Is That All There Is?

It’s late September and it’s looking like my usual fall festivities have been cancelled this year. I often get a little manic in the early autumn, and there is no sign of it whatsoever. Neither is there any hint of the depression that landed me in the hospital on Halloween last year, for which I am eternally grateful. In fact, with the exception of a little hypomania in the spring, nothing has changed since way back in January when that awful episode finally ended.

This is what they call “stable”. It’s the Holy Grail of bipolar. No extreme mood swings…actually, there are no mood swings whatsoever, unless you count those mornings when I wake up anxious and feeling as if I’ve got to do a million things before noon or my head will explode. It doesn’t happen often. Most of the time, I wake up and enjoy my coffee and Internet surfing session. I spend my days enjoying the company of my husband Will, who is still with us even though his liver is full of cancer and the new medication he’s on is kicking his ass. We go to Mass on Sunday mornings and watch football the rest of the day. Life at our son’s place has been good for us, and we are doing OK financially despite being on fixed incomes.


is that all there is to normality?

For the first time in my life, I feel what I think “normal” must be like. I enjoy things, but I don’t have the fire or the passion or the enthusiasm I used to. I also don’t get as angry as I once did, which is a good thing because there are no more screaming fits or thrown TV dinners. But as much as I hate to admit it, it seems as though my treatment has taken the edge off life and I no longer get to experience the full range of emotions…and dammit, I miss it.

So again I ask…is that all there is?

It’s not that I want to go back to the utter chaos my life was in before I was diagnosed and put on meds. I wouldn’t go through that again for love or money, nor wish it on my worst enemy. I know full well what a mess I was and how much I’ve suffered on account of this rotten disease. But would it be too much to ask to have a little excitement in my life again? Meds may have stopped the endless cycling and repeated crises, but they have also created a void that I find increasingly unacceptable.

I feel as if something vital has been taken away from me and I don’t know what to do about it. Messing with my meds is obviously not an option, although I have an appointment with Dr. Awesomesauce in a couple of weeks and can discuss it with him then. However, he probably won’t want to change anything because otherwise my life is going quite well in spite of the fact that there’s a lot happening in it, and if it ain’t broke…well, you know the drill.

Besides, things are about to get interesting…my son-in-law and I just became the co-owners of a cute 2012 VW Beetle (there’s a story there, but it would take too long to tell here), and of course our cruise trip is coming up in just a couple of months. Maybe THAT will stir up this sluggish old soul and put a little spring back in my step!

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.

8 thoughts on “Is That All There Is?

  1. I hear everything you are saying and am sort of there myself. But I know what it does to my family when I am not on my meds. However, I wonder about tweaking them a bit for more feeling. It might be worth it. Meanwhile, I am getting satisfaction from doing things I like such as going to garage sales, little weekend type trips, and quilting. Church and my women’s group also help. And my friends are my saviors…they keep me going. I know you are a creative thinker and I know you can find things to stimulate your interest without pushing the mania button. Any kind of mania (even hypo) is just not worth it for me. I don’t know what you are on, but Abilify has perked me up and given me some energy to get out. Your stress level is high…hang in there. (The cruise will be great!)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It took me time to adjust to life well medicated. I think that acceptance helps. For me, writing, taking photographs, and coloring have helped, too, for I realized that I still do have passions – I still am a quite passionate and creative woman. The key is to not look for satisfaction via mood, but to find it in purpose. I believe you know your purpose. For now, your primary focus is no doubt passionately loving your husband. Mine is largely to be a loving mother and wife – whether or not I am a mental health advocate. Sorry for rambling. Tired.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your perspective. I think you’re spot on about my husband being my first priority…I can’t imagine what this would be like if I were still trying to work.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. sigh. yes. I know. I actually feel like I am in a good place of being very stable but retaining just a bit of the fire and dew….enough to keep me feeling like myself. If that makes sense. Like you said….the completely straight baseline is uncomfortable and unfamiliar when you are us. I agree with you 100% I would never mess with my meds in order to cycle more but I understand where you are.

    How long have you felt like this? Just wondering whether it is a new for sure all time thing or just another Bipolar plateau that will eventually give way to something else.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s just a cycle…I cycled in to stability, and I imagine I’ll cycle back out at some point. I’ve been stable for almost nine months now, so my meds are working well…almost TOO well. But far better to be a little muted than to go through the severe mood swings I used to have!


  4. Glad to hear you are doing basically okay. I don;t think the quest for balance ever ends; each level of medication within the not-in-the-psych-ward range has its pros and cons for me. Wishing you well.

    Liked by 1 person

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