Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Down Side of Up

There are times when being bipolar works to my advantage.  For instance, last Friday I ran about 10 errands, managed to clean the house, walk the dog, write 5 articles for SuzySaid, finish a draft for a magazine, draft 3 blog posts, bake cookies, make dinner and cart the kids around to their activities all before 5pm and was rearing to go that night.  It also worked great in college when I needed to stay up all night to study (yes dad, I did that occasionally) and definitely worked to my advantage when I had two kids under the age of two - neither who slept through the night - and a husband who traveled every week. 

One of the disadvantages, however, is that I have no choice about when these "ups" are going to hit.  Last night, for instance, was not great timing. I slept for maybe a total of 2 hours - none of which was uninterrupted. I sat up, wide awake until 3:30am.  Once I laid down  it wasn't working so switched from bed to couch to guest bed to guest couch without ever falling into a deep sleep.  Sometimes I even eat during these periods of wakefulness, something I've almost managed to mitigate in the past few months (last night I ate two granola bars, however). I have no idea how long this will last or when I will crash, but I know eventually I will.  In the mean time, however, I have to figure out ways to both use this unbelievable amount of energy, as well as contain it when necessary (like during my 4 hour Leadership Charlottesville session this afternoon, for instance).  

Of course there are ways to treat these manic episodes pharmacologically.  Through the years, because I'm not truly diagnosed as bi-polar, but rather cyclyothymic, we've determined it works best for me to be solely on an anti-depressant.  I'm thankful for this, as mood stabilizers, quite frankly, scare the hell out of me (lithium? no thank you).  I've been dealing with this for many years so I've learned to keep my episodes in check fairly well, but occasionally I find myself talking too much and too fast (even more than usual), buying a few more pairs of shoes than I should, or, of course, eating uncontrollably.  

And if I don't catch myself I can always count on the Spicy Chicken to say something "helpful" like "Are you feeling a little manic today?" which always pisses me off....because he's right.

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