This Bipolar Life

Science has not yet taught us if madness is or is not the sublimity of the intelligence. – Edgar Allan Poe

 Then There Are Days

In this Bipolar Life, there will be days where everything in your life goes right that day, but nothing feels right. Today (Saturday) was an all-around okay day. I spent the day doing what I love, watching the start of the college football season (my team Alabama is #1 in the country.) Every year when it is the first game of the Alabama Crimson Tide season, I go out, get a pizza, and watch the game. I even multitasked and watched baseball. The day went as planned and to be honest I should not complain.

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But, from the moment I opened my eyes today, there was a sinking feeling deep inside. I was lost in what felt like my old friend depression, but was it? I can hardly tell these days. I have gotten so good over the years knowing where a day like this could take me that I was able to function despite the disconnect. I got up, took a shower, made my bed, got dressed and ran errands in the morning. I got home and worked on a blog post. Then I spent the remainder of my day watching sports as planned. That feeling, as I sit alone here writing my thoughts at the end of the day, has failed to dissipate.

To be honest, I think I am still cycling between mania and depression. I can tell my mood swinging up and down so rapidly from moment to moment my mind is failing to keep up. Then social anxiety will creep in and make like impossible. I am always fighting this, but I honestly thought this could be a great summer. It was the first summer in four years where my priority was not school and summer was just a time where my symptoms were not so severe.

I thought, “okay you have the summer to get your life together, James.” It has not been so good. The mania, depression, and social anxiety have played havoc on my life. I find myself once again in isolation, the place that I go when life is too hard.

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It is almost like a prison because, though I do most of my work from home anyway, not leaving the house again has really put me in a bummed mood. I feel lately like escaping my mental illness for just a few hours a day is a process. I have become scared again. The “what if’s” and “wasted hours/days” are starting to feel overwhelming. I am alone almost every moment lately.

This was supposed to be the summer where I got to enjoy being who I am, but I have primarilyspent it trying to survive the day hour by hour. It is such a daunting feeling because fall is right around the corner. That leads to what I fear the most– winter.

It is a legitimate fear, the fear of the unknown because my history is never good during the winter months. It might seem like an irrational fear, but when you have struggled as I have this summer it easy to imagine six more months of hardship when winter hits. I guess in some ways it would be nice to take a break. I put a lot of pressure on the summer that has not happened. I am way too much a perfectionist that when things go wrong I have real trouble dealing with the reality.

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I have only twenty-nine days left before I start my Master’s Program on October 1st. Things have to start changing this month. There needs to be at all levels a better attitude going forward if I am going to move forward from this recent struggle.

I keep going. I continue to write my experiences and find my place in this world. It will be an interesting month. Stay tuned.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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Photo Credit:

Joanna Nix

Dan Gold

Estée Janssens

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28 Replies to “This Bipolar Life”

  1. It’s a good thing that you’re noticing the changes in your moods, because knowing that you’re experiencing a depressive cycle is the first step to try to not experience so many depressive cycles later on. Just keep on working to know yourself better, and i’m sure, that one day, you won’t be experiencing your bipolar symptoms at all.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I also had high hopes for the summer, but they didn’t work out…I intended to un-isolate myself during the summer months because I know it’ll be much harder to do it in the winter.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve had that same feeling… Trying to fight this unseen burden. I’m productive, but feel lethargic and unmotivated. Hello depression, old friend. Welcome back. It’s been causing increases in my anxiety especially at work or when I spend too much time alone, as I often do.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I appreciate the realness of your posts, James. I have many days like you describe – when you have the quiet moment you sense it. It’s like a fine gauze draped over everything. A hint of unease. For me, it is anxiety lurking around the corner, rather than depression. But, it lurks none the less. My therapist says that the best predictor of a panic attack is a panic attack. That is so true… the associations we create and the strength of our memories of the negative can so easily prime us for a repeat of what we want to avoid. I’m still working on dispelling that, just as you are.

    But, let me say this… congratulations on your summer. It may have been rough, but you have accomplished so much. Even from the bad parts, we learn and grow. And congratulations on entering a Master’s program (in writing?). There is a lot of good here too, never lose sight of that.

    – Miranda

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    1. Hello Miranda. Yes I am entering my Masters in creative writing. I am hoping to teach when I am finished. Thank you for sharing this with me. It means a lot to know that even though I struggle there is still so much good. I lose sight of that when depression, mania, and anxiety creep in.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The beautiful thing about teaching is, if you wish it (or need it), so many programs are offering online classes. I finish my second bachelor’s in December & the entire program has been online. 10 years ago that wasn’t an option for instructors (or students). Doors are opening, even to those of us that prefer our own quiet spaces. – M

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I know you struggled this summer, and that can make the coming winter even more scary, but you have a better handle on it than you think. Also, forgive me, your writing has been excellent. Showing your feelings vivdly. Congrats on your master’s program. I imagine your writing will only get better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It was always my goal when I went back to school to get my masters. I want to teach outside of my own writing. Thank you for the complement on my writing. I don’t know where I’d be without my writing.

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  6. I know from your angle, everything probably feels like such a struggle, as I’m sure I would feel the same in your shoes, but from the outside, you definitely look like a success story in the making 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is so me these days. Anxiety is like that one unwanted relative who knocks your door anytime of any day they want and then force themself in. No matter how productive, how up to the mark your days go by, that sinking exhausting feeling just doesn’t go away.
    I wish I could do something to entirely eradicate this feeling from the world, but sadly, I cannot.
    Sending out virtual warm hugs and a lot of positivity your way, James.
    Thanks for being real and sharing this with us.🎈

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Nice post James. I hear you. I feel you and i get where you are coming from. I understand because I have lived it too many years. Your writing is amazing. I think you cut yourself short James. You are so amazing. You are doing amazing things. Things that have helped me on my long journey with mental illness is living in this moment. This is all we have. Right now. Just this. Give yourself credit for everything I mean everything you do. Even getting out of bed sometimes is huge. Please remember that. Remember how far you have come. Accept yourself. You like to be alone (me too) and you know what??? That is okay. There is nothing wrong with that. That is what you are comfortable with right now today. Try not to visit what is not there. You have right now. Tomorrow is not promised and does not exist. You never now how good it may be. My youngest daughter went to college this fall. This was my favorite quote for her. I said mine not hers. I don’t think she liked it much but i did hahaha… “What if I fall? Oh, but my dear what if you fly?” James you could fly and soar higher this fall than you ever h ave before. This could be the best fall yet. Look at it that way. You never know. Keep going. You got this. I know you do. I am here to be your cheerleader rooting on you on every step of your amazing journey. Much love and hugs and peace, Sue

    Liked by 1 person

  9. James, you and I know all too well that nothing goes as “planned” especially because we planned it. Are you still seeing your counselor? If so I recommend taking steps toward group therapy, to begin it during the winter months. If you aren’t seeing her, may I suggest going back? I never in a million years believed I could participate in group therapy and I can honestly say it helped me more than individualized therapy. I became friends with people in my group because we grew together. Perhaps this is what nay help you and during the hardest months when you need it most. I was once told to do as others suggested especially if I didn’t want to and when I did, the best results showed. You know that I am basically a recluse so for me to do group therapy was a leap but one that I will never forget. You never know, you may find a friend to meet up with at the coffee shop. You will find to have more in common with them than just mental illness. For myself, summer has been difficult mentally and ironically I’ve gotten more accomplished than I have in years. Why? Because I am doing something different. I hope this helps a little and that you can try it. If it is too much you can always withdrawal from the group. 🙂. Keep your head up and live for today and today only. You will come out on top.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so weary of group therapy Eve. Early on I had some bad experiences with group but my therapist has been trying forever to get me to lead a group therapy. She believes I can do it I am scared if I am honest. I see her next week so I will talk to her about taking that step.

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