There are just some days when I have breakthrough mood episodes.
Here's a recent account of one of them.
I woke up, and rather than jumping out of bed and being my enthusiastic self, I wanted to go back to sleep. But I couldn't. So I got up.
My thinking was wrong. Not really bad, but minorly so. Worrying and thinking negative thoughts instead of thinking positive thoughts. Thinking thoughts that aren't rational and are really just kind of strange.
Waiting for the day to pass. Waiting to start feeling good again. Waiting until I can actually enjoy life again.
I only did some of what I usually do. I didn't do the dishes; instead, I let them pile up in the kitchen. I didn't cook any meals; instead, I heated up simple things in the microwave and ate out at a fast food place for dinner.
I didn't follow up on some work that I need to do.
I allowed myself to not do stuff. This is an important one. When you're sick, you don't do everything you would normally do, right? Well this is how I treat mental sickness as well.
I did do a few things to try to help my mood get better. I took a walk even though I wasn't sure if I really wanted to. I visited my mother-in-law, and her compaionship made me feel good. I didn't tell her about my moods, but I kept myself busy talking to her about what she was interested in, and focusing on her rather than me, helped.
I did take a magnesium, which sometimes helps, but its effect today was minor.
What probably helped the most today, actually, was laughing. I watched a show on TV called "The Middle" and this episode was particularly funny, and I just laughed and laughed. After that, I actually felt normal for several hours.
Talking to my husband also helped a lot. We tried to figure out why I was feeling this way. He had some possible ideas, but I really felt like it was just a chemical imbalance. I haven't been feeling stressed, and nothing really seems different than normal, except for my mood.
I accept the breakthrough episodes because they are usually short and manageable. The solutions that might prevent them might just cause other problems. Someday I might decide that I need to do something to better control my moods - and I'm open to that possibility - but for now, for a couple of days out of every month, the fact that I have bipolar disorder is all too obvious.
Actually, I'm not sure if there is a such thing as finding a medication with absolutely no breakthrough symptoms or side effects. Medicine helps, but doesn't cure.
This stable-but-sometimes-moody state seems like a common outcome for Bipolar disorder. Linea Johnson describes a similar situation on her blog.
This photo (right) is credited to Jessia, who says "I've been struggling with depression for years. About 5 months ago I actually started getting treatment for it. Unfortunately it doesn't work all the time..."