Feeling a lot better after a very difficult few weeks.
Bipolar disorder doesn’t have a cure. It can be managed with varying degrees of success. I still get mood cycling on meds, just less extreme than without. I cannot currently work full-time but am working part-time with flexible hours.
I am having treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which I have had since I was a young child, but worsened with additional trauma. I don’t actually know what it is like to be ‘normal’. Would I take the PTSD away – yes. I have had a lot of suffering with the PTSD. But then some people see value in suffering.
Would I take the bipolar away if there were a cure? Most people I asked with bipolar immediately said yes. Some people said not if it took away their creativity. Many people are creative without having bipolar so I would like to think I could be creative without it. Sometimes, I am unable to be creative. Some people said they have just been learning how to manage it. Learning not to fly too high and learning how to land safely instead of crashing. That is what I have been trying to do.
I had a really rough few weeks but I am starting to feel better. Starting to paint again. My depressive episodes are usually triggered by PTSD triggers. I do a lot of processing with the mood shifts (exhausting and comfortable but I feel necessary).
I don’t know what bipolar without PTSD feels like. I would take away the PTSD. It is very distressing. So far therapy hasn’t taken away the PTSD. It aims to help reduce the intensity of triggers and integrate the fragmented parts of me.
Being a little bit high can feel really good. Being very high (manic) can be problematic, although it was a rather ‘spiritual’ experience. I have some meaningful accomplishments with an elevated mood (followed by some massive crashes).
My current painting is trying to capture a little of what it feels like for me with bipolar and PTSD – hopeful of colour again. Painting is my happy place. It feels relaxing and helps calm my mind and also helps me process trauma when I can’t find the words to express.
When I am very depressed and very distressed, I know that things will change and I will have days that I feel better, even temporarily.
I am not holding out for a cure for bipolar disorder but learning to manage it. Medications have their advantages and disadvantages. I will talk about medications and psychiatry specifically another time.
For me, hope is a day by day thing. That I will have some good days even when I have really difficult days. Some days that I will enjoy the sunshine and enjoy music and painting and enjoy friendships. I am fortunate to have a few friends that have stayed around, despite it being difficult for them when I withdraw. But I have let them know it’s not them.