February 27, 2016 by Courtney
This week has been full of ups and downs. Mostly ups, but some bad days and good days; some good moments, and bad moments. I had a lot of time to reflect on what that means in regards to my illness.
I have had some GREAT moments in my life (hindsight, these times were most likely hypomania that I didn’t know I was having). During these times I felt on top of the world… I felt like I would never have a bad day again. I could bake 10 homemade goodies, make all of my personal care products and cleaning products homemade, keep a spotless house, keep up with laundry, play with the kids, exercise, eat perfectly, plan and prep meals for the week, etc… all in one day. I thought I was doing what I was supposed to be doing as a “good mom and wife.” I thought I was amazing. Little did I know, I was living out my illness. This is what hypomania looks like in my life.
This was usually followed by a low period (depression). Those low periods were terrible. Unfortunately I didn’t know what was going on so I thought I was a horrible wife, mom, friend, etc. Sadly I had people on Facebook tell me I was being negative and even had a good friend de-friend me on Facebook because of it (because that helps)… I digress… I couldn’t get out of bed, off the couch, sat staring at my computer for hours and hours, etc. My house was trashed all the time. Laundry would pile up into loads and loads of laundry that needed to be done. My kids were sitting in front of the tv so that I could stay on the couch, on my bed, whatever. I often felt like I wanted to run away and had suicidal ideations (never thought I would go through with anything… just thought that maybe the world would be better off without me).
At this point in my life…
I am considered to be in “remission” from my illness. I’m not having the high moments (hypomania), and I’m not feeling depressed. I still have some anxiety (mainly in the evenings), but it has gotten much better. I was scared to drive for a little while for fear I would get in a wreck, I was scared to let my kids out of my sight, and I would wake up in a panic thinking someone was going to die. All of this recently until the doctor put me back on a medication for anxiety (he had taken me off of it thinking it wasn’t working, but obviously it was).
So the other day I had what most would call a “bad day.” I immediately started thinking, what if I’m going back into depression? What if this isn’t the right dose and medication. I was worried about a bunch of stuff. Then, this amazing thing happened. I dealt with an issue that was bugging me. And all of a sudden I started feeling better. The rest of my day was better. Not amazing, but not depressing. I realized something in that moment. Moments of stress, anxiety, anger, frustration, and fear are normal. It’s just when they last and last that they become a problem. I’m learning that simple problem solving can rid me of these emotions, and I can move on with my day. On the flip side, moments of joy, peace, happiness, being carefree are normal. Ups and downs are normal. It’s the extremes for long periods of time that aren’t.
I have lived in a state of extremes my whole life so I didn’t know what was normal. I’m having to re-learn a lot as I’m in “remission” thanks to the right dose of the right medication. I’m also trying to learn what is anxiety caused by my illness, and what is just normal, regular old anxiety (my doctor reminds me that some anxiety, sometimes is normal).
So here I am, living this life that God has given me. Sometimes feeling joyful, at peace, happy; and sometimes feeling angry, frustrated, or irritable. Ultimately, I’m loving life and this new found peace that I am feeling. I’m still praying that it will continue. My fear sometimes is that the medication will stop working, or that something will happen to cause me to go back into my cycle. So, I’m taking it one day at a time. That’s all anyone can do, right?