Bipolar and Me – 5 moods before Lunch

Light and dark, love and hate, happy and sad, it’s all just another day in the ever changing landscape of the bipolar mind. When I was a kid growing up, they called it manic depression. I guess ‘bipolar’ sounds less threatening, but I can assure you that the ‘swings’ people who are diagnosed with this ‘imbalance?’ have are at times radical and not as fluffy as the name bipolar suggests.
I have ‘Moderate’ bipolar, I was told this by a psychiatrist. He based this on what I felt comfortable telling him, lets just say I lessened some of my symptoms in the probably baseless fear, that I would be later found rocking back and forth in a cell with electrodes clamped to my brain or somewhere else, lol.

Some days I awaken with such negativity that I wonder how I can go on with all this perceived doom and gloom. While I do have some very dark moments I have never  gone so far as to toss the rope over the bough of a oak tree or been a ‘social threat’ in anyway, I guess this is what makes my condition ‘Moderate’. Often sometimes within hours or minutes my dark cloud lifts and I’m bouncing off the walls with productivity, wondering why the world and my wife just can’t keep up. The most frustrating part of my condition for me are my fleeting visits with positivity, I’m fully aware that my cynical and negative side which is around more than any other mood is a form of mental self harm.

For me bipolar is the furnace which drives my power to create and yes sadly sometimes destroy everything I hold dear. For me, feeling this way is ‘normal’ – whatever that is. Who’s to say that all those who don’t ‘suffer’ with these swings are not in fact abnormal? Sometimes the thought of feeling the same for weeks and months sounds positively horrific.

Over the  years  I have tried the various pills the doctors have given me and yes for a while they help in some respects. I always end up stopping medication as I realise I have to up the dosage to get the same feeling. I resent the fact that these medications are often just simply anesthetizing me, this was not who I was created to be. For me I had to embrace my bipolar for it made me who I am, I know many people can not do this and I fully understand why.

For me quiet contemplation and walks in nature have helped reduce my bipolar swings, not in some ‘throw aside your crutches and walk again way’ but it has simply helped reduce my mind chatter and forced me to realise that any of my perceptions be they dark or light can be changed. This is very helpful to all people but especially to us with bipolar because the dark doom laden view of the world can seem very real indeed at times. On the flip side my bipolar forces me into the world of doubt far more than i can control with just a positive mind set. While in some ways i do enjoy these emotional tides I surf , they do  limit my ability to be as positive and compassionate as I would like. That said I have my moments of euphoria that could be seen by many on the outside as the results of some spiritual inspirational intervention or simply the babblings of a madman . Who’s to say what  bipolar is or isn’t and who can really say it is wrong. All light or dark is not really knowable without it’s opposite.
The first thing to truly grasp is having bipolar does not make you a freak, or less of a person. If you believe you have bipolar get diagnosed, for me it was very liberating once I knew what was Wrong?/right with me. Once I new I had bipolar I viewed the world differently and ironically for me it made me feel less of an outsider. I think it is important to learn to navigate your own bipolar map and not just expect the medical world to ‘fix’ you. Taking ownership of your bipolar may sound very ‘clichéd’ but to think of it as some devil in the head or some alien infection does very little towards helping you live with yourself. If you can’t control your mood swings or they are limiting your joy of life, seek help and take medication but don’t just go for the first thing offered to you. It’s important to be able to talk to your doctor if you can’t, seek out one you can. I think we all know of people who thought the doctors new best and ended up in a worse state than when they started. Personally I reject the concept that doctors are some god like figures that can solve the world. They are no more than mechanics for the body, working with manuals that often have many pages missing, are out of date or are completely wrong. Doctors simply do a job, do not worship them or believe they know it all. In my experience if they can’t listen to you then they can’t help you.

I find taking Herbal supplements (found in high street stores) help even the emotions of the day for me. There are many herbal options on the web some may just be ‘Snake oil’ but some do have medical research to back them up. All that said if your contemplating jumping of the Orwell bridge, howling at the moon, or are destroying your health or a love ones life, I think it would be safe to say you have gone well past the point where popping a few supplements will help. My final thought is don’t suffer in silence you may find help via these website’s:-

http://www.rethink.org
http://www.mind.org.uk/Information/Booklets/Understanding/Understanding+manic+depression.htm
http://www.samaritans.org/

One of Hundreds of alternative sites is always good to keep the options open:-
http://www.thehealthcenter.info/alternatives.htm

I would like to thank Stephen Fry for his BBC documentaries on Bipolar. Watching these led me to finally understand what was up with me (after nearly 40 years) and get diagnosed. This discovery via this program allowed me to move forward in my life, and celebrate the person I am – warts and all. Stephen’s bravery to admit his bipolar, made me open to mine.  My wife’s support in all my decisions regarding Bipolar has been wonderful, especially as she has to live with the manifestations of the ‘black dog’ far more than I do. .

My Artwork Bipolar
My Artwork Bipolar

Disclaimer ( I know it’s sad but I have to have one)

All content within this blog is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Aric Voss is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this blog. Aric Voss is not liable for the contents of any external Internet sites listed, nor does he endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites. Always consult your own GP if you’re in any way concerned about your health. Also don’t forget to wipe your bottom and clean your hands, but enough of this nanny state stuff

Have a great day!

All grammar and spelling errors are complements of the dyslexia dept.