I have been giving some thought to my most recent slip-slide toward depression, and have come up with again the article I referenced yesterday. I want to expound a bit more upon it. An excerpt from “The Biggest Lesson I’ve Learned From Managing My Bipolar Disorder,” by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. is as follows:
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to take bipolar disorder very seriously,” said Julie A. Fast, a bestselling author of books on bipolar disorder and professional coach who works with loved ones of people with the illness. Fast was diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar disorder II in 1995.
“It’s not like other illnesses. It’s sneaky and dangerous if you don’t watch it all of the time.” She compared it to type I diabetes. “People with diabetes one can’t mess around – ever. I can’t either.”
You can’t mess around with bipolar disorder. I hear that, I get that, and I forget it. I get off my schedule, I stay up too late, socialize too much, put too many or not enough things on my to-do list, skip taking some meds, use my sunlamp too much or too little, and I am left picking up the pieces of what was once a really well held-together Rose.
I’ve been doing all of the above lately. I need more down-time, and I know that’s a lot to ask around the holidays. I need more time to just read or watch TV and decompress. All of the social activity of the season drains me. Just thinking of the two different Christmas celebrations that DSB and I will be going to makes me feel a bit faint of heart. Do I want to go, yes. Will I go, yes. Will it take a Klonopin or three to get me there, probably.
Over the last few days, I have had to take Klonopin because of insurmountable anxiety. When things are going well, I take a PRN maybe once a week, every other week. When the anxiety bears down, it can be an everyday thing, until it’s not. I know that I have that medication available to me to use when I need it, and I don’t feel that I use it when I don’t need it, but it still bothers me to have to regulate my emotions with a pill. You would think I had become used to that over the years. I sometimes see it as a personal failure that I am looking for my Klonopin bottle.
As the article references above, comparing bipolar to Type I Diabetes, you have to stay in constant check with it. That is hard to do, and it’s even harder when you’re feeling better. You want to forget that things were ever bad, or that they could head back that direction at the drop of a hat. The desire to stay well has to be constantly pushed into action, by checking up on oneself.
Have I taken my meds correctly today? Do I need to be kinder to myself? Do I need more down time? Am I getting enough sleep and eating properly? These are all questions I should ask myself on a day-to-day basis, and I don’t.
Just like so many out there, I take the good times for granted and forget that things were ever bad. It is only while quietly slipping into ambivalence and then apathy and then depression, that these things come up again. And then we just hope it’s not too late.