Yesterday, I posted about my latest diagnosis, being Bipolar II. While relieved to finally know what’s ‘wrong’, today, the enormity of it has hit me. I’m sheepish – I told myself to not worry about it for now, but as I tend to fixate… well.
Unlike a personality disorder, there is no ‘cure’. It’s as I figured – I’ve done well on applying CBT to my life, and will continue to. But that can only go so far against wonky body chemistry. So there’s relief in knowing that the reason I’m not ‘fixed’ isn’t laxity on my part – you can’t fight chemistry with pure logic. Medicine can, and thus far does, help, but as a friend reminded me this morning – the efficacy goes right out the window with time. And if you’re really unlucky, you’ll be unable to use a drug nearly as soon as your body gets used to it! That’s a big reason I have always been hesitant to get medicated – besides concerns that it would irrevocably change my personality, I’m not that big a fan of cocktails.
Meds aside – how does one approach something like Bipolar? Some things are obvious and easy to apply to anyone’s life – have a nice, set schedule, eat well, sleep at the same basic time. These things do help quite a bit, and were something I was making a point to do before I got my diagnosis. After all, years of drinking, drugs, smoking and non-stop pizza weren’t helping, so going healthy seemed a better option to try. There’s also that bugbear known as exercise; obviously, it does work… but only if you can stay on the ball with it. I’ve tried in various forms – the fun, the serious, and it makes me feel wonderful once I get past the ‘Geez, I hate exercising.’ But the second I take a day or two off to say, avoid injury, depression sets in even worse than it was before. So sure, while sources would wisely and highly recommend it, there’s that big caveat attached. I’m at a really bad crux as far as exercise as concerned, myself – how do I keep myself doing it without overdoing it, and how do I keep my motivation up? It’s a lot harder than it sounds, which I’m pretty sure I’ve already made clear here any number of times.
There is the knowledge that not only am I saddled with this for life, it’s knowing that it is likely to get worse the longer I live. While I have managed to survive my first 30 years of life, I don’t want survive to be the operative word for the next 30. I want a quality of life. I want a social life. I want my base line to be secure enough that I can live a more normal life, rather than having to egg myself on to do anything because I’m worried I’ll flip out. Granted, making local friends for transplanted geeks is a relatively normal problem, but I’m not satisfied to accept it as the status quo. A local support network is very important for anyone, and I feel, even more so for those of us with mental issues. I’m grateful to my husband and his family, but shizz – they need a break from my crazy. I need a break from inflicting them with my crazy. Once again, it’s a reasonable thing to do, even without crazy as a factor.
I think I can continue to do this. I’ve made it this far with humour, grace, and stubbornness, and knowing what I am grappling with gives me the tools to fight through all the better. I appreciate that it’s not going to get any easier, but I can hope it doesn’t get too much harder. All we can do is try, and see how it goes. 🙂