I'm feeling much better today! Thank goodness! Yesterday was hard. I had my first bi-polar down swing. But the important thing is... I came out the other side, and in less than 24 hours! To some this may seem like just a bad day and nothing to worry about. But when you've dealt with clinical depression, and especially bi-polar disorder, you become hyper sensitive to any variation in mood.
I am constantly on the look out for swings. Constantly terrified of slipping back into old habits. Constantly anticipating the darkness that has overwhelmed so many times before. So, knowing that this one passed, was like finding a life raft in the middle of the ocean.
The middle of the ocean... that's actually exactly how it feels. Being in a down swing feels like drowning. I lose all point of reference. Like being trapped in a rip current, you lose orientation so badly that you don't know which way to the surface. You might expend all your energy just to find out that you have been swimming deeper and deeper under instead of towards the surface. All I know at the time is that the feelings are overwhelming, but I have no idea if they are proportional.
And you don't know who to trust. The person you've attributed the negative feelings to often tells you, you are blowing things out of proportion. But over the years, people in my life have used my illness to trivialize my legitimate feelings... first my dad, then my ex-husband. When that happens it causes you to doubt things even more. On the flip side, often times your friends and family see their loved one in pain and just want to make it stop, so they suggest drastic measures.
I think what I've learned through this first down swing, is to handle them like I did the down times during Jay's deployment. I found very early on in that experience that the harder I fought the loneliness and anxiety the stronger it got. But if I would find a quiet, safe place, take a deep breath and let all the negative emotion wash over me, I didn't crumble under the wave like I felt I would. On the contrary... when I allowed myself to truly feel the anger, the frustration, the loneliness, the anxiety, the fear... it's like it passed right through me.
I think this is similar. When the next swing comes on, I need to find a safe place, take a deep breath, and let all the fears and anxiety wash over me. Don't dwell on it and allow it to fester, but truly feel the emotion and give it a chance to wash through. And tell myself, that if I still feel as overwhelmed or offended or hurt or scared the next day or a couple of days later, then I can address it with the people who have contributed to the feelings. But right then, at that moment, when I'm most tempted to send a b*tchy text message or email, I need to be present with my emotions, be gentle with myself, and address others at a later time if I still feel it necessary.
Thanks y'all for indulging me this morning. I write here for so many reason. First because I want to document this process. I hope at some point, to make a book of pictures and my blogs so I will have it forever. I want my Butter Bean to know that I loved him/her before s/he even got here. But I always want to let others know what it's like. I hope that others who deal with the same thing will take comfort in knowing they are not alone, which is one of the hardest things about this illness. But finally, I hope that people who know someone with this or another mental illness will learn more about what it's like to walk in their loved one's shoes. When you've never experienced anything like this before, when you don't know what it's like for your brain to turn on you, it's hard to even fathom and sometimes it's hard to have compassion. Hopefully, I can have a little part in putting a personal experience on a difficult subject.
Have a great Thursday everyone! It's almost the weekend! And we get to hear the heartbeat tomorrow! Woohoo!!!