For those who follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you probably already know that I’ve been Manic for the last month. I’ve been running simple and complex decisions through friends’ minds because I didn’t trust myself not to **** up. I don’t like being Manic, partly because I haven’t been Manic in 4 years and did things I regret 4 years ago. And looking through my past I see things I did while I was Manic that were of varying levels of appropriate and good or bad things to do. My decision-making ability and energy levels go wacko when I’m Manic. I don’t like feeling so out-of-control!
Over this past weekend, suicidal thoughts increased suddenly and rapidly. And energy capacity dropped. And I was able to tell the difference between an easy decision (should I have diet coke with lunch?) from a hard decision that requires a lot more time and thought (should I foster kittens for a shelter? [Sadly, no. Not the right time or place.]).
I saw my psychiatrist today and we talked about the mood shift. I wouldn’t say I’m depressed, except that my concentration ability and motivation have tanked, suicidal thoughts are through the roof again, and my energy feels drastically lower. (All things that are characteristic of depression.) I did qualify that my energy might just be normal and I’m comparing it falsely with the unreal, increased energy of Mania.
The reality, she told me, particularly regarding the suicidal thoughts, is that I am doing absolutely everything right and need to ride the wave of my illness. It’s cyclical and there isn’t anything I can do to control the symptoms. I use my finely tuned coping skills (particularly from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, but also Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy) regularly and often. I know when and how to use them. I know when it’s time to call people, go be around people, or get together with people. I know when to call my therapist or psychiatrist and I know when to go to the hospital. I participate regularly in group and individual therapy. There isn’t a whole lot more I can do. She reminded me that the hospital is there and entering it is not a sign of failure if I need the safety. She reminded me that I’m doing what I need to (exercise, eating and sleeping well, socializing, using my brain) and to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. She also said that I don’t tend to respond to medications to help me through the shifts, but that I wait them out and then go back to those actions listed above that make for a full life and one that is full of coping.
So, this is a mood change. Went through one in July when I suddenly went Manic. Anxiety kicked in hard and sent me to the hospital for safety until meds started bringing me back down. Now I’m cycling downward – as my tendency is for these first few weeks of September. Anxiety was high, but has gone back to normal (my normal).
I will try to use the physical sensations of body surfing that I remember from my 30 years in CA to help me ride these mood shifts. And as I keep using skills over and over and over again. I’m doing absolutely everything I can. My doctor and therapist reaffirmed that in this last week. Remember to let the wave push you but it doesn’t have to roll you.
I’ve complained on Facebook on a day when suicidal thoughts were so bad that all I was doing was using skill after skill to keep from hurting myself and to keep myself out of the hospital. On days like that (like today) it feels like a waste of time I could be doing other life-giving activities that move me toward my values (an ACT-ism that I find helpful). Body surfing feels like another pointless way to waste time that I could be doing something productive and life-giving to me, instead of using skills and surfing the mood shifts just to stay alive.
In case you haven’t heard me say that in a while.