Many people can find enjoying the holidays challenging, but for those with bipolar disorder, the holidays can also cause bipolar mood instability. This is a special challenge over and above what the average person faces. While average people may worry about seeing a brother who hates them or an alcoholic aunt who is a mess, people with bipolar disorder risk a bipolar relapse. Here are some of the reasons why the holidays cause bipolar mood instability for those with bipolar disorder.
When you’re changing medications, it becomes very clear how much bipolar medication changes suck. Being on the first one(s) sucks and changing to the next one(s) sucks, too. And people not on medication may not get this. They may not get what it’s like to have to take medication for bipolar and they certainly may not get why bipolar medication changes suck.
Bipolar disorder doesn’t have to mean that you can’t enjoy the holidays. Really. Even though bipolar disorder may complicate our holiday planning you can still enjoy the holidays with bipolar.
Boundaries in bipolar disorder matter and over the holidays, bipolar boundaries matter even more. We set functional boundaries for a reason. Boundaries keep us safe. Boundaries keep us well. And that is not just as important during the holidays but, rather, more important. We must maintain boundaries with bipolar during the holiday season.
Angry, frustrated, irritated and anxious – did I ever mention that bipolar mania, hypomania and depression are not the only mood/emotional states of my bipolar disorder? While most of these aren’t, technically, symptoms of bipolar disorder, they are common expressions of, or occur with, bipolar disorder. So, sometimes, instead of being “simply” depressed or hypomanic, I also feel dramatically anxious, frustrated, angry or irritated.
Recently I’ve gone through a really nasty bipolar mixed episode and one night I was reminded that distraction is a major bipolar coping skill that I use. I do it without even thinking about it much of the time. My brain just purposefully shifts from agonizing emotional thoughts to unemotional ones. Activities at that time are similar. Distraction as a bipolar coping skill is incredibly useful.
I dissociate when the pain of bipolar disorder becomes too severe. It happened to be just last night, in fact. I was wailing out into the night about the pain and suffering and willing it all to end (Losing a Battle with My Bipolar Brain), knowing that it wouldn’t, so I just dissociated. I separated from the world. My brain and mind walked away from each other. The pain of bipolar disorder forced me to dissociate for my own good.
I love good things theoretically, but with depression, I can’t enjoy the good things. Most people don’t get this. Most people can’t conceptualize of this. But even when good (recently great) life events occur, I just don’t feel pleasure (Depression Is Not Sadness). I can’t enjoy the good things when I’m depressed.
I have always said bipolar medications cannot make you less intelligent. Now, I’m not saying they can’t impact how you think or your speed of thought and so on, what I’ve always said is that bipolar medications can’t actually harm your intelligence quotient (IQ). All that being said, a new medication I’m on, sure makes me feel stupid. The question is, what to do when bipolar medications make you seem less intelligent?
The suicide of a bipolar online was the news I was greeted with first thing this morning. It was an awful wakeup call. Not a wakeup call in that I was sleeping (although I had been) but a wakeup call in that we all need to be on the lookout of the signs of a possible suicide in ourselves and others. And sometimes I think we forget about this killer. Maybe because we need to in order to survive. But today I want to talk about what happens with the death of a bipolar online.