What is Bipolar Disorder?
It is a brain disorder, a physical illness like diabetes. A disorienting condition that causes changes in mood, thought, energy and behavior. The mood can be high in elation or low in a relentless despondency. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) provides a comprehensive information about this condition.
The Cycle begins …
High and low mood seems to come to me in cycles, there is no exact starting point. I may feel anxious for some days followed by low mood for a week or so. Or out of the blue, I feel happy and energetic for a day or two and fatigue lies in wait for depression.
When I was down in the dumps, I slept day and night. I did not feel like waking up in the morning and seemed happy to be back in bed when night falls. I felt numb and did minimal tasks required to be done. I was irritated when communication was needed. I disliked going out and kept to myself. Entrenched in feelings of uselessness and guilt, my other refuge to avoid thinking was drama-watching and online games. From sleep-eat-sleep pattern, I moved to watch-eat-play-sleep, a routine away from vitality and enthusiasm.
Hypomania Phase Symptoms
Out of the blue, I would become chatty with new ideas like pursuing my Masters degree. I would find out Master programs from a few education providers. Studying and juggling time with home-keeping would be challenging and manageable. Cooking suddenly become easy; new recipes were interesting. Grocery shopping was fun, no longer a daunting task. A few more of this, and a few more of that, I went into a buying spree. A number of magic dusters with refills bought for my good friends; thinking they would need it. My mood was uplifting. No longer was I afraid of making conversations. I chat easily with the cashier at the payment-counter. I desired to re-connect with friends, convey greetings, time set to meet up. I became friends with Laughter and Humor. I feel alive.
The excitements gradually ceased. Some normalcy seemed to surface. And I would think I have recovered from Major Depression. Ideas like Master program was put on hold for financial reason. Ingredients for new recipes put away, I was least motivated to try them out. Drama watching and online games resumed. The daily upkeep of home continued. Days become weeks, then to months, I appeared all right.
A False Sense of Security?
Silently, the monotonous routine returned. I avoided outings, family gatherings. Conversations and home-keeping was done by a need-to-talk and do basis. Irritation and frustration recurring. Dullness set in, motivation level in an all-time low gear. Readings were put aside. Time-killer tasks like drama-watching or online games begun. They were distractions to avoid feelings of anxiety, sadness, and hopelessness. I was blanketed in a false sense of security. The cycle continues.
I Want To Believe … …
I like to be in the ‘normal mood’ range, preferably always. Is it possible? I want to believe so. With effective medication and psychotherapy, self-management, and ICE (In Case of Emergency) system in place, I can and will recover from Bipolar.