……the man I thought would still be walking beside me well into our old age.  And there’s just no way to document that adequately with checkmarks and graphs.

Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

One thought on “How The Hell Do You Chart THIS?!?

  1. emotions are like ocean tides. There is certainly no way to “chart” the feelings that will wash upon you during this very difficult time. Is it really wise to try to decipher those very human feelings? Sometimes you just have to ride the waves, don’t fight the feelings, don’t store the grief. There will be times when you cry in the shower because it’s safe in there and no one can see you. And that’s okay, in fact that’s a good thing. Being BP is a bitch, but I hope that you will allow yourself the ups and downs, that are certainly going to happen, without assigning those feelings to your BP. You’re a strong woman, Marla, but strength can only carry you so far. This is a horrible circumstance, and try as you might, you can’t avoid the feelings or the pain, anxiety and panic. I’m so sorry, you’re both in my prayers.


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