Bipolar Moods Forever Changing

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A week ago I was hypomanic.  This week I am not.  I am not depressed either so yay for me.  Last week’s hypomania ended with migraines three days in a row.  After coming down from the agony of those and the depression the medication causes, along with the anxiety of my daughter’s homecoming-week events and a family get-together on Sunday, I spent Monday and Tuesday recuperating, had a horrible day yesterday (Wednesday) because I was in super-duper pain from doing aerobics for the first time in years on Tuesday plus I had another damn migraine.  Then something strange happened last night…

My migraine went away with just ibuprofen, which never happens.  (I always have to take an Imitrex for it, but I tried the ibuprofen instead because I needed it for my sore muscles.)  That wasn’t the strange part, however.

The strange part was when I took my daughter to volleyball practice.  It only lasts an hour so I stay there rather than drop her off and go home and come back.  Last night, I didn’t feel like sitting in the cold building on a hard chair and risk having to talk to anyone, so I stayed in my car, but rather than read the book I brought or mess around on my phone I relaxed back in my seat with my sunglasses on and lazily watched and listened to everything going on around me: people going in and out of the building, cars driving up and down the parking lot aisle, country music coming out of a truck that had its window down, a horn honking in the distance, a lady freshening her make-up in the visor mirror before getting out of her car.

I was very careful not to attach a story to any of these people or judge them in any way.  I only observed the facts like I just described them to you.  I did this for thirty full minutes before I started to become bored and lose focus, but let me tell you, I felt more relaxed than I have in ages.  I was almost anxiety free!

It was the best mindfulness meditation I have ever experienced.  In observing what was happening around and in front of me (without subjective thoughts, opinions, stories, judgements, etc.) I was able to eliminate any thoughts of “me” – what was going on with me, my worries, my mood, my feelings, my past, my future, my my my.  What a relief it was to leave me behind for a while!

I never realized how much I needed a break from myself.  Sometimes I get so wrapped up in and obsessed over how I’m handing things and what my mood is like – am I depressed?  am I anxious?  why am I anxious?  am I manic?  – that I think I begin to go crazy over being crazy.

It just felt really good to be free from all of that for a little bit.  It felt like the shackles were released.  The feeling has carried over some into today, thankfully.

I’ve tried this type of meditation at home and it has not worked so well, maybe because there is no activity to observe here when I am home alone, and when I am not alone I cannot passively observe because my family engages me into the activity.

So, I am thinking I will have to go somewhere to experience this again; to a park or mall or somewhere where I can sit alone and people watch.  Or maybe animal watch – a dog park might be good.  There’s even one near my home.

Regarding my migraines, my doctor doubled the dose of the preventative medicine I am on five weeks ago, but it hasn’t had any affect on the frequency of my migraines.  I have been debating on whether or not to give the higher dosage another month to work before calling my doctor and telling him it’s not working, and then I thought, “What the heck do I know?”  So, I’m calling him today to ask if I should give it another month to work or what we should do.

Stress Triggers Depression

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For me extended periods of stress triggers depression.  I have some extra stress going on and it is, of course, causing me to fear the onset of a depressive episode.  Fear is such a nasty thing.  It is the insecurity of losing something we have or not getting something we don’t have.  In this case, I am afraid of losing my stable mood.  Sure I have anxiety, but my mood is stable.

The best way I know how to handle fear is to stay in the present moment; to not think about it; to think about, or more like observe, literally only what is in front of me.  The couch, the sky, the family, the food, the dog.  Observe, not judge.  Watch, not criticize.  Watch the thoughts and feelings go through me.  Don’t hold on to any of them.  Let them float by like clouds in the sky on a breezy day.  Accept, not fight.

Breathe, not die.