Mania Isn’t The Enemy

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Too often, those with mood disorders such as bipolar often see their mental illness as the enemy. That bipolar can’t do any favors for them. I know I had this mindset for the longest time until a few days ago. My therapist said, “Dani, bipolar isn’t always a bad thing, ya know.” She’s right.

I always viewed bipolar, specifically the manic stages as a negative time in my life because I acted poorly whether it be with gambling, sleeping around, spending money frivolously, etc. For the first time since I got my bipolar diagnosis 4 years ago, I have been using my time in my manic state very wisely. I think quarantine has helped with it since the bars and casinos are closed. But I am painting more, eating healthier / more consciously, I’m working out and going for walks, I am more organized than I ever have been, I cook and clean every day, and I haven’t missed a day of my meds in about two months.

For me, when I am in a depressive state, it’s easy to be in a relationship. When I am manic, I want to date around and sleep with who I want, when I want. I feared for my relationship with Diego this go around because we started talking again at the tail end of my depressive state. I knew I would have a week at best of stability of neither states, and then have things turn into a full blown mania frenzy. So the question he kept asking is, “How long will this last until your manic urges make you want to leave me?” I kept insisting that this time was different, but that’s what I would always say before I got the feeling that I was better on my own than with him, which obviously isn’t true. Like I said, with quarantine and social distancing, it makes being with him during my manic state a lot easier because I don’t really have anywhere else to go. But for the first time, I don’t want to run away, I want to work things out and even through all the arguments, I want to be with him. Especially when we are fighting, I love him more because I know we are arguing about what’s best for our future, not just his or mine.

Diego bought a house in April and has yet to move in because we are fixing it up. I want to move in with him once he does finally move in, but he wants to wait for businesses to open back up and for quarantine to end to see how I respond in my manic state. He said I will move in most likely by the end of this year, but that involves another go around with both manic and depressive states as a committed couple. I understand him doing this because he is trying to protect himself from me breaking his heart again.

Selfishly, I want to move in with him when he is done with repairs because I know in my heart that I will and want to make things work this time around. Also, it would be practical if I moved in with him because I have all the things he doesn’t have for the house. When we moved out of our rental house, l told him he could have everything; the couch, the washer and dryer, the bed and bedroom set. I just wanted the kitchen gadgets, the dining room table since it is an heirloom from my deceased Nana, my little smart TV, and my personal belongings like clothes. Coincidentally, he needs kitchen gadgets, a dining room table, and another TV, along with a bed and a couch. I told him all he needs to buy is the couch, because I have the rest! But he won’t take any of it just in case we don’t end up together.

He’s being smart on his part, but I am left frustrated because I have to take all of this kitchen stuff with me when I move in and we will have nowhere to put it. I guess I could sell it all but to be honest, it’s top of the line gadgets that I thrifted at a garage sale; all for $40.

I have been more creative with my bipolar now that I am using my time more productively. I haven’t blogged as much as I like because I have been focused on quality over quantity. I painted two paintings last week; one of the Earth from outer space and one of a dock leading up to some hills with very intricate trees. Diego replaced the lighting in his house from antique globe lights to modern LED fixtures. So now there are 8 globe lights with little floral designs on them and are frosted that I plan on painting with a light coat of sun catcher paint and putting little lights in them and lining the front porch with them. The goal is for them to look like a stained glass window, but globe light version.

Besides creative energy, I have been walking 5 days a week. I’ve been walking with my mom and sister around the local track for roughly 2 miles and then on my own, I walk around town for 2.5-3 miles. I can’t run yet due to my semi-recent foot surgery, but I can walk all day long. With walking, I have been eating consciously. The reason I say that rather than saying I am eating healthy or on a diet is that I don’t necessarily do either. I eat what I want, but log my food into MyFitnessPal, which is a calorie counter and tells you how much fat, protein, and carbs you consume in what you log. I attempt to eat things that are high in protein and low in carbs, but I have to have my potato chips during the day or else I will eat everything in sight until I get those chips. So instead of eating half the bag in one sitting, I count out a portion size of 15 chips and log that into the app and eat them with my lunch. This week I have lost 2 pounds!

You see? It’s not always a bad thing being manic, if you use your time wisely. Like Diego said, it’s easy now to be productive in quarantine because there’s nothing else to do, especially since I am not working at the moment. It will be a different ball game when I am manic when the bars, stores, and casinos are open; with all that temptation to spend a lot of money quickly and frivolously. I just hope that I have the motivation to continue working out, going on walks, eat right, and stay busy artistically. Because without these hobbies and things, I’m screwed.

Til Next Time,

Dani

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