From Denial to Acceptance: Asking For, Accepting Help, and Waiting for the Meds to Kick In

I have bipolar 1 disorder with mixed episodes. I’m having a resting day again and I’m trying not to feel guilty about it. My preschooler is with a friend and my husband took off work. About a week and a half ago it became clear that hypomania started working overtime, when, after a day of forcing myself out of bed at noon and exercising to get myself going, I popped out of bed early the next morning to make home-made bread, three pies, and a batch of granola, while posting to my recipe blog, caring for my kids, trying to prep my garden area, hosting 6 guests, and prepping for some local service that evening. 

That evening as I went to serve, my hypersensitivity to noise, paranoia, and wired anxiety let me know that this was not what I should be doing. I allowed my husband to take over while I rested in a quiet place. On the way home, I expressed feelings of anger and hostility to my husband and then eventually got to sleep for the night. The next morning the anger and hostility went to the next level. I felt strong desires to act out in anger and aggression to those close to me, so I slipped out the door to drive to a park and messaged my husband to get home to be with our children. 

I have been off of medication since July. Needless to say, after that day a week and a half ago, I called in to my psychiatrist to get back on medication. We are still in the middle of working out a proper treatment and dosage. In the meantime, I am getting help from friends and family while I work through the mixed episodes and rapid cycling. Today I woke up early and alert with the urge to eat lots of fat, sugar, get everything done, and do something impulsive. My husband stayed home to help me get some shopping done, ease some compounding burdens, and force me to take a nap. I know not everyone has the option to quit life for a day like this, but having a support system during these times is best while I get stabilized. 

It is common to cycle through the stages of grief with a bipolar diagnosis, especially when dealing with mixed episodes. For me, up until a week and a half ago, I just kept cycling back to the denial stage. Thankfully, when I went off of medication last July, I was in a good enough place that I managed to stave off serious episodes until January of this year, when a depression cycle hit. It was then that I began to seriously track my moods, my diet, my exercise, focused counseling, and supplements – but to no avail. The depression symptoms continued and along with it, mixed-in symptoms of hypomania that I didn’t acknowledge until they became potentially dangerous. 

Even last week, after taking what felt like a long break from my life and getting help from so many people, I wanted to jump right back in, be normal (even above normal), and give back – rather than slowing down and paying attention to my health. I’m still working on it and I’m getting wiser as I go along. This illness, while mysterious and elusive, is going to eventually to meet its match: me. 

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