Ever since I graduated high school over a decade ago, it seems I have been catapulted from one bipolar episode to the next. For many years I didn’t even know what was happening. I just thought I had seasonal depression each winter, and I could almost always count on feeling better once springtime came.
But then one year it changed. My winter depression continued through the spring. It didn’t even lift once summer came. And as summer faded into fall, I assumed I would never feel better again. But over those next several weeks I did start to feel better. And because the depression had been so severe, the relief was incredible. Little did I know that I was headed for the worst mania of my life. Months later I was diagnosed with bipolar I.
Ever since my diagnosis I have been trying to remember who I really am and what it feels like to be stable. I worried I might have to live my life navigating between the two extremes forever.
But this year brought stability for the first time since I was a teenager. I thought perhaps that being pregnant may have had a hormonal effect that evened me out. In addition to caring for my growing baby, I was in constant communication with my obstetric and psychiatric treatment team to monitor my mental health as well. And I made sure that the people closest to me were aware of any mood changes that could signal a problem.
But those changes never came, and I continued to feel stable. Of course there were many emotions and stresses involved with being pregnant, but nothing extreme. Even since giving birth a few weeks ago, I continue to feel stable and healthy. Caring for my daughter is the hardest job I’ve ever had, but the most joyful as well.
Which brings me to the inevitable question – how much longer will my stability last? Is it guaranteed that a diagnosis of bipolar disorder means I will always have to suffer another episode, up until the very end?
Or is it possible to enjoy long periods of stability? Is it possible to be stable for the rest of my life?
I don’t want to set myself up with unrealistic expectations, but I also don’t want to fall into negative self-fulfilling prophecies. I don’t want to look for trouble where there is none. I simple want to live the best life I can.
What is the longest period of stability you’ve enjoyed? Do you think it’s possible to avoid bipolar episodes with the right combination of treatment?
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community