Relapse. It’s a word and state of mind those with bipolar disorder dread. Sometimes you’re in the throes of it before you even realize what’s going on. Sometimes you just feel off and can’t quite put your finger on it.
I know at times on this blog it seems like it’s easy to do what I do. And really it’s pretty fucking hard. Things as a few posts back show me professionally at a tipping point with this project. Which is nice. But here it is. Me being completely honest. No that my insurance is worked out, I called my therapist and called an audible. I have not seen a therapist for any extended amount of time for over two years.
But things are changing fast in my life and I have been irritable, sleep schedule all whacked out, and not writing much or regularly. And part of my routine was writing on this blog. I found myself sliding towards, yes relapse.
Relapse doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t make you a failure. It simply means you’re human and that your disease is rattling the cage and demanding you pay attention to it.
So today after weeks of feeling happy and celebratory in some respects but irritable and all out of sorts in others I called my therapist and made an appointment. We’ll be making a treatment plan. While I know I shouldn’t feel like a failure I guess in some ways I do.
I suppose I should be telling you I’m not afraid and relapse is always far from my mind. But that’s just not the case. All it really does though is tell you that I’m human and that all of these great things that I’m experiencing come with their own brand of stress.
It’s okay to check in with your doctors and therapists about where you are along the healing process.
Because there isn’t one huge mountain to climb. Sure in the beginning there are peaks and valleys but as time goes by there are rolling hills less like the wild T3 rollercoaster at an amusement park and more like the kiddie coaster in Hanna Barbera Land.
Relapse. Something not to be obsessed over. But to be planned for. In therapy you learn to watch for your triggers. Watch for the road signs that mean you might be slipping and sliding on that slippery slope.
Perhaps if I’m open about needing a tune-up of sorts then someone out there might be made aware of their own need for a tune-up. A diagnostic of sorts. Or maybe you’re at the bottom of the barrel. You’re rock bottom and you’re in desperate need of a helping hand.
And say you have relapsed after a period of success. Say you have to go to a hospital. There is no shame in that either.
I understand some have had nightmarish experiences with it. Honestly none of my doctors created that sense of fear surrounding it. I have had mostly good experiences with my psychiatrists and nurses. And my experiences with my therapists have been all very good.
So now, as perhaps the best thing in the world is about to happen to me, I am making sure that this ‘out of sorts not feeling like me feeling’ doesn’t drag me into the dark claws of depression or the unhinged madness that can be mania.
Relapse. Not the end of the world. Part of the cycle and something to be faced and dealt with head on. Not ignored and covered with shame.