I have found the act of living is more one of survival for me. Can I make it through a day without having some sort of incident happen? Can I handle a simple-seeming task without having a total breakdown? I don’t know if it’s just me, or if it’s bipolar common, but it seems like there’s not much of a way to ‘toughen up’ to handle things – that’s why I used to turn to booze and drugs and smokes and things. They were crutches, sure, but they enabled me to pretend that I could function like a normal person.
Last night was a specific test for me – solo toddler wrangling. I found back before I was medicated that, frankly, I couldn’t handle solo child-wrangling; I would inevitably end up a sobbing wreck trying to hide in a corner. I have a really hard time dealing with someone throwing a fit for no apparent reason, and erm… yeah… that’s sort of how babies communicate by default. There’s nothing more humiliating (even if nobody else sees it) than screaming at a crying baby because you’re so trapped and freaked out that you don’t know what else to do. So obviously, even were I not medicated, it’s slightly more tolerable now – my daughter is 2, and has rudimentary communication skills now. There’s going to be disagreements ’cause she’s 2, obviously – she’s currently defining her world, and I celebrate this. It doesn’t make it any less frustrating when she tries to assert her authority upon your autonomous space (which I really cannot tolerate, but being medicated means I don’t start freaking out immediately), but at least she’s of an age where the dialog and direction of play can be changed, possibly preserving Mom’s sanity by poking child in a manner that doesn’t include shoving books or toy cars onto my person.
Now, one of the things that has always been especially difficult for me is not knowing when I’m going up or down. I have a slightly vague idea of this now that I’m medicated… but find myself at a slight disconnect from some emotions still. So it sort of surprised me yesterday that I made it through the evening feeling pretty proud of pulling it off like a normal person (as, I presume, an evening with a toddler would provide some mild annoyance for even the most enthusiastic parent or sitter!), only to feel incredibly terse and irritable after making it through that incident with no one particularly scathed. That I’m still feeling a bit wound up – was it suppressed vexation and stress from last night, or am I still on the uptick known as a hypomanic episode? I guess all I can really do is think on it, continue to take even breaths, and be grateful that meds means I can handle -something- for once without risking a breakdown//goin’ catatonic event.
So yeah, not sure I’ll ever be able to ‘toughen up’, but at least getting the NHS to admit that I need a bit of help goes a long way. Just got to survive my next pregnancy (whenever I catch – soon, I hope!) so I can move into the next phase of sorting meds and whatever else is needed. 🙂