Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, things fall apart. In the case of this holiday season, it was one of those times.
There are a number of things that I work on in my daily life. I keep a constant eye on getting enough sleep, eating regularly, taking care of myself, staying healthy, staying on top of my meds among other things. It is all an effort to maintain myself. If I do not follow through on all of these things, then I naturally fall out of sync.
However, this break was a time when the big things went wrong.
There are a few things that I really dread. One of those things is getting sick. I hate getting sick. It is not the runny nose, the fever, or the upset stomach that gets to me, it is that stops me from being me. When normal people get sick, the sickness, the fever, the aches and pains, the fatigue, they are the problem. With me, they are the just extra annoyances of the real threat.
The real threat is that my meds don’t work as well. No matter how hard I try, without the aid of the pills I take every day, I am quite bipolar. My head began to shift from manic to depressive. I began to struggle to get anything done. I fell out of sync.
And this is when you want a magic cure for bipolar. This is when you want one thing to fix everything. That thing, though, does not exist.
Instead of something to make everything right, there are the little things. There is the eating regularly. There is the sleeping enough. There is the taking care of myself. There is understanding that I am in a triggered state, and that is ok right now. There is taking my meds. There is surrounding myself with my network. There are all of these little things.
One of the hardest things to remember in the case of people with bipolar disorder is that there is no magic thing, but there is the cumulative effect of a number of small things. The magic solution we want is not one pill or one action, but it is time and consistency doing a number of small things. Eating, sleeping, taking care of myself, taking my meds, understanding my worth, understanding my state, allowing myself the grace to be where I am, allowing myself the hope not to stay this way, these are in a sense the magic cure when something like sickness sets in.
When my world comes crashing apart, when I can feel the bits of my soul begin to run away, that is when I eat a sandwich, and take a nap.
The truth is that there is nothing I can do to make myself right in a timely manner when I am not stable. The truth is that nothing is going to fix it right now. However, by doing all of the little things, we can see a bipolar episode for what it is, a temporary obstacle. As long as I am willing to do the little things, it is going to be fine. I may not be back to normal today, or even tomorrow, but in a week or two, I will be back to my usual self, still doing the same things.
We all want that magic thing because we want to be 100% all of the time. We are not going to be. However, by doing the little things, we can find that over time we can be better than we ever thought, and we can find that when obstacles come, we can always outlast them, and live to see a brighter day.