Bipolar Bytes – Take Your Medicine

This is the part of the song where we talk about how much bipolar bites…

I was just thinking of the VeggieTales, my favorite vegetables of God, when the Asparagus says “and now it’s time for silly songs with Larry, the part where Larry comes out and sings silly songs.”

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Off on a tangent, right out of the gate.

Anyways, this is a play on words – bytes are little bits of information and it sounds like bites, like sucks – see what I did there?  For more information you could try here  <—-for some of the older bits and bytes and pieces.  And a disclaimer;

The information below or after, herein, forthwith or wherever it is in relation to this paragraph,  is my understanding, and my best effort to provide simpler explanations of a complex disorder.    There is a lot of information out there and some of it contradicts itself  – how ironic, but typically you get the same basis of fact as to what this disorder is and how it affects people who have it.  I have struggled with the best way to share with you as one, I am not one to do research, I will if I have to, but its tedious and too constricting, something that takes the enjoyment  out of writing for me and gives me a headache.   Two, being a serious procrastinator, if I waited until all the research was solid, well we wouldn’t be here.  I am not a professional, not even an expert bipolar patient, more of a rebellious one I think .  I won’t put anything out to you that isn’t verifiable and while I am trying to educate, please seek the help of a professional if you are ill, or someone you love is or you suspect they are.  Hereafter the statement of covering my ass shall be simply referred to as te CYA / CMA and referred back to this nonsense that covers my ass.  I think   I will have to check with the legal department but I think saying – get a second opinion if you want to act on any information contained herein should do it right?  I suck at this kind of thing.  

Moving on.

Today I want to talk about the cycles and circles and stuff of bipolar disorder, being bipolar, having bipolar.  Pick your preferred terminology.

Specifically, the fact there are cycles and circles and stuff and the importance of continuing to manage when it feels like the need to is gone.

It’s a common trick of bipolar patients.  I feel better, I don’t need my meds or I miss the manic fun, I can handle it if I stop taking my meds.

WRONG

Bipolar is not cured, it is managed.  Period.  You feel better because you finally figured out the right cocktail of medications and coping mechanisms to achieve a stable and functioning state.

We have been taught, most of us from an early age, when we get sick and have to take medicine, we take it until we feel better.  Or in the case of antibiotics, we may feel better before they are finished but to finish a course which, compared to facing a lifetime taking pills everyday, seems short.

It seems logical if we have been prescribed medicine for mood stabilization and/or sleep and anxiety if those things are under control we can do without doesn’t it?

There is also the very real and often expressed feeling of medicine changing who we fundamentally are, of life being boring etc.

To someone used to experiencing extreme swings on either side of the mood spectrum, the ups and downs of a roller coaster, the unpredictability of life everyday, being in the middle can be monotonously boring. (That was redundant I know, it’s for emphasis.)

It sucks rocks. Then again, so do the extremes. Why would anyone want them back or go through it again willingly?

Why do women keep having babies after the first one even knowing how bad it might and probably will hurt?

Because they forget.  The further away from pain you get the more bearable your mind remembers it being.  The longer a period of stability gets, the further away from the craziness your mind remembers being.

My depression is controlled and I can deal with it by myself.

Manic sounds fun (forgetting you tried to fly and cleaned out your savings account last time you were manic) and I can manage it.

Or,

I am better, I have licked this bipolar thing.  It won’t come back, that won’t be me.

WRONG

If we look at Bipolar disorder from a physiological perspective, it is a chemical imbalance in the brain which affects moods.  The medications help keep the chemical balance in check.  Balance aides in achieving stability as well as the ability to function day to day in everyday life.  Mundane as it is, function and stability are truly preferable to the roller coaster that is the bipolar amusement park.

If you are prescribed medication and it works for you, stopping it is probably the worst thing you can do.  If it starts not to work as well for you, go to your doctor and tell them, so it can be changed.

If you stop your meds, you are getting onto the biggest scariest roller coaster ride in the park, on your way up to the peak of the hill and where you go from there is uncertain, but you will go.                                                       

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wheeeeeeeeee

You will fall, you will get manic and/or depressed, both eventually,  you will resort to old habits of self medicating and coping, you will screw up without even seeing it happen.

Then you start over.

Starting over gets old, especially when you were at a place you felt good about where you were.

Just like pills for high blood pressure, blood sugar or any other plethora of conditions one might take medicine every single day for no matter how good they feel, your medication can save your life.

white rabbit, go ask alice
one pill makes you larger, one pill makes you small

Take the time to find the right combination of medication.  Be aware if it’s effectiveness seems to change.  Keep an open dialogue with your Dr. about it.  Be honest about the side effects you can take and the ones you cant accept.  As much as I fought it and I hate to say it, medication done right, helps.

We need all the help we can get.

If you find yourself stopping your meds because you feel like it, that should be a red flag that maybe you aren’t doing ok.  You for sure aren’t going to be doing ok soon.  Real talk.

Take. Your. Medicine.

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