Seasonal Thoughts: Life with Bipolar Disorder

Spring has sprung!  After one of the longest Bipolar depressions of my life, I am finally walking out of the darkness.  Every year, my mind and body put me through this hellacious cycle of depression followed by a manic episode.  This has happened for so long now that I know exactly when it’s about to happen, but I’m still working on how to cope with this cycle.

For the first time since I started seeing all of my doctors in Washington last year, I am officially, finally caught up on all outstanding lab orders, tests and procedures.  It has taken me 9 months to complete everything that all 15 of my doctors wanted me to do.  I have never in my life imagined that I would need this many doctors or tests to be done in my 30’s!  It’s frustrating sometimes, but today the focus is on accomplishments.  Every single test and procedure that I have endured has put me through an insane amount of anxiety.  I wanted to cancel every single one at least once.  It was Hell for my poor husband to try and convince me to go to each and every appointment.  Sometimes I think he works harder on my health than I do!

Now that the season is turning, my energy and depression is getting better and I’m starting to spend a bit more time outside, which is so great for so many of my conditions.  Sunshine can be so healing, but far too often we spoonies get stuck in the house for weeks or even months at a time.  It’s hard to break that cycle, especially when you feel so crappy all of the time.  Bipolar disorder controls so much more of my life than I ever care to admit, but keeping this to myself does no service to other sufferers like myself.

Now that the depression is done and over with for the season, I must pay close attention for any signs that a manic episode is coming.  Doctors always stress the importance of avoiding a manic episode and medicate for it immediately, but truth be told – I love manic phases.  Sure, they can carry some dangerous, impulsive behaviors with them, but the energy boost for someone who suffers with chronic fatigue is such a blessing.  I struggle every day just to do the simplest of tasks, but with a manic phase I can do all the things that I need to do.  I can clean my house, run my errands, keep up with my kids, etc.  It’s a beautiful time if you ask me.

Love is in the air and I’m feeling it everywhere I go.  The birds are singing, the Sun is shining and life doesn’t seem so dark and dreary for me right now.  Y’all have stuck with me through my dark times, and I’m proud to share that I’m walking in the light again.  I went through a lot medically this last year and I’m honestly surprised that I’ve come through it all so well.  Almost all of my diseases and conditions are well-managed at this time.  I’m still dealing with the daily chronic pain from my diseases, but at least most of my other symptoms are tame for now.

In my autoimmune life, I never know what to expect from one day to the next.  One day I feel amazing and get a bunch of things done, then I feel like crap for a week.  Every task that I do will cost me irreplaceable energy that I will never get back.  Every morning I wake up knowing that at some point in the day, pain WILL strike.  It’s not a matter of “if” I’ll be in pain, it’s a matter of “when” the pain will hit.  I keep a walking pharmacy in my purse in case a flare hits while I’m out running errands.  I have to think about my illnesses, diseases and medical needs before I do anything or go anywhere.

I’d like to give a huge shout-out to my loving partner in crime.  He has stuck with me through some really ugly stuff lately.  I’ve been less than pleasant to be around through this most recent depression.  Somehow, this man still sees the good in me even when I don’t.  He works his butt off to support me, takes care of me, never misses an appointment, never makes me feel less than perfect.  I don’t know why I was so blessed to have Michael in my life, but I know that I could not survive this autoimmune life without him and I thank Gods every day that he is in my autoimmune life.

Stay strong autoimmune warriors and friends and family!  Love and light now and always!

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