I’ve been without a manic or depressive episode for nearly 2 months now. It’s the first time in many years that I have survived the holiday period without questioning if I would even see the new year. It is because of my history at this time of the year I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas and New Years, I associate them with episodes of depression. In years past the main trigger was not having a purpose or routine. I didn’t have university, a job that made me happy or a hobby to focus on so the dark cloud would come back into my life: most people would call this seasonal depression. A time of the year when everyone is happy and you’re not. But when living with bipolar disorder it’s just another episode; one to end the year and start another one on. For me it would be that little reminder of the tight grip my illness had around my neck whispering into my ear that for another year you’re not free.
This holiday season was different. I had started taking lamotrigine and am slowly going off Seroquel. I promised myself I wasn’t going to have a bad December for once. I tried to make a plan of how to make sure that in the 5 months I had off from university I would try to be the best I could be. Do the things that keep me at a good level, do things I enjoy and try to be ok. My doctor, psychiatrist and I made a plan of how to keep me ok. I went on holiday, made sure I was training every day and enrolled into becoming a personal trainer; a course that would start and finish before I had to go back to university. I really believe that ever since I took powerlifting competitively last year, it became my anchor. It keeps me at zero and even at my worst I will force myself to train and after a couple hours that grip around my throat is a bit loosened. The two and a half months that have gone by, I have had a few ultraradian cycles here and there but stuff I can manage. I really believe that since finding my anchor, 2016 saw me manage a lot better in understanding my bipolar and getting through the holiday period. Everyone has their thing and we need to find our anchors, cherish them and have them close by when things start to play up.
Christmas and New Years came, went and I made it. As I sat awake watching the countdown surrounded by my closest friends, rather than thinking great another year I said to myself wow, from someone who never imagined living to graduate high school I have made it another year. A big screw you to mental illness. I know not everyone can just start powerlifting but a lot of us use exercise as a stress reliever. It can give us a clear head, or just get some frustration out. I suppose the purpose of this entry was to just reflect on what for me has always been a very troublesome period but things can change and surprise us. Last Christmas was just that for me.
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community