Living with Bipolar

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

So unfortunately, living with bipolar while my depression is in remission is not all sunshine and rainbows. It’s not like a get-out-of-jail-free card that allows me to escape the confines of my mentally ill brain. And it doesn’t mean the depression won’t return. For me, it means having to continue doing the things I did when depressed:

  • take my meds every day, even if I feel fine and don’t feel like taking them.
  • continue therapy, even when I don’t want to see my therapist because I feel that I have nothing to discuss. (Well, there’s my anxiety, I suppose.)
  • maintain sleep hygiene by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. This also helps keep insomnia away. Don’t ask me how; it’s what they say! In my experience, it works.
  • continue to see my psychiatrist, especially now that my appointments are months rather than weeks apart.
  • practice self-care, whether it’s by showering every single day (which I don’t do and is another story), going to a salon/spa, or treating myself to a slice of pie.
  • get my blood drawn to check if the lithium is at a therapeutic level.

These are some of the things I have to manage, plus diet and exercise (which I’ll address in the future). So for me, except for the emotional and physical heaviness I feel when I’m depressed, as well as my bleak outlook, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between depression and remission. At least that’s how I feel right now.

What differences do you feel when you’re depressed followed by remission?

Writing Goals & Writing Practice

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As I mentioned a few posts ago, I’ve been maintaining a writing practice that consists of beginning writing around 10:00 am every morning, which I’ve been doing for 3 weeks. and going for at least an hour. There are several things that I’m working on:

  • going through many stories I started 5 years ago and that I completely forgot about, in order to see if I can salvage anything;
  • tinkering with some of the writing assignments from the writing class I just took;
  • a short story called “Empty Nest,” which is close to being finished (actually it is finished but it has a “safe” ending, according to my writing coach, that doesn’t really make readers think);
  • sending said story out for publication in May/June.

There are actually 2 (that I can think of) stories that have “safe’ endings and need just a little more revision. I’ve stalled working on both. It’s not that I’m afraid to submit my work to literary journals once they’re finished; it’s…I don’t know what it is. I’ll have to think about it.

I’d also like to maintain my blog on a regular basis instead of disappearing for 3 or more months at a time! Whether this means writing every day, every week, or every month, but I’m not going to pressure myself into writing every day. I’ve run out of ideas to write about, which is part of the reason for my blogging hiatus.

I couldn’t write about depression because I wasn’t depressed. I guess you don’t have to be depressed to write about depression, but the object of my blog was to chronicle my battle with bipolar. Now I think my blog focus is living with bipolar because obviously, the disease isn’t going anywhere and I still have to manage it.

Do you have plans for your blog (if you have one)? Do you have a writing practice? What are you working on?

What “Not Depressed” Feels Like

Back Camera
Photo credit: Paul Bowman on Visual Hunt / CC BY

So it’s been a year since they switched my meds. And I’ve been doing really well–thriving. Don’t get me wrong–once in a while when I’m just sitting there, this thought comes out of nowhere: “I’m so depressed.” I was so used to being depressed that I couldn’t recognize other feelings. The feeling of being not depressed is new to me. I’m not used to it!

So what does being not depressed feel like? For me, there are a number of ways. I feel lighter, less of a weight on my shoulders; I don’t feel like I’m under a cloud all the time even when it’s sunny; I care more about my appearance–I’ve started wearing a little bit of makeup again; I’m not always wearing “house clothes,” like sweats and an old shirt; and probably most important is that I’ve regained some of my self-confidence.

These changes didn’t come about overnight. Rather, they happened gradually, which is probably why I’m only now discovering them.

How do you feel when you’re not depressed?


Sticky Note Drawings
Photo credit: tophrrrr on / CC BY-NC-ND

Thank you so much to my new followers and old followers for sticking by me and my blog during the time that I took off. I don’t know when I’ll post next; hopefully it will be more regularly.

So. Since January I’ve…

  • quit, yes quit my drawing class. I went the first 2 times (it was a 5-week course); made the conscious decision not to go the 3rd time (can’t remember why–maybe because I figured out that I couldn’t learn to draw!); there was a polar vortex in the 4th week; and the last class I didn’t feel would be worth it. I know I was just posting about how good I’ve been keeping my commitments, and I’ve been good about it. I had a setback but I started over the next day, which is an outlook I’ve been trying to maintain. No such thing as failures–just mistakes, which I can learn from. I’m finally starting to see things that way.
  • just finished (all 4 weeks) of another online writing course. It was with the same instructor I had last time. The focus of this class was to simply follow where a story leads, just let your creativity flow to someplace you’ve never been, in terms of your story/writing. As a result of taking this class, along with doing Shut Up & Write’s 30-day Writing Challenge, I’ve been writing every day for at least 2 hours, for about a month. I just can’t think of anything to blog about.
  • signed up for an intermediate (though that’s relative) crochet class that starts in May! I’m very excited about this. I have been crocheting, though I stalled a week or 2 ago because the shawl I’m working on is somewhat repetitive and I was getting bored. I’m determined to finish it, even though the shape is very obviously wonky.
  • been to Savannah, Georgia, though I’ll write about that trip in another post!

Again, thanks for sticking around!


Keeping Commitments

So I began taking a drawing class last Tuesday. I’ve always wanted to do that, but never did. A few months ago, I signed up for the class but ended up canceling because we had to take one of the furbabies to the vet (I can’t remember why). I got really anxious — I didn’t want to miss the first class. So I dropped it. At least I got a refund. Then I signed up for this one.

The class goes for 5 weeks, and each session is 3 hours long. This went by very quickly. Towards the end, when the instructor had us drawing a still life (of a cube and an egg), I started getting a little antsy because I couldn’t draw the objects properly. I was ready for class to be over because I had decided then and there that I didn’t like drawing after all. Even though I didn’t feel like continuing with the class, I made the decision to stick with it because surprise! I do like to draw. I’m glad that I’m able to follow through on plans since I’ve felt better.

I never would have reacted that way in the past year. I would just quit and be done with it. In fact, in other classes that I’ve tried to take in 2018, I quit them all except a crochet class and the flash fiction class I took.

It wasn’t so long ago that I was always canceling plans. I’m glad that I’m able to follow through since I’ve felt better. If you have a tendency to not keep commitments, that’s okay too. Hopefully that will improve.

Do you tend to cancel plans at the last minute?