I hate... hate... hate having bipolar disorder. It's so sneaky and even though you know you have it and know what it does, it still can fool you.
Last week I had some really bad things happen. However, I used what I've learned in the 12-step program, support groups, and counseling, and dealt with them all. Unlike my norm, I didn't stress too much over it or worry constantly on how I could change each thing that happened. I worked very hard at letting go and surrendering.
This time was the most peaceful time I've had in a while - a long while. I was on cloud 7 (cloud 9 is still just a little too much right now). I got together with a friend for lunch early in the week (my social anxiety usually doesn't let that happen - I might make plans but often can't carry them out). I got a lot done at my desk and even though nothing I did was for pay, I didn't stress. To top it off, on Saturday I went out with some friends for lunch and I realized I was participating in the conversation and even found myself laughing. Not fake laughing because I'm tired of being sad, but honest-to-goodness find-something-funny-and-laugh kind of laughing.
The mood stayed through Sunday. I signed a song for the deaf church I attend and even though I messed up some, I didn't beat myself up. I did rideshare for a little bit in the afternoon but when I wasn't getting rides, I didn't worry about it. When a ride took me close to home, I didn't analyze to death whether I should quit earlier than planned or not - I just went on home.
But the real kicker was this morning. In my journal, there's a prompt that asks what I am excited about. When I first got the journal about 3 weeks ago, I wrote things that I was looking forward to, but never could say I was "excited" about them. Later I couldn't even name anything I was looking forward to, as my depression got worse. However, this morning, I actually said I was excited over some possible upcoming opportunities. I wasn't lying one bit about it - I actually FELT excitement over those things.
So when I started a nose-dive into a depressive cycle later this same morning of finally feeling excitement for the first time in a while, I was truly caught off guard. I know that my bipolar won't just go away. But I thought that the things I was doing - finally committing to an eating addiction 12-step program and an eating plan; drinking more water and much less soda; hanging out with friends; making a major effort to not stress about things I couldn't control (think Serenity Prayer) - would keep it away a little longer. I thought that as long as I kept doing all of these things that I assumed had made the depressive cycle lift in the first place, it would stay gone.
I was wrong.
I've never thought about it this way, but maybe my bipolar is also one of those things I can't control. Maybe the mania and depression will come no matter what I do. Maybe I'll never get consistently "well".
I already wrote about a very similar experience last September in "Realization About Progress Not Perfection." I'm trying to remind myself now what I realized then - I may never get "well" but I can keep trying to make each day the best it can be, no matter whether I'm depressed, manic, or one of those rare times I'm stable.