Walking the Line

Living with Bipolar Living with bipolar is like walking on a tightrope, trying to maintain my balance, fearful of each step I take. KittOMalley.com

Living with bipolar is like walking on a tightrope, trying to maintain my balance, fearful of each step I take.

As a young adult, I didn’t understand what triggered my highs and lows. I saw depression as a problem, but I didn’t fully understand the role of workaholism, overachievement, and perfectionism, even as I crashed over and over.

After my training as a clinician, when I finally turned to medication for help, I understood and described myself as cyclothymic (experiencing highs and lows less extreme than bipolar) even as I was diagnosed and treated for dysthymia (persistent depression).

At almost 54, I’m still learning about myself. I used to consider myself extroverted. I threw parties, loved to be on stage and the center of attention. When I look back, though, I performed at parties. I did not really feel comfortable. I danced and laughed loudly, or I shrank back into a corner, wanting to leave.

Now social stimulation overwhelms me. Sounds bombard me.

This summer, first the long days challenged me with too much sunshine. My thoughts raced at bedtime. I found it hard to sleep, had to take benzodiazepine to turn off my thoughts and allow slumber. I started to ramp, to take on more and more tasks.

Recently, I signed a three-month private trainer contract at a Pilates studio. The training itself overstimulates me. Too much social interaction. The exercise has aggravated forgotten knee and hip injuries. I know that Pilates should help, but for now, I’m in pain.

Responding to the pain, I’ve scheduled appointments with an orthopedist and a physical therapist.

Picture of sun shining through evergreen forest of coastal redwoods (I believe).

Escape is what I yearn. I want so badly to be in a less stimulating place, quieter, slower, surrounded by trees on one side to shelter me and an open vista on the other so I can look at the horizon and feel free. It’s a place I’ve had in my imagination a long time. My husband and I have been talking, but it’s not yet time to retire. Our life is here for now.

32 thoughts on “Walking the Line

  1. stockdalewolfe July 26, 2017 / 7:36 pm

    I totally identify. Despite the overstimulation we have decided to retire to New York City. Mainly because I am too disabled to drive. But I have the same feelings you do. Thinking of you and sending love, Ellen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley July 27, 2017 / 7:52 pm

      Send my love right back to you. We are wondering where we will eventually retire. Needing transportation and services definitively weighs in on the decision. We also want to live close to where our son eventually settles down and has a family. He’s only 17 now, so… too early to say.

      Like

  2. Savannah July 24, 2017 / 4:40 pm

    Hi. I am diagnosed bipolar, and I wish you the best in your endeavors! I can relate to this post. I searched for “bipolar sleep” and came here – I just wrote about how I needed medication to sleep last night for the first time in a while.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley July 24, 2017 / 8:22 pm

      Usually when I have to reach for meds to sleep, it means that I’m hypomanic. I often can find a trigger, some stimulant, such as caffeine, sunshine, too much socializing… (we each have our own triggers, I suppose). When I’m stable, I don’t need sleep meds. Better to take them and nip upswing in the bud. Lack of sleep is dangerous, can lead to mood cycling. Wish you the best at getting your sleep cycle back on track.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Paladin July 22, 2017 / 8:46 am

    Hope you do not mind me providing an additional comment, Kitt. Just read about the Pilates “core” exercises and think I would prefer Yoga based on my age. Since you are now seeing an orthopedist and physical therapist for your injuries, hope the Pilates contract you signed had a pain and suffering clause. Think you should be entitled to some compensation. Please take care and wish you a speedy recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Paladin July 21, 2017 / 10:24 am

    👍 Absolutely glad I am not diagnosed as Bipolar, Kitt. Remember commenting on one of your posts last year about underestimating your modesty. Can see from this post I underestimated your perseverance as well. Think you are coping well.

    God Bless + Namaste !!!

    Liked by 1 person

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