Category: Mental Health

My Life With Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is not something I would have ever expected to have, but when I was diagnosed three years ago, it was no surprise. I was relieved and terrified at the same time. I finally knew what was wrong with me, but I knew nothing about it.

Nothing can ever prepare you for the highs and the lows that come with bipolar disorder. I was originally diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 2 with psychosis. My first diagnosis was made by a doctor at an inpatient psychiatric center. Eventually that got switched to bipolar disorder type 1, which was diagnosed by a psychiatrist that was seeing me regularly and got to understand my swings a lot better than a doctor that only knew me for 10 days.

I have spent the last three years coming to terms with my bipolar disorder. Understanding that there is nothing I can do, but try my best to manage it, not just for myself, but for family as well. I am currently in therapy and have a psychiatrist who is helping me with med management. And for the first time in my life, I have a sort of routine for my medicines. I normally hate taking my medications, but I can’t help it now. I know I need to get better. I am trying my hardest to keep on schedule.

My Bipolar Symptoms

The following symptoms I will explain are what I experience. Not all people with bipolar disorder experience all of these and there are plenty more symptoms that I don’t deal with.

Manic Episodes

Manic episodes to me can either be extremely enjoyable or extremely irritating, mostly irritating. I don’t experience hypomania as much as I experience full blown mania. I feel like when people think of mania, they think it’s like a crazy-happy type thing. It’s a lot more complex than that. 

Here are the symptoms I experience during my manic episodes:

  • Flight of ideas (I feel like my brain is running at the speed of light.)
  • Extremely fast and loud talking
  • Loss of sleep
  • Overly energized
  • Psychosis & Paranoia (These two coincide for me because usually the paranoia is brought on from the psychosis.)
  • Impulsivity
  • Easily distracted
  • A need to start a bunch of projects at once

I am currently in a manic episode going on day 17. Just during this episode: I have cut my own hair. I applied and enrolled in college. I started meal planning. I have forgotten to eat multiple meals. I had to delete Amazon off my phone because I started filling my cart. I took on 19 new pen pals. I cleaned and rearranged my bedroom four times. And I will probably edit this post a million times after posting it.

Depressive Episodes

Depressive episodes for me don’t normally last as long as manic episodes do. For me, it’s typically between a week or two before they start to fade away.

Here are the symptoms I experience during my depressive episodes:

  • Feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Bingeing
  • Isolation
  • Difficult to pay attention
  • Suicidal ideations
  • Feeling empty
  • Crying spells
I don’t like these episodes as much, but I love the relaxed feeling. When I am manic, I feel like I am always on edge. Dealing with depression is hard. The feeling of worthlessness is what gets me the most. I will feel like I am not good enough for those around me, whether it be my son, my husband, my parents… I just don’t like that feeling at all.

Mixed Episodes

I have been experiencing mixed episodes for years, but I just recently was able to decipher when I was in one. During these episodes, I experience symptoms of both manic and depressive episodes. The main ones being overly energized, impulsivity, hopelessness, suicidal ideations, self hatred, and feeling disconnected/isolated from others. I personally feel like this is the worst episode to be in because looking back on my life, I have done some dangerous things while in the middle of a mixed episode. None of the symptoms I mentioned above go well together and it honestly just calls for trouble.

Motherhood Isolation

Ever feel like you are never alone, but always lonely? Well you’re not alone. Motherhood isolation and the loneliness that comes with it is very real and shouldn’t be pushed to the side.

It’s time to talk about it.

When I was pregnant with my son, I felt surrounded by so many friends and family. People would contact me asking how I was feeling and if I was excited that soon I’d be a mother. They would remind me to cherish my sleep because I wouldn’t be getting much once he was here. I was told a bunch of advice, but nobody ever told me how lonely motherhood can get.

Nobody told me that there would be days I would scroll endlessly on Facebook wishing I could reach out to every person I have on my friends list, but feeling too overwhelmed with anxiety to put myself out there. It got to the point where I stopped reacting to or commenting on other mom’s posts. Whatever you do, don’t do that. Engage yourself in conversation if you can.

Nobody told me about the “we should hang out soon” texts that lead nowhere. I would send or receive messages like that, but then plans are never made. It’s very rare that I make plans that I am able to follow through. I don’t know why something always seems to come up.

Nobody told me that I might go days without having someone check in on me and how I was doing (besides my husband or parents.) I never really understood this. When I was pregnant, I felt like a road side attraction. Everyone was so eager to ask how the baby was doing and how pregnancy was treating me, but as soon as my baby was introduced to the world and our friends and family, I felt like everything about me became invisible.

Now definitely don’t get me wrong here. I don’t mind being alone sometimes. I even feel like I have become a homebody since becoming a mother. I just feel like I really need a friend sometimes and it’s crucial to have someone that you can message about those scary diaper stories or the newest milestone your baby hit.

Ways to Fight the Loneliness

Photo by Tess Emily Seymour from Pexels

Join a club, an organization, or an online community.

There are plenty of different ways for you to reach out into the community. Mine just so happened to be MOPS. Even if you don’t have WIC, go to your local office and ask them if they know of any events happening in your area. Your pediatrician might have a few recommendations as well. Another place to ask is Facebook. If you can, find a local mom group on Facebook and ask the other moms in there. You might even be able to make a friend or two.

Reach out to family and friends.

You may feel like nobody is there for you. (Trust me, I get it and that is what makes this the hardest step for me personally.) Your family and friends will be there for you if you tell them what you’re really feeling. Don’t hide from them, they only want you to be happy. Don’t wait for them to notice and reach out to you, they might not realize what you’re going through without you reaching out to them first. Some of them might just be going through the same thing.

Reach out for help.

If you are struggling trying to stay in control of things or feel like you’re carrying the world on your shoulders, stop for a second. Take a minute to look at how it is affecting you mentally. Why else would you be feeling this way? Ask for help. You might be a super mom, but you don’t need to be a superhero. A part of the reason I think I had issues with feeling like I was alone was I never asked for help, but the people who said they would be there for me would never offer either. If you need help and no one is offering it, you’ll need to reach out and ask for it. 

Keep a journal.

Write how you are feeling. Keep a journal or something to release yourself into. I started keeping a bullet journal to help myself stay more organized and in it I have a “one line a day” where I write down something every day. Sometimes it’s a feeling, sometimes it is about something that happened that day. That would be something nice to get your creativeness flowing and keep yourself from drowning in your thoughts and loneliness.

Stay off of social media.

Seeing others post and comparing yourself to them will only make your situation worse. Don’t let yourself wander down those endless feeds looking at smiling faces wishing that was you. It will not make you feel any better.

Think of all the good in things.

It might be a little hard to not feel like your life is just falling apart when you’re dealing with loneliness. Look at this time as a way to connect with yourself. Get to know yourself better. Look at that little human you made and your significant other and think of all the happiness they bring you. 

Find a Mama BFF

My biggest piece of advice is to find yourself a mama friend. Go online and meet your due date buddy. I was lucky to have met my best mama friend in person already, even though we barely knew each other before we were pregnant. Download Peanut. Join BabyCenter. Find yourself a friend you can survive motherhood with that isn’t your husband or your own mom.