The Endless Cycle of Bipolar Disorder

 

20130614_7bwI recall noticing a bit of the bipolar cycle first occurring early in my childhood years:

I was a sweet, sensitive, young girl who had a few best friends. I spent many hours of my childhood days playing along to my imagination. Nothing could be more entertaining or fulfilling to me back then. Though rather creative and resourceful, I lacked self-confidence and emotional stability at times.  I often felt insecure and uncomfortable in many social situations. After being surrounded by crowds of people, I would inevitably crash and need time to recuperate. As a toddler I could be quite colicky after being around groups of people, mom and dad would say. I would become irritable after a long day, such as school, and just needed some time to do whatever it was I desired, to just relax without any real expectation. Stress had been, and still is a significant trigger for an episode in my case. When stressed, I become overwhelmed and have a breakdown and quit (or almost quit). I’ve been known to give up on quite a few things I have started due to the significant levels of stress and the changes in my mood. It has always been disappointing and devastating especially when it happens repeatedly, one after the other. I begin to feel like I will never amount to anything or succeed in life. It killed me whenever I would give up, but I had to do what was best for me at the time regardless of how badly I wanted it or who or what it was affecting. One thing I have always admired about myself is my ability to keep going and try again even when I’m unsure if I’ll make it through. Sometimes it can be rather tiring and there are times where I feel like giving up all together. There has even been many times where I have felt like ending my life, but I become too afraid to actually follow through with it because of past experiences. Also, I begin thinking of those who would miss me and be absolutely devastated. I don’t want to hurt them. There are numerous times where I can recall lying in bed flooded in tears feeling hopeless and lost. The feeling of wanting to end my life is no stranger to me. Those feelings seem to come and go. One moment I’ll feel perfectly happy, upbeat, and silly, and the next I begin to notice myself slip into a deep, dark, depression. This endless cycle has become my life.

Start something new –> Goes great for weeks, maybe even months –> Crashes into a wall of depression –> I quit or give up –> At home all day trying to get my life back on track –> I end up feeling like a failure –> Attempts to try again (work, school, etc) –> The cycle repeats itself

One of the most difficult tasks is discovering how to break the cycle. To find success and happiness without crashing into a wall. Many may ask or wonder how can someone with bipolar avoid the crash? This is something I still have yet to figure out as well. I have come a long way, but there are always those set backs every once in a while. I still crash and am left to pick up the pieces. Much like rebuilding or starting over again and again which in itself can be exhausting. Many have stated and I agree, that living with a mental illness is a full-time job.

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.”

-Mary Anne Radmacher

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11 Comments

  1. hi there – I am very familiar with this cycle. It started for me in childhood as well. I have recovered through a total diet and lifestyle change and by doing the 12 steps and the course in miracles. One love, many blessings – Darcie

  2. I have to say I love your website! It’s beautifully laid out! One day you’ll have to tell me how you got it to be so beautiful!

    I could have written this post myself. Stress and discouragement seem to be my two triggers and they go hand in hand. I really think the best way to avoid a crash is to lean on our support networks. A lot of people don’t have In Real Life support networks, but we do have them online if we look and connect with others who are experiencing what we are experiencing.

    I began running a non-profit for moms with bipolar back in June. It’s only been 6 months and not a whole heck of a lot of progress, but I think if I’d start charting my progress instead of my failures it would put things in perspective for me. Maybe you could try to do the same thing <3

    Becca
    http://motheringthroughbipolar.com/

  3. I love that quote about courage. It’s a side of that virtue we often overlook.

    I know breaking the cycle is different for everyone, and I feel so confident in your ability to do it. It feels as if you can see your target, feel it almost. The courage and clarity you have through the darkness is so admirable.

    For me, it helped to reframe what I considered success in my endeavors. That it’s OK to not always be perfect, that a break from running or better eating is not a failure, just an interruption, and that I can still get back on it without failing.

    Best of luck to you. I think you have so much on your side in this.

  4. No one should be ashamed of a mental health issue. It’s a neurochemical imbalance, not a choice. Thank you for sharing your personal experiences and feelings with your readers. I have to recommend a series of books I read recently entitled “Healing the Mind and Body” by Paul Corona MD (http://drpaulcoronamd.com/). As someone who suffers from mental health issues I try to stay informed about the medications I take, and also what is available to me in the future. These books are an amazing source of information about bleeding edge ideas and practices that could very well help many people with these problems. Dr. Corona seems to live and breath the treatment of these disorders and therefore comes across as a passionate and trustworthy resource. The author also has a lot of experience and knowledge when it comes to to the use of SSRI and the newer SNRI medications. This series was well priced and offered a load of information that I found very useful. I hope you will check it out and good luck in all that you do!

  5. What you wrote is so familiar to me, I was really feeling like a failure until I read this. Thanks for putting this out there, you reminded me that every time we try again is a win all by itself…I know how tempting giving it all up can be.
    Thank you for your strength!

  6. Thanks for sharing so openly.

  7. I think that the path to avoiding the crash is different for everyone, and like you I’m still trying to find mine.
    I just keep chipping away at it hoping one day I’ll overcome my cycles of giving up.

  8. This blog entry mirrors my life about 99% . I live it every day also. I am nearly 61 years old and I have been alone for 14 years now. Things never seem to get better. I wish you all of the best . Lisa Rhodes.

  9. We finally found medication that helps my husband. He’s been on it for some time how. Take courage. There’s help out there. 🙂

  10. I have been thinking about the unending nature of this lately. I have found that when I have setbacks, that comfort can be found in my ability to recover more quickly. Sometimes it is barely noticeable, but it is enough to pick up the pieces and start again. 🙂

  11. *hugs* be courageous, I know the struggle you speak of, sometimes you have to be stubborn and not give up today *hugs*

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