Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Up and then Down

I love this cartoonist. ( And I can relate to the doggie. Why? One word: bipolar.

This is a really personal post. And it's not the easiest to write. So hang in there with me.

I am bipolar (along with a few other initials and disorders--imagine that?). It's not pretty. And it's ruled my life for many, many years. I'm up. I'm down. I'm in between.

Up is good. Up is creative and wonderful, full of life and love. Up is always ready for a party or a late night dancing. Up is quick with a smile or a joke. Up writes wonderful poetry and prose. Up is a blast to be with.

Down is not good. Down is depressive and brooding, full of self-pity and self-loathing. Down would rather hide under the blankets and sleep life away. Down does not carry on conversations. Down does not laugh. Down just wants to eat and sleep and be left alone.

But, in between? In between is the worst of all. In between is rage, anger directed towards everyone and everything. In between takes everything personally. In between is ready to throw a punch without blinking. And in between copes by stuffing food in large quantities (and gaining weight). In between makes itself and everyone around it miserable.

So where am I? I've been in in between land for several months and it's getting worse with time. You see, I did the usual bipolar thing thinking I could live without medication. Yep, me. Me, who is always diligent with meds, understanding why I take them. My head-shrinker has said I'm her best patient. I know the disorder inside and out. And I have committed (pun intended) to being diligent with the meds. Inside I know better than to play that game. But, here I am doing it just the same.

So why did I try it without them? Besides being an idiot? Well, there's that voice inside your head that says you can't just live on pills. There must be a healthier way, a more natural way, to deal with the moods. So I tried to do the healthy stuff: take the herbs and supplements. Boy, was I wrong. And when I say wrong, I mean wrong in a BIG way.

The anger and hate becomes overwhelming. I've been biting the heads off of everyone who says anything to me. Everything is personal. Everything's an attack. And I just ran headlong into that wall of "stupid, it's time to give in to the reality." The reality is that I need medication.

So, for the past three days, I've been back on. Smart move. I'm starting to feel a difference. Today, there was no anger. Today I've been productive, actually. I've accomplished a good bit at home on my off-day. I'm still stressing over stuff. But, it's better. I'm better. Give me a couple of good weeks without missed medication and I should be good as new.

So why share all this? Because each of us has our "issue." Mine is bipolar. Yours may be depression. Or any myriad of other things. But we have to know when it's time to do a reality check and give in. So many voices out there tell us that we must suck it up; pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. Voices that say giving in is defeat.

I beg to differ. I'm finding that giving in takes much more strength of purpose. Surrendering to that which is best is not always the easy road to take. So I want to encourage you to look at your "issues" and find what is the best path to take for you. And then have the courage to take that path. It's your journey. Be healthy.

Blessed Be!

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