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Emotional Rollercoaster

This weekend, I was all in my feelings {as my kids would’ve said probably years ago, but I’m always late.} I was emotional for reasons that made sense to me and to me alone and other reasons that made sense to those around me. I was riding my own crazy hot mess express freight train straight into bipolarville where manic episodes meet depressive ones and triggers meet emotional roller coaster rides. Then these rides travel down the roads of my feelings leading to pit stops along the way of irrational thought and anxiety, breakthroughs and breakdowns, scattered thoughts, and sanity that is single handedly fighting for the spotlight back from these conflicting mix of emotions. That’s my best description of triggered anxiety while fighting against the sleep deprivation that too much sleep from days prior brings. This complicated run-on sentence is also sponsored by mixed episodes of bipolar disorder.

People hear more often about the depressive episodes and the manic episodes that are famous for the original manic depression name of bipolar depression’s previous identifier. When a person says ‘mood disorder’ this is the usually what people think of. Most don’t know the different types of mood disorders nor the different types of Bipolar that a person can have. They don’t understand the nuances of the disease and they tend to mix up facts due to the stigma placed on bipolar disorder.

Episodic cycling is what makes Bipolar different from other mood disorders. Episodes often range in severity and length of time depending on treatment and type of bipolar disorder a person is diagnosed with. I experience mixed episodes with my bipolar which is characterized by having a more often cycling of symptoms that can overlap each other, have symptoms of both mania and depression simultaneously and a lack of recovery period before the opposite cycle begins. This type and cyclomathic bipolar are two types that are difficult to spot and diagnose due to the more rapid cycling process that characterizes each disorder. This is due to the length of episode which means that a person experiencing both mania and depression in rapid succession might have severe depressive symptoms that overshadow the manic symptoms that are more likely missed.

Bipolar I (which #2 of my threefold is suspected of having) is the more intense presence of mania symptoms than Bipolar II. Bipolar II (what #1 of my threefold has been diagnosed with), is considered less severe as type 1. Type 2 presents with less intense symptoms of manic involvement, their manic episodes are decreased and termed as hypo manic.

Most people, including myself, are quicker to dismiss mania symptoms because it’s almost like a reprieve from the depression that is all consuming. Mania doesn’t always seem as bad as it is. It seems like that is what people love to see. Mania makes you feel on top of the world, confident, brilliant and you have an energy that makes you so on the go. Manic symptoms seem harmless but that is untrue. It involves risky behavior, recklessness, and makes a person not care about the consequences of those actions. You may suddenly spend all your money on unnecessary items. Maybe it looks like sexual promiscuity or infidelity. It can show up as aggression and stealing. It is a myriad of bad behaviors that are almost like the person has no care on the world and is invincible. Mania is much less recognizable in the hypo manic episodes also. The depression is so much easier to pinpoint and the main reason why people find that depressive diagnosis easier than that of bipolar.

The depressive symptoms of each are similar in severity and the lengths of time vary from person to person. The manic episodes are the determining factor of defining bipolar instead of major depression which is unipolar with or without mania involvement. Depression presents in the classic ways with one major distinction that is more likely to point to bipolar. This major differentiation is in that episodic nature of bipolar. No manic symptoms would lead to a diagnosis of depression. You only need to have had one manic episode to have a diagnosis of bipolar. If it’s missed or mistaken as something else then you leave likelihood of reporting those symptoms is likely to be the key that changes the treatment plan from one that isn’t working to one that will work.

There is so much stigma surrounding bipolar which is why those who suffer tend to hide their illness from the people around them. It’s why people don’t accept the diagnose easily or seek treatment for themselves. It’s also tricky to diagnose and most doctors aren’t quick to do so. It’s genetic with a high probability of family links. This is why it’s not unheard of or unusual to have bipolar diagnoses in multiple generations of a family tree. If an adult has an established diagnosis in a family then it is much easier to begin seeing signs and symptoms at an earlier age and begin treatment earlier than it is to diagnose in an adult who has never expressed the symptoms they displayed in an accurate way or suffered from the more severe complications or consequences that this disorder brings on.

My emotional state was brought on more from lack of sleep after having too much sleep this past week, an increase in anxiety and a lot of nostalgia as #1 of my threefold prepares for high school graduation, college, and turning 18. However due to our struggles, my threefold is hyper aware of the slight changes of behavioral patterns and moods than the average teenagers. It also has come from some process work I have been doing on that little {enter sarcasm} goal of moving on from my mom guilt from the past and from the person I was when my bipolar was left untreated for years on end. I have also been working on this small issue I’ve had with holding grudges, resentment, and forgiveness. {Actually I’m the worst about if you hurt me I will remember forever.}

Thankfully I’m not actually in an episode of mania or depression currently and am on a regimen of medication that helps to prevent that cycling of intense episodes. I know my triggers, how to care for myself, my symptoms and my plan of action in the event of severe episodes. It’s very {knock on wood and glass!} calm in the unpredictable waters of bipolar at my house right now. It’s been a breath of fresh air after the year of drowning in crisis after crisis that in the present moment storms aren’t raging through the waters and everyone is safely wading in the shallow end. In less metaphorical terms for the first time in years no one is amidst an episode at the current moment and no one is in crisis. That is a beautiful thing in a life of a mom with bipolar with kids with bipolar that is hard for people to understand. Why would I celebrate us just being okayish?

Being ok for us, all at the same time, means medication changes and adjustments have ceased because we have a regimen that is working for us and consists of tweaks not new meds to find the combination that works. It is a celebration of a taste of stability not normalcy. It is a celebration of growth and progress. It’s being excited to track your mood because you have seen marked improvement. It’s a time where we can accomplish goals and we can be proud of ourselves. It also means we are in self harm recovery {another thing people don’t understand why we celebrate.}

Recovery from self harm is like that of addiction and just like you would celebrate milestones of someone who hasn’t had a drink in six weeks we celebrate the same milestones for self harm. It’s been over a year since #1 self harmed, nearly 6 months for #2, and for me {yep I’ve been there too} it’s been multiple years. These milestones mean that medications {and awareness of the consequences} therapy, and our own ability to safely communicate our feelings have come to a healthy meeting place. That is something worth celebrating at my house.

Thanks for attending my ted talk on bipolar disorder and it’s presentation. It’s a hot topic discussion that no one seems to want to talk about. For those unaffected it seems to have the lack of education almost like why learn about something that you have no use for? Like learning to do wood working when you have no interest in craftsmanship and no plans to ever use the skills. I find it important for even those unaffected because the informative awareness can help assist a friend or a family member distinguish symptoms and marked changes in behavior. If you know someone who needs help or is in crisis please seek help. You could be the difference between someone seeking help or risking their life. Be positive! You’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊 -M Ps. If you have another three minutes for personal research I have created this anonymous survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/66K3QSL on mental illness. I would love for you to participate! Thanks in advance!

2 thoughts on “Emotional Rollercoaster

  1. Many thanks for explaining these rollercoaster feelings. Your first paragraph is revealing. Best wishes on your continued management of these feelings and thoughts. Take care, Keith

    1. Thanks Keith as always! 😊

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