I just realized something: with the exception of a couple of brief hypomanic periods, I haven’t had a real, live, rip-roarin’ manic episode in a year. Seriously. It simply has not happened. Not even during the summer. And it feels like it’s been an eternity since it did.
Obviously, I have mixed feelings about it. I know that mania is NOT my friend, and that I’ve been playing much better with others since I last experienced it. But now all I get are downswings, and even though they’re not as severe as they once were, I’m not thrilled. The only advantage (if you can call it that) to having bipolar disorder is the high, before I go completely “toucan”…..when I’m happy and productive and I love people and everything is BEAUTIFUL!! And now I don’t even have that guilty pleasure.
Yeah, I know…..pass me a little cheese with that whine. Most of the time I’m content to be stable, which is a state that eluded me for much of my life until medications and therapy entered the picture. I just hate it that when I do decompensate, my mood always goes in the dumper. I’ve had three depressive episodes and a mixed episode in the past year, which still makes me a rapid cycler, but there are no upswings. What kind of bullshit is that!??
Now I understand why people stop their medications. It’s not just that they miss mania, it’s that there’s no “reward” for surviving the depression. I’m feeling marginally better today, which is probably why I’m whiny; I was too dispirited before, so my bitching and moaning are actually a good sign. And I know I should be grateful that my meds do what they’re supposed to in suppressing the highs…..I just wish they were as good at eliminating the lows.
But I have to chuckle at myself a little, too. I have researched my illness to the point where I could have written Bipolar For Dummies, but for some reason I got it into my head that my diagnosis had changed because of the repeated bouts with depression. My paperwork from the mental health clinic showed only that I was being seen for depression and anxiety, so I asked Dr. Awesomesauce if he had, in fact, changed the DX.
He tried hard not to laugh, but couldn’t help himself. For one thing, he doesn’t change anything without talking to me about it first; and for another, I had the same idea LAST fall too, although I’d arrived at that conclusion via different means, and it’s just as full of malarkey now as it was then. After all that’s happened and all my studies, you’d think I’d know that bipolar is a forever diagnosis—you don’t lose it just because you’re no longer experiencing one of the “poles”—and that mania is still a possibility, even though it’s been a long time gone.
Well, he fixed that in the computer and effectively eliminated all doubt, which was just as well because I needed something to give the Social Security office that lists all the medical problems I have. What the hell, at least the documentation matches up now. And I’m not as depressed as I was. It’s all good.