I thought I’d look at the more positive aspects of bipolar, there isn’t many, but there are a few that make the illness bearable at times. The sort of positive ways bipolar has affected my life is productivity; I can produce a considerable amount of written material, hence one of the reasons behind this website.
But there are other little nuances to the illness, which are favourable when in a borderline hypomanic state; however, there is only a short window to act upon, and I need to make the most of it.
When in that twilight phase, I can see everything clearly; things make sense, so much so, everything seems as though the solution is right at my fingertips.
The Rough With The Smooth
As I said, I write a lot, but others are more productive in other ways, from cleaning the house top to bottom to cooking extravagant feasts. However, they may not feel like eating what they cook. Those who can work typically find they are super-productive at work. When I was working for a company before I was diagnosed, my work rate tripled when I was in the zone, but I would crash soon after, often needing a week to recuperate.
Unfortunately, my bipolar has progressed as I have become older, and I can no longer work for anyone, but now I run this website, and I can put all that mental energy into this. I still get many days where I cannot write, so I have to make the most of the days I can and get as much written as possible.
That’s the thing with bipolar disorder it is unpredictable, and I have found I can’t plan too far in advance as I never know how I am going to wake up, but if I awake with an idea in my head, then I know it is going to be a good day.
I know some people aren’t as lucky as I am when coping with the illness, and I’m not sure if it is an experience that has helped me or the fact I have an outlet in the form of writing to expedite my energy. When I was younger, I knew it was focused on being social and meeting new people and having conversations where I would speak ten to the dozen; nowadays, it is all mental energy.
The twilight zone before hypomania sets in is for me a good place; however, when I tip into hypomania, which thankfully isn’t that often due to medication, I lose the ability to concentrate and then my thinking goes into believing everything I write is gold. Of course, it is not; it is just that this is an aspect of bipolar, where I think everything I do, is, well, just brilliant—complete over-confidence.
However, in the hypomanic state, my world is more colourful, and all things seem possible. I can come up with abstract solutions to problems I have and resolve them. But then the thoughts become too wild, and the solutions are wacky and unfeasible, not that I know it at the time.
It isn’t too long after a hypomanic spell, providing I haven’t tripped into full-blown mania; I usually end up in a depression.
When I am depressed, all the colour goes out of the world, and I am left to pick up the pieces of a hypomanic episode. Unfortunately, I spend most of my time in a depression; I lose clarity and often have brain fog, whereby I try my usual tactics to get out of it; I have written about them many times on the website, and most of them when combined do lift me out of a deep depression.
My writing goes on the back burner when the depression is deep, but I can still write when it lifts, and I tend to write my depression articles. You wouldn’t think there is a positive to depression, and to be honest, I can only think of one. I get the sleep I need.
The upside to living with bipolar is to make the most of the positives when they happen; you might not have had bipolar long enough to work out your triggers and how to get out of depression or how to accept your hypomanic spells. If truth be told, acceptance is difficult. It took me ten years to accept I had manic depression. I kept saying to the psychiatrists they had their diagnosis wrong, but too many depressive and hypomanic phases proved me wrong.
Once you accept your diagnosis, you can put plans into action to lead a semi-normal life. You will love very profoundly but also get over relationships very quickly. You will experience the world in all its colours but then view the world as dirty and grey. You have to make the most of the good times, and there are plenty; it just takes time to go through the cycles.
I won’t lie to you bipolar is a life-changing illness, and you will need to make adaptations and build a support system around you, it can be a very selfish illness, but you can’t let that bother you, as it is out of your control. You have to look after yourself as your life literally depends on it.
This doesn’t mean that you have to be obnoxious, but it is favourable to be selfish regarding your own mental wellbeing. One of the upsides of bipolar is that I find it very easy to be selfish because it will affect everyone around me if I become too unwell. So be selfish and look after yourself.
There are positives to bipolar, and you have to make the most of them when they show up. Look after yourself with a self-care routine and try and discover what you can drive your mental energy into. Once you find this out, life becomes much more manageable, not perfect, but nothing is. Thank you for reading through my ramble of a post, and if you would like to write about how your bipolar affects you, then get in contact with me.