Waiting for today...: Blog Post: “High-Functioning” Bipolar Disorder

Monday, June 20

Blog Post: “High-Functioning” Bipolar Disorder

“You seem to be doing alright.”  Couldn’t believe I was hearing this from my psychiatrist of all people.  This was not too long after I shared my diagnosis with my boss.  It was when I found myself in the pit again.  I was asking her to fill out paperwork for partial medical leave; permission to temporarily cut my hours to part-time.  I was scared.  I knew depression was affecting my productivity.  I put myself out there for help but I was also begging to be scrutinized.

She didn’t sign them.  She wanted to “treat me first”.   I get it.  But it would take two weeks for the new medication or dose to take effect.  Probably also the time it would take for me to be warned about my productivity and to later be fired when it didn’t improve.  “Can I have limited hours during that time?”  I should’ve asked.  But instead I did what I had to do.   I surrendered to defeat.  I put on the mask some days and called out other days.  Thankfully my boss not only told me she understood but she showed that she at least had partial understanding by not penalizing me for calling out.   More than my psychiatrist showed.

Thankfully that’s over.  I came out of my latest mood swing determined not to overwhelm myself with trying to put my life back together to it’s pre-mood swing condition.  I had the understanding that certain things just didn’t matter.  I claimed to have had this understanding many times before though.  Just never treated myself like I did.  This time I’m taking it one day at a time, being easy on myself, nonjudgemental, but determined to keep moving forward.  It wasn’t until months after my mood swing, though, that I found the missing piece.  The piece that may possibly keep me from spiralling down into the pit of depression every few months: it’s been 6 ½ months.  One of my longest periods of normalcy!

That piece?  My hierarchy of needs.  Lovingly inspired by Maslow, I realized I needed to throw out everything I thought I knew about building a self-care plan to just focus on the foundation. For now.  I started by being completely honest in the most selfish way I ever have.  I admitted that I just didn’t give a fuck about many things anymore.   And in the end I recommitted to my mantra that my mental health mattered more than anything.  Anything!  Including earthly relationships.  And rest, a basic physiological need,  would be the easiest way to get there.  

While my psychiatrist has not diagnosed me with bipolar disorder (BPD) she and my therapist both agree that I have features of BPD.  The following blog post, a personal story, validates how I feel being my best but also tethered by invisible chains to a debilitating disease and stigma. However it has also helped me to feel less guilty about what I need to do and more proud of myself for having the courage to do it.  

The trouble is, using all my control, sanity and energy during the week to try and produce enough work to pay my rent then leaves me with a really large deficit when I’m not working. I’m crazy. Remember? Not normal? I’m just faking the normal. And faking normal requires more effort than you can possibly imagine.”

con’t reading ““High-Functioning” Bipolar Disorder” by Natasha Tracy published at HealthyPlace.com.  Retrieved on April 22nd, 2016 at http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2011/01/high-functioning-bipolar-disorder