All to the Glory of God–that is why I blog and share my story so openly. I want others to know it is possible to live and parent well with mental illness. This, by necessity, causes my posts to be brutally honest, and that is not always pretty.
I have always endeavored to live by the verse 2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Recently a therapist did something no one had ever done before. She asked me what depression and mania looked like in my life–not the books, not the articles, not the assumptions, but my life…what did I walk through.
That last notable mania spell was a couple years ago, but there were a number of things I could tell her about mania looks in my life.
My mania doesn’t haunt me very often. It, unlike depression, is easily controlled by medication. But it does peek through sometimes. This last Thursday was one of those times. I noticed later in the day that my brain was getting noisier and it was harder to sit still. I was constantly looking for something to do. And it was harder to keep track of my thoughts. They weren’t fragmented, they were just a little harder to keep up with…each seemed to jump to another topic.
Friday morning, it felt like the mania was coming, a wave of it would broadside my mind, but then it would recede. As the morning continued, the waves were coming and staying. The waves of busyness were not going away of their own accord. I reached out to a friend who advised me to contact my doctor. I heard back from my doctor in record time. She increased one of my medications and offered me an appointment for Monday afternoon. I took both.
And then I started moving. Mania comes with a lot of energy. And grumpiness. I repeat to myself over and over what I should do next to channel both…first, must clean house…all laundry must be done and folded. Kitchen must be cleaned up, sweeping must be done. When all house tasks, including homeschooling, were done, I started walking. A lot.
Saturday, I continued with the energy. I am tired, but it feels like something is chasing me–if I stop I will fall apart, so no stopping. It’s only been a day, but I can’t really tell you what I did. My feet were protesting the walking of Friday, so my steps were a little slower, but I still made my mark.
I did clean the fridge and I am so proud to say Caitlyn came in and offered to help me. She cheerfully scrubbed shelves and drawers as I emptied areas and refilled places as she cleaned them.
Today my mind has been quiet. I sat calmly through an hour+ service, I sat in a chair to help the girls with their Bible verses for AWANA. I am sitting here typing this post. That is something I could not have done the last few days. I still did pretty well on my steps…I decided to keep one thing of this last mania stretch…an hour of walking…
Mania does not look like the tv shows. It is different for each and every person that lives with bipolar. Mine tends to be shorter and easily treated. It does not come with giddiness or an overly joyful persona, it tends to come with a fair amount of anger. There is an increased desire to spend. I try to stay away from stores (and amazon) when things are moving too fast. If I absolutely must go to the store, I have a pre-made list in hand and focus all my energy on staying as close to the items written down as absolutely possible. My mind comes up with a million projects I want to do. I used to drag the girls into all those projects, but now I try to let them direct what they get involved in with me. It does get harder and harder to control all of these areas as the mania continues. I get grouchier, staying with the list seems impossible, and I lose my ability to complete any of my projects, but I do try. I really do try.
Again, mania is different for each person. I have a team of people that know what mania looks like for me, and how they can help me to keep everything as even keeled as possible.
Those people make all the difference.