Feeling Good

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CC image “Gullfoss Waterfall” courtesy O Palsson / Flickr

I’ve been feeling good lately. In fact, I feel quite good. I feel, dare I say, happy, even.

My new meds have been beneficial. Therapy is going well. Diet and exercise are helping. My new treatment plan has been successful thus far. Things are great. I haven’t felt this good in a long, long time.

I have felt good before, however. I felt very good before I stopped taking my meds last summer in order to help me be, in my own mind at least, a more productive artist. I felt good enough that I convinced myself that I really didn’t need all of my meds. I had made a remarkable recovery and was better. I still understood that I wasn’t “healed”, as bipolar is a chronic condition with no cure, but I felt great. I didn’t consult my doctor because I knew what he would say. But I felt certain that I knew what I was doing. What could possibly go wrong?

Of course that led to a major relapse that could have cost me my life.

And that’s the rub when you are bipolar and feel good. There is a pattern. Depression lifts. You feel better. You feel more like yourself. And you don’t see the signs of hypomania and mania coming until it is too late.

So now I can’t enjoy this good feeling. I can’t enjoy this productivity. I can’t enjoy this newfound energy. I can’t enjoy them because I know that hypomania and mania may be lurking just around the corner.

This lack of enjoyment, this waiting for the other shoe to drop, sucks. It is not healthy. And it is completely unnecessary.

I have a great support system. My partner helps make sure that I am adherent to my treatment plan. I have a general practitioner who is familiar with my diagnosis and works with me for better overall health, which also improves my mental health. I have a psychiatrist who monitors my meds and their therapeutic benefits and side effects. I have a therapist with whom I have a great relationship. I really couldn’t ask for a better team to take care of me. They see what is going on with me better than I see it myself most of the time.

I still need to monitor issues like irritability and grandiosity, as they are good indicators of mood. But I also need live in the moment. I need to be able to enjoy the good times without worrying about the future and issues that may or may not even come to pass.

I should always be mindful of my mood and symptoms. But I also need to live my life. I can’t be worried about the mania or depression that may or may not be lurking around the corner. I can’t constantly dwell on the bad while I feel good. I need to enjoy the good. I need to enjoy the improved quality of life.

And most of all, I need to just live.

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