Trying to Travel

For people with bipolar disorder especially, travel can be very destabilizing. Time changes, schedule and routine changes, new activities and people – all work to change one’s life enough that a mood change might commence. 

I’m visiting my family several states away, but in the same time zone. I haven’t seen them in over five years. We are celebrating Thanksgiving together since we haven’t done that in 25 years. The visit sounds great, right? My schedules and routines and stamina are different. Being with family is being around some kind of strangers since I hardly ever see them. We have different views on politics and religion so we don’t talk about them – my idea. We’ve done some kind of activity every day. So I’ve needed to have stamina for all the driving (they live in the boonies) and the activity itself. 

I discharged from the hospital the Saturday before I traveled on Tuesday. My mood really was stable. Starting yesterday I’m feeling a dip in mood toward depression with suicidal thoughts and plans. I would say I’ve been managing anxiety well – one day, one hour at a time. But anxiety, I think, is triggering this potential mood change, as often happens for me. Some environmental factor triggers anxiety which leads to suicidal thoughts, and I feel depressed that I’m feeling suicidal. 

My therapist thinks I get suicidal when I don’t feel perfect, my too high expectations aren’t met. Maybe in this case, I wanted to feel relaxed around my family. And when that didn’t happen – which should have been obvious from the beginning – I become anxious, then suicidal, then depressed. 

And that’s where I am now. I can probably make it til I get back home. I just don’t want to spiral as I do into needing the safety of a hospital. 

3 responses to “Trying to Travel

  1. I am praying for you right now! I know what you mean about travel and about visiting. My moods also respond negatively to those situations. I do it as seldom as I can.
    But if I do travel, and have to visit someone, I explain ahead of time that I had to travel to get there so I don’t want to travel once I arrive. As much as I appreciate that they may want to be my tour guide, that would be too much for me.
    I also explain that I might go to bed early, or take a walk by myself in order to hang onto my sanity. They should not take this personally.
    Julie Fast always says to ‘take care of bipolar first’ no matter what situation you are in. I have found that good advice.
    All that to say, I know what you mean.

  2. Reading this made my heart go out to you. Because I know how you feel. And I’ve been there. Am there. How are you doing now?

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