I appear to have plateaued. Last week it felt like the start of a big dip, but thankfully I have levelled off in the last couple of days. To use the lazy cliché of a rollercoaster for an experience I think I’m stuck somewhere but it’s not doing me any harm.
One of the problems with Bi-polar is the transition between one extreme and the other. If you’ve been down you assume that the lift in mood is a return to the “norm” when actually it could as easily be the beginning of the move to the other extreme – and vice versa.
Some people experience fairly regular periods of ups and downs and that’s where I was before I was diagnosed. I could almost set my watch by the major downs appearing four times a year at set points, the manic phases in-between and indeed during those downs were more sporadic. The danger with the spikes are that they were always more difficult to predict or understand.
Once I was diagnosed with the depression and anxiety it became easier to manage those periods, but then the manic phases started to show more clearly as they weren’t being treated. Ironically now the fluctuations between the two extremes and the base level betwixt them has become much more unpredictable.
I also wonder if the school year had a lot to do with my dips in mood as they often appeared at the same point each term – could be connected to tiredness and a heavy workload and then the depression increased the pressure. It’s hard to know and unfortunately from speaking to my consultants and GP, as well as reading about the illness online there doesn’t appear to be much consensus about how these ups and downs work.
I can find myself obviously struggling with a depressive phase and the next day I’m feeling the rise and manic moments – I don’t know how the medications effect the chemicals in my head but they have made the experience of living with this disorder much more “entertaining” to say the least. I hope that I am more aware now of where and when the moods are moving but you cannot be sure. Last week I thought I was returning to a darker period just after recovering from one, but it only lasted a couple of days. And that in itself causes me to worry.
While taking medication is hugely beneficial and has made a big difference, I wonder whether the idea meds only have a limited period of success or if I need to look at additional therapies to help me deal with the diagnosis. I’m back to the consultant in November so I will bring it up then and see what they feel is the best step forward.
It’s been five years since my initial diagnosis and coming up on two years since my bi-polar was defined and I’ve come on leaps and bounds. I do know that I’m likely to be on medication in one shape or another for the rest of my life to help me deal with the mood swings, but only the experts can best guess the approaches that will work.
So I’m almost normal at the moment with both regular peaks and troughs as anyone else has. I know it won’t last so I’m going to enjoy it for a while.