One of the toughest aspects of managing the end stage of a major mood episode is the need to tie up those pesky loose ends. You know how you feel after a night of bar-hopping or a huge shopping spree? Emerging from a serious mania or a crippling depression is a lot like that. It means you have to a) figure out what the hell happened, b) try to fix the damage you’ve done to your life (e.g., finances and relationships), c) assess what you need to do to avoid future incidences, and d) forgive yourself and move on.
Obviously, none of this is easy, nor is it particularly enjoyable, but it’s a necessary part of recovery. I have a problem with the process mainly because I want it to be over with NOW so I can go on to the next big thing, like a young child who’s been put in a corner for misbehaving and stays quiet only because she wants to go out and play the instant Mom lets her go…..not because she’s learned her lesson.
Actually, I have picked up a few pointers from this latest production, which very nearly put me in the hospital and scared the living daylights out of us all. It’s not quite over yet, but the Zyprexa has more or less beaten the mania into submission, and only a vague restlessness and a little irritability remain. (That is some miracle stuff, I tell you….too bad it makes me eat everything that’s not red hot or nailed down, and drives my blood sugars to heights that are anything but healthy.)
Three days ago I was hearing tunes that weren’t playing and seeing things that didn’t exist; two days ago I was in danger of going inpatient. Today, I’ve been able to make sense of things and even concentrate for a little while. And hey, look—I care about my spelling and punctuation again! What a concept!
But as eager as I am to get through the rest of it and go on with my life—Mooooom, are we there yet??—I need to sort through the reasons why this one happened. After all, I’m on a fair amount of medications; yes, I forget the occasional dose, but I can’t imagine that missing ONE set of meds on ONE day could cause a manic episode like this one. However……there’s no denying that missing my nighttime meds once in mid-October, which was followed by the excitement of the arrival of my new granddaughter, may have contributed to it. Bottom line: I can’t afford to EVER forget my meds. I don’t have the wiggle room.
Another thing I need to wrap my mind around is this: Bipolar disorder is an episodic illness, and most people who have it will get sick from time to time whether we’re taking our meds faithfully or not. See, I’ve had it in my head that taking meds = no more episodes, and, well……it ain’t necessarily so. A couple of my friends have kindly pointed this out, and I have to take their word for it because it’s certainly shaped up that way.
The rest of it should be obvious to me by now: This isn’t just something that blew in out of nowhere a couple of years ago. The only thing that’s “new” is that it has a name; I’ve had this illness for most, if not all of my life, and I’m not going to get rid of it with magical thinking (“I’m really not bipolar, I’m only going through some kind of emotional crisis”).
I hope somebody will slap the stupid out of me the next time I so much as breathe that little delusion aloud. And it doesn’t matter whether I think x amount of meds is too many……my doctor is the one who gets to decide that, not me. I am not in charge of this thing, but it doesn’t have to be in charge of me either; letting my hangups about psych meds get in the way of wellness is foolish, and I simply have to get over it.
I won’t be able to do it all in one day though, and that’s why I can already feel the impatience growing: are we there yet??