Pink & Blue Mummyland

Pink and blue parenting through pink and blue moods….

Roller Coaster

on August 28, 2014

I’ve not been here for a couple of weeks. This is mainly because I have been doing this:

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and this:

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and this:

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and this:

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It has to be said, I’ve never really been a fan of roller coasters. I like keeping my lunch in my stomach too much. But I am married to a thrill seeking husband and we seem to have spawned two children who take after him in that department. And the ‘family holiday where we do things together’ (which I, now to some chagrin, wish I hadn’t constantly insisted upon) apparently extends to fairground rides.

But, to be fair, I spend most of my time on a roller coaster, albeit in a slightly less joint straining, child restraining way.

Lots of people liken having bipolar disorder to being on a constant roller coaster. It’s a very good analogy – getting higher and higher, and more and more excited as you reach the top, only to lose the exhilaration all too quickly as you plummet towards the concrete of a seaside palisade. Fortunately, with a roller coaster, there is at least a little warning of what is to come. My experience of bipolar is that of blind corners, often unrecognised rises, and largely unexpected and unstoppable falls. 

The most analogous thing about this roller coaster for me was that when on on the pleasantly undulating slopes rather than extreme and invigorating climbs and drops, the car spun around. There was never a point at which you could just relax and enjoy the views, because you never knew which way you would be facing when the exaggerated excitement began again.

That’s my life. I have to be constantly aware, never losing concentration, trying to track every little twist and turn for fear of what might come next. I would like to be one of those sufferers who can see what’s going on with my moods, and predict their arrival based on minuscule changes of demeanour or the rolling of seasons of the year. Perhaps that comes with experience, with years of watching and waiting and willingness to record every mood change that comes to call. Perhaps if I was further on with that process they call ‘acceptance’ I would be doing likewise, rather than just being tossed to and fro, riding the tides as they come. That’s what you’re supposed to do, as a sufferer. It’s what all the blog posts and medical journals and self help group aficionados advise – the better you know yourself, the better your health can be.

Is it wrong not to want to have to do this? I feel like a stubborn little girl, stamping my feet at the idea that the rest of my life might have to be consumed by note taking, mood tracking and medication management.

I’m fairly well aware right now that the closer I move towards acceptance, the more I realise I’m not there yet. Each time I deal well with whatever mood change comes to call, I become more aware of coping mechanisms that need instigating and thought processes that need changing. Eighteen months down the road from diagnosis, I’m only just beginning to own the fact that I suffer from an essentially permanent mental illness (which for some sufferers becomes terminal) that will need long term (if not life long) medicating, and constant acknowledgment, awareness and observation. It’s only recently that I’ve actually been able to say with certainly that I have bipolar disorder rather than, “I kind of have bipolar,” or, “I had a sort of breakdown.” Many years of experience have helped me to use terms like, “I suffer from depression,” but I still don’t find myself able to say, “I was hypomanic,” or use the word ‘episode’ with regards to depression or mania – it is just too close to admitting I have this illness that comes in waves, like chapters of a book, with a cliffhanger at the end of each one. It’s hard to know how to end a post like this. Do I try and think of some witty comment, dramatic climax, piece of wisdom for others following the same path? Do I falter, writing on and on with ever more obscure simile? A roller coaster finishes it’s adrenaline fuelled circuit and comes to a stop, and a family stumbles out, all ready for the next party to clamber in.

Stop the ride, I want to get off.

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