Open Topic

Dancing With My Demons.

To outsiders looking in, bipolar mania comes in many forms. During these emotional highs, I become full of energy and overly excited about life. Mania can be mild, moderate, or severe, so you may not always link my happiness and elation with a mood disorder. Sometimes, all you see is a fun, optimistic, and upbeat person — the life of the party. But other times, you may notice erratic behaviors with their joyful mood.

I may become more talkative, to the point where others can’t get a word in. I may also speak fast, or come off as impulsive and easily distracted. While this may be confusing for you, this can be a great time for people living with bipolar.

The mania part is awesome. I have tons of energy and don’t want to stop.

The best part of mania is, that I’m so optimistic about everything. You could crash a car through my house and I’d reply, “What a great time to build something new!” I’m my most creative during this process, so I’m doing as much as possible to capitalize on it. Artistic or constructive, I’m up for anything.

I have the most fun running around and entertaining people, making them laugh, and acting like a big clown. I get a lot of satisfaction from the laughs and smiles I can get out of people. It makes me feel invincible.

Every morning I wake up ready to go, even if I didn’t get much sleep the night before. I don’t really need that much sleep, so I just go and go and do so much. I see all my friends, have a blast, get everything done on my to-do list, and more.

And do I talk. I’m all over the place, dominating every conversation. I’ve been told I talk too fast and switch topics so quickly that it’s hard for others to keep up with me. Sometimes I can’t keep up with myself.

Unfortunately, this is when I go out more, spend all my money, and shop too much.

An upside to the mania is that my sex drive goes haywire. I crave a lot more sex during this period and sometimes it’s a bit much for my boyfriend.

During my mania, I feel like a god. I feel like I can do anything, so my self-worth skyrockets. I can’t explain it, but when the mania burns out, I’ve got nothing left. Without the highs of mania, I wouldn’t be able to tolerate the lows of depression.

Mania isn’t the only symptom of bipolar. People living with this disorder also have periods of depression and alternate between extreme highs and extreme lows. You may be all too familiar with these extremes and unpredictable moods.

I could be laughing and having a great time one day. And then the next day, I disconnect from the family and isolate myself for no apparent reason. I have little to say, become easily irritated, or lose motivation, which can be a difficult time for everyone. I may also simply revert to a normal amount of energy without symptoms of depression. I can remain like this until the next manic episode occurs.

When I’m depressed, I want to be left alone. It’s not that I want to be by myself; I want everyone to disappear. I don’t want to go anywhere, see anyone, or do anything. It’s like no matter what I do, people are telling me I’m doing something wrong. So, the easiest way to feel better is to hide.

Seeing all those people carrying on, living their happy little lives is an annoying reminder of my bipolar disorder and how I’ll never have that kind of stability. What’s worse is hearing all the people I “entertain” while in my mania talk about how quiet I am and that I’m not entertaining. Do they try to cheer me up, or do something to make me laugh? No. They just want their clown back. It’s annoying.

No matter what it is — work, hanging out with friends, exercise — I don’t enjoy things because the smallest details annoy me. If friends invite me out, I imagine waiting for the bus, being crammed against angry people, waiting in lines, and all the other negative things. I think of every possible downside of something, which leaves me dreading the idea of doing anything.

I turn into this grumpy old woman. I’ve contemplated suicide and have attempted it once before.

But the more I understand the problem, the more I know that the depression is temporary and I don’t always think clearly during it. That self-reminder helps me from doing anything stupid.

When I think about the future, I don’t like what I see. I can only envision more troubles, endless work, and an endless string of letdowns.

This is what I imagine it’s like for everyone else — you know, normal people. I wake up in the morning and I feel fine. I don’t dread going about my day. I go to work, get things done, and have plenty of energy throughout the day.

I can roll with the punches the average day gives me. I’m not freaking out over small problems, I enjoy the little things, and I’m not loathing the future.

I feel normal and it’s how I see myself. I’m not some lunatic running around or some mopey, lazy slug.

I honestly wish I could stay in this mindset all the time, but I know that won’t happen. I’ve accepted that my moods will change on their own, so I enjoy the calm more when it’s there.

Bipolar is unpredictable. Take it one day at a time. Healing doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s completely normal to worry about your loved one during their mania and depressive episodes. You may fear them making reckless or irresponsible decisions, and harming themselves during an emotional low.

Bipolar can be a lifelong struggle. The more you learn about the condition, the easier it’ll be to offer support. People with bipolar cannot control their emotions or moods. Remember, bipolar isn’t a sign of weakness. It is a mental illness. Avoid insensitive or negative comments like “snap out of it,” or “get a grip.”

Let them know you’re there to help in any way you can. Offering practical assistance can reduce their stress level and help keep their emotions under control. For example, help out around their house or offer to research local support groups for them.

Bipolar is a real disease that can have a huge impact on friends and loved ones. Treatment may help control symptoms. These include mood stabilizers, and for some people, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, exercise, and nutrition. Some people also benefit from counseling and support groups.

Have faith!

Open Topic

My Struggles.

It’s the being asked what’s wrong? And you don’t even have an answer. Because in retrospect, nothing is wrong. Your life is good. But at the same time, that nothing is everything consuming you. Because it’s just feeling. An off feeling you can’t shake for long periods of time. 

And when someone asks what can I do? There’s nothing really they can say or do to change how you feel inside. 

It’s two forces being pulled against each other because you want them to stay, but you also push them away because in your mind, you are some burden or a bother. You think you are dragging them down also. And no one deserves that. No one deserves to worry about you and you don’t want to put that one them.

So the easiest thing to do is pretend everything is fine.

You say fine and they walk away, and under your breath will be the words that go unheard whispering, “please stay.”

How do you understand someone who suffers or just lives with depression? 

How can you detect if they are lying because they think it’s better for you and when something is really wrong? 

How do you stay close to someone who wants to push you away? 

And how do you understand something you simply can’t unless you experience it? 

1. Understand they aren’t choosing to be sad.

They don’t wake up one day and think, “I really want this day to emotionally drain the shit out of me to a point of tears I can’t explain.” 

There are just some days that will hit them so hard and when it does, understand there isn’t a solution to it. 

Depression is like a storm you can’t run away from. Because the further you run, the faster it’ll chase you. So the best thing you can do is just stand there and face it head on. Let it come through destroying everything in its path, but then the storm ends. And you’re left to pick up the pieces. And a new day begins, that’s a little brighter than the last and you carry on. That’s depression.

2. Understand how afraid they are for you.

They don’t want to burden you with their own problems. They feel guilty. They don’t want you to worry. They don’t want you to look at them any different or perceive them as weak. 

They consider this their greatest weakness. And if it doesn’t destroy them, it will destroy everyone and every relationship around them. 

Just reassure them that who they are at their worst and lowest, isn’t an accurate depiction of them really. 

3. Understand how sorry they are.

If they trust you and let you in and completely break down, understand how horrible they feel about it.

They are going to apologize too often and think they don’t deserve someone like you in their life.

They try so hard to be strong.

4. Understand when they push you away is when they need you most.

People with depression push others away because they think they are better off alone. They think you are better off. They convince themselves no one will understand this thing they struggle too, so it’s best to face it alone. 

But the greatest company comes when you don’t want any. That moment you push someone away and instead of turning, they pull you in and remind you, you aren’t alone, it’s everything.

5. Understand when their mind is in a depressed state, nothing they’re telling themselves is true.

There is a stream of phrases that go through their mind, in moments they are depressed they believe it. 

“No one loves you.” 

“They feel bad for you.” 

“You are a burden to those around you.” 

“This is your fault.” 

“Everyone will leave.”

“You are alone.” 

“It will only get worse.” 

In these moments, just tell them they matter, tell them you love them, tell them you aren’t leaving. Tell them it isn’t their fault. And it will get better. 

Demons within ourselves are the most difficult to overcome, but that’s what makes these people so beautiful, their ability to overcome it and see the light in everyone and everything around them.

Because it’s only when you’ve learned to live in darkness do you appreciate the light. 

6. Understand they aren’t depressed all the time.

Depression comes in waves. The best day of their life can be followed by the worse and vice verse. Depression is something coexists within you, never fully going away, but hiding in the shadows.

Sometimes people with depression come across as the happiest, kindest people in the world. And it’s not that they are faking it, it’s that on their good day they really are that happy. It’s just those bad days that teach them to appreciate it more. 

7. Understand what they mean when they say, “I’m tired.”

It’s not tired because they haven’t slept. Even though that’s probably true too. It’s an emotional exhaustion of feeling everything in life so deeply. 

It’s the want and need to shut it off. But not even knowing how because that’s who they are. 

For people with depression, tired isn’t something sleep can solve, it’s something they live with every day. But every once in awhile, they have good days that give them hope and strength on their worst. 

8. Understand the power you have in their lives.

A kind text message. A snap chat. A like. A tag. A message. A conversation. An hour set aside or just visit. A compliment. These little interactions can shift their entire day. Because it’s the people they love that give them strength to get through the bad days. 

9. Understand how much they love you.

Even in those moments where they might not be the people you recognize, they are still them. And they’ll say thank you too much and apologize too often and show you appreciation, not just because you choose to be in their life, but you choose to accept this part of them they struggle to. 

It is through your love and acceptance they are reminded to love themselves.