I have found that I ran the range of emotions over time in my bipolar existence. Some of them occurred despite my bipolar illness and some were the cause of it.
Of major concern to me was a fear or feeling of doom or dread that took over my psyche when I was depressed. It had no substance. It was just there, never leaving my mind. In addition to this, was a feeling that I had little or no self-worth, even self-loathing, that came with those depressive moods. Feelings of loneliness, despite being around people, were an oppressive weight on my chest. I often couldn’t breathe normally at all. I had pains at the base of my throat that resembled the pain one experiences from lack of wind after running too far too fast. I felt like time had been somehow tampered with and refused to pass at any reasonable length of time. I felt better, more grounded to reality, by repeating a slightly childish manta word. I won’t say what it was as it would only embarrass me and do no one any good.
The feeling of dread, vague and unfocused, stayed with me into the manic. I think it was the rapid cycling that never gave the chance for the moods to settle. Switching multiple times a month, from depressed to manic, meant that I never really got to stop and catch my breath. In manic moods I fell squarely into all the symptoms outlined by the professionals, except that I was not violent. I talked fast, my mind raced, I had large ideas and a big ego. I could go on little sleep and felt my mind was razor sharp on the details it needed to focus on at any given time.
I had all my abuse dealings with booze, drugs and the worst, over eating. My feelings were that I felt bad about the excesses but only in normal times and certainly never during the substance abuse. Fortunately, I remember few of the details and rely on others for the stories to go back to those times and realize how lucky I am today. The rapid cycling removed my common sense when it came to stopping these abusive situations. Today my feelings toward those excesses have numbed. I worry about falling into the same trap but now the cycling is helped by medication risperdal. It has made a real difference
During those infrequent times when I was normal I tried to focus on my mates. First time I fell in love in 1968 I got married and spent 13 years in total, dating her, and then in marriage. It was really “too young” love, maybe even puppy love. But I had those feelings of love. Its been thirty years since we separated and I would have trouble recognizing her on the street if we were walking past each other. A while back, sorting out photos for scanning and came across a picture of the two of us. I was shocked at how young we were. But we were in love and during those undiagnosed bipolar years we still managed to have a lot of wonderful times
My second marriage is quite different. We have a mature love forged through all my battles with my bipolar disorder. She stood by me with all the things like damaging bipolar actions, prison, hospitalization and treatment. I know what all that took and love her for doing that, least among many other reasons. Even with my ongoing illness and treatment my love for her has not wandered. I won’t say it has gotten stronger because it couldn’t ever be stronger than at this moment. Even in the throes of manic actions or depressive canyons I knew who and what she was to me. I love her for so many reasons, not the least of which is that she became my bipolar guardian. I have often stated that communication is a necessity in bipolar treatment and she is my communication center. She watches, assesses, listens and knows how to respond to dangerous signals. But she has the ability to realize when a small bipolar interruption should be ignored in my patterns of life. She is good for me and good for my bipolar disorder.