April 8, 2011


Filed under: Story — Tags: , , — BringChange2Mind @ 1:12 pm

Today we are going to talk about grief. Not necessarily grief from the loss of a loved one, but grief of the diagnosis. In these past four months I have been trying my damnedest to be healthy and stay well. I had made sure that I was not only continuing to take my meds, but I was also maintaining healthy habits such as exercising (yoga and running), meditating, and additional stress relieving activities like my new found hobby: knitting. I have tried to be patient and kind to myself and have worked with my psychiatrist to increase and adjust medications to help me get over this bump. But as I found myself continuing to go deeper or simply stay in the “pits of despair” I found myself moving into the same mind-frame that I experienced when I was first diagnosed with bipolar. I found myself feeling, to put it simply, angsty. I found that I was reverting to the teenage-angst felt when life just doesn’t seem fair. When you realize, why me? And why now? I found myself getting angry at whoever or whatever has done this to me. And if there is no one to blame, then just why? And though I continually feel that my bipolar is part of me, though not all of me, and that I wouldn’t want to get rid of it. I simply wanted it to go away, or even a little while.

So I suppose my question to the world is, and specifically to anyone suffering from a chronic condition or disease, how do you cope and come to terms with the fact that you may continually have dips in your health, even if they continue to become increasingly easier?

I know that for me they have become easier, this is by far better than my initial diagnosis, but it is still terribly frustrating sometimes to know that I may have this occur again and again. All I know is that I will get through this and it will continue to get better, but some days, on my most 13-year old angst ridden days, I can only continue to say, this sucks.



  1. acceptance

    Comment by Jill — April 8, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

  2. One of the most frustrating things for me about my chronic depression has always been its unpredictable nature and its perversely mercurial form. That is, there are times when the world seems to be crashing in all around me and yet I do not crumble, just as there are times when I am doing everything “right” (e.g., sleep, meds, diet, exercise) and yet I cannot get out of my own way. I at least have the benefit of many decades of having to deal with this contrarian illness, so most of the time I can simply shrug off the confusion. However, while I can’t speak for others, I have to say that it never DOES get easier overall. Instead, I just become inured to the fact that I may be in my 50s yet still suffer bouts of “teenage angst,” and I maybe have made enough bad choices in life to completely derail many of my childhood dreams and yet still have long periods of relative calm and inner peace. So while “it” doesn’t get easier for me, I do find it easier 90% of the time to just accept that life doesn’t always make sense, and just keep moving forward, and to tough my way through the other 10% of the time.

    Comment by Max — April 8, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

  3. Thank you for your insight. Never thought about grieving for myself. Always for others. And yes it does suck, but it looks like you’re getting a handle on your life. It gets better with time and work. Somehow the fears dwindle over time and with the knowledge that you have overcome them before and you can again.

    Comment by Linda Allen — April 8, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

  4. It’s not just the dips that occur. It’s the way they frighten you. At least for me, it’s takes a while to get over the trauma of feeling so crappy.

    I don’t have bipolar disorder but I do have depressive episodes. They are particularly triggered by increase in life’s demands and major change. It’s definitely hard to say, “I always get better” because it feels untrue at the time. Yet, somehow, things go back to “normal.”

    Fighting with how you feel is like struggling in quicksand. It only makes it worse. So, I am working on saying, “Fine, this is how I feel right now. I am not going to fight it. It sucks. I don’t like it. However, I’m just going to have to ride it out. I am done fighting with you. Let’s just learn to co-exist.”

    Comment by itsnotmeitsyou — April 8, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

    • I know what you mean about “quicksand”. Fighting with my own emotions has been responsible for the lion’s share of my fatigue and disillusionment over the last several years. It’s been a hard habit to get past, but I can feel myself getting calmer as the months go on.

      I think my fear of emotion came from 2 sources: having schizophrenia, I used to never be sure whether my emotions were “natural” or not, and also because once I began to have a more natural emotional range due to starting on Abilify 6 years ago, those emotions were unfamiliar and so I had trouble accepting them.

      Years of psychotherapy, loving support from family and friends, and healthy lifestyle pursuit later, it does feel great to just feel.

      Comment by Brandon Staglin — May 17, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

  5. You are truly remarkable to be able to acknowledge and share with us your grief. Thank you.

    Comment by Melody — April 8, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

  6. So well articulated. I will read this to the B.E.S.T! (Bipolar Education & Skills Training) support group I facilitate. Your sharing this will definitely help others. Thank You.

    Comment by Nancy Granger — April 8, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

  7. Thanks for posting and for your honesty. I also have bipolar disorder and I am going through a major depression. I try hard to stay positive and to look after myself but it is so hard. Knowing that others are having similar experiences can sometimes be helpful and places my own feelings into some kind of perspective.Sounds corny but just taking each day as it comes is sometimes the best we can do.

    Comment by Rich — April 9, 2011 @ 10:57 am

  8. My husband and his family are Jewish by faith. When a loved one dies, they do not set the headstone on the grave until the one year anniversary of their loved ones death. This time period is a permission of sorts to be sad and to remember and respect the loss. Then, when the headstone is set, there is a demarcation of time and a forward motion that life goes on. It may not be realistic to set time limits on our grief, but the expectation that there is a time in the future when grief will be set in its proper place can be comforting. I have depressive episodes and during them I forget all about these rational thoughts, but I hope by expressing them in our good times…maybe that is what makes our condition easier as we get older. Somewhere in our subconscious we keep rational thoughts and our inner self knows them, even when we cannot access them.

    Comment by Lynn — April 9, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

  9. Thanks for sharing this! i so needed to read that. i have been there, certainly not in the same way though. i have major depression, and i’ve gotten to a point where i just look at it differently. Thanks to Bring Change 2 Mind and other mental health advocates including you and your mom. You all have been such an inspiration and a big part in helping me cope. i always wanted to keep it hidden but now i know its nothing to be ashamed about. but that still doesn’t take away the pain, frustration, struggle. Everyday is a challenge, that’s for sure. Keep looking up & smiling:) It’s really nice to be reminded that we are not alone in this journey.

    Comment by Jackie Walker — April 10, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

  10. What you say validates what many feel. Working through the grief througout life is really difficult. I hope you also have a support system offline as well as the online. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Comment by Robin Moore — April 11, 2011 @ 6:56 am

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