Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I forgot.

Lately, it has been a struggle for me to just get out the door and force myself to go to work. Truthfully, I am fairly certain I am in my first depressive episode in about 5 years. After weeks of hypomanic cycling, I have now hit the depressive part. I am in constant tug-of-war with my mind. I have been flying into angry episodes, yelling when I don't want to, and having a hell of a time with my memory and trying to get work done. I don't usually complain about my bipolar, but this is one of those times it is really hard. I am lucky enough to realize I am in a depressive episode, that the anxiety will eventually stop, but sometimes I can't stop it. I am embarrassed with my work performance, but I cannot concentrate mentally. My mind is just racing. I found an open letter online that I would like to share that about sums this up completely.

"The support people of a bipolar individual need to be patient, patient, patient. We are easily distracted, have difficulty with concentation and focus, and forget what you told us 5 seconds ago -- much less being able to remember to do something you ask us to do 5 hours from now. We lose things, misplace things, or just plain do not see things that are right in front of our eyes! While looking for that "misplaced" item we misplace 10 more items. By this time our mind is in a panic and total state of confusion!
We used to be organized and on time but now it can take hours to get organized and get together the things we need when preparing to get out the door to go somewhere. By this time we are irritable and so is our family.

We lose our train of thought, what we meant to say comes out backward or the word we meant to say comes out as a different word that starts with the same first letter. At times we fly into a rage over seemingly nothing; some of us get physical, but most of us are not.

To those who are support people and/or family and friends, understand that none of the above is personal. The irritation, frustration, and confusion that you feel about us at times, we feel triple that amount about ourselves plus add in a huge scoop of guilt and shame over our actions. So be patient with us and know that most of us do what we can to take care of ourselves and take the responsibility of keeping the effects of our illness to a minimium.

We do this by taking our meds, going to therapy, and educating ourselves about our illness so that we may know ourselves better and successfully intervene on our own behaviors. Be patient, also, for with every ongoing recovery there are relapses along the way.

It goes without saying that with our family and friends we need their love even when we act like we don't, and with paraprofessional and professional support people, we need for you to care about us as indivduals and not as just another patient rolling through the assembly line. Compliance comes a lot easier in regard to your treatment recommendations when you really listen, appreciate our uniqueness, intelligence and talents, and recognize that we can be informed team players in our own treatment plans.

Most of all, whether it be family, friends, or treatment professionals, DO NOT GIVE UP on us if we have not given up on ourselves.

I am fortunate. I can really be an exasperating family member and patient but my family, friends and all treatment team members hang in there because I do, and they believe in me even when such belief wavers sometimes within me."

--by LWM6, About.com Bipolar forum member

Yes, it is a struggle. Yes, it is embarrassing.  I just have to keep going.