Author’s Note: This is the second in a regular series of Being Me Mondays. Check back each Monday to see what I discover.
So for the past two weeks I’ve done a lot of thinking about me. A little self-centered I know, but when you’re not sure exactly who you are, I think it’s fair to spend a little extra time figuring it out.
Six days of rain and gray skies, brought on seven or eight days of irritability, gray moods and a hazy cloud over my brain which made this task especially daunting and difficult, but I was determined to keep this list nonetheless. I’m just a little late in getting it written, posted and up on social media (a whole week late … sorry).
So here’s what I’ve discovered about me over the past two weeks.
Bipolar episodes suck and it is good to get on my blog and read old posts like Just Breathe, because they remind me what the symptoms of my bipolar mania and depression are, making it slightly easier to give my permission to take care of myself. It took three or four days to realize I was struggling recently, but that helped manage the next four or five. Which leads to the next discovery …
The weather has a direct impact on my mood, bipolar symptoms and productivity. So many people have told me they love rainy days because they get so much work done. Gray, rainy, dreary blah. That’s exactly how I feel and function when the weather turns wet and dark and miserable. I’d much rather snuggle up in my warm fleece blanket, flick on the Hallmark Channel, crank up the propane fireplace and hibernate … and sometimes I do.
I love cooking, hate shopping. So once the food runs out, my family must survive on cereal, cold cut sandwiches and boxed mac-n-cheese until I make it to the store again. Sorry kids, that’s just the way I roll when it comes to food.
I’m not a thong kind of girl. Whether 15 pounds overweight or 20 pounds lighter, having a thin piece of fabric stuck up my rear-end for an entire day simply does not appeal to me. I used to think, in my thinner days it was sexy. Now I think it’s about as sexy as the drawerful of granny panties I’ve got. If I wanted to experience a daylong wedgie I’d simply put on my skinny jeans. And the fact that I have stored said jeans in a container in the far reaches of my attic should give you a good indication of how I feel about all that.
I have bipolar disorder with mixed symptoms, and sometimes I forget. My manic is punctuated with obsessions and compulsions. I crave order and when I don’t have it I’m cranky, ornery and downright pissed off. It is difficult to know when I am experiencing a “bipolar episode” because I also have crying jags during this time period as well. I weep at commercials, and “Amazing Race” episodes (yeah, seriously???). I want to take naps and stay home for days at a time. I don’t want to take my pajamas off or shower or pick up or declutter because frankly I don’t have the energy, so you can imagine how fun I am at this time. It’s a vicious cycle. I’m angry with my depressed self because she’s lazy, and sloppy and frankly is in desperate need of a makeover, and my teary-eyed self can’t stop crying because “manic me” keeps berating it. Ahhh, this is me!
One other thing I have learned while in the throws of this bipolar episode — all the work I have put in to feeling good physically — dropping a few pounds, meditating, walking, etc. — goes right out the door with a bipolar episode. I eat like crap, I don’t exercise, I gain wait. Last week I was OK with that, that was me at that time. This week with the extra few pounds, I’m having a little more trouble. But I’ll figure it out.
And finally …
I have learned this week that I don’t have to be alone with this “disease.” That I have the power to connect with others and get the support I am craving. This week I have found a Facebook group dedicated to supporting bipolar moms. I have reached out to other bipolar bloggers and made some super connections. And I have taken the time to let family members know what’s going on … and informed them on how they can better take care of me during these bipolar episodes. Hint: When I tell you I think I feel one coming on or that I definitely realize I’ve been in the throws of mania and depression for a good three days, then a simple hug, a “How are you doing?,” a “Can I do anything to help?” would work wonders in melting those steel walls of isolation bipolar constructs at the most inopportune times.
That’s Me for this week!