On the topic of pregnancy and bipolar disorder, I have said before, I would choose not to have children because of bipolar disorder. I’m not saying this is what every woman with bipolar disorder would choose, I’m saying that with my particular brand of bipolar, with my particular situation, with my inability to live off of medications, I would choose not to get pregnant because of bipolar (Medical Research on Bipolar Disorder and Pregnancy). I believe that, ultimately, it would be unfair to bring a life into my mess. It would be selfish. It would be me “wanting” a child above me considering the welfare of the child. And that’s not something I would ever do.
And while I know the choice is mine entirely, it doesn’t feel that way to me at all. While I know I could get pregnant (or, at least, I assume so), and it’s me that’s choosing not to get pregnant because of bipolar, I feel like my back is against the wall on this thing and that not having children is the only thing I can do. I feel like the bipolar has taken away my choice. All the other women out there get to decide if children are right for them based on, mostly, lifestyle choices (although, of course, some other women carry genetic risks as well) and I don’t get to decide because bipolar has forced my hand. Bipolar has taken away my choice around bipolar and pregnancy.
As people who read this bipolar blog know, I’m on medication, lots of it, actually. Nevertheless, many people (philosophically, even me) wish to be medication-free. I’m the first one to say this usually isn’t possible; however, today I’m talking with CEO and Medical Director Dr. Kim Dennis from Timberline Knolls (a sponsor) about bipolar disorder without medication.
Bipolar disorder feels like a curse. It feels like somewhere, somehow, I’ve ticked off an old, horror-movie, crone and she’s cursed me to 1000 years of suffering. 1000 years of grating, clawing, slicing, pounding agony.
Any why do people get cursed? People get cursed because they did something wrong. I must have done something wrong. I must have done something unspeakably wrong. And I hate myself for it.
The way I see it, bipolar disorder presents a problem with motivation (you know, among all the other bipolar problems). Many people in acute bipolar moods suffer from too much, unrestrained motivation or no motivation at all. Either way you slice it, it’s a bitch.
I am not happy. People who know me well, know this about me. Sure, I act happy, because what choice do I have considering societal norms, but happy I am not.
So the question is, can a person with bipolar disorder by happy?
I’ve written about why you should keep fighting the pain of depression and bipolar disorder before. This is one of my most referred to articles, actually, as I think it makes a solid anti-suicide argument and is something to remember when you’re overwhelmed with the pain of depression and mental illness.
But a commenter said something I think many people would say about fighting bipolar disorder:
. . . but I’m too tired to fight bipolar disorder. . .
Yeah. I understand. I’ve felt too tired for years.
I’m not sure how your average person deals with stress. Bingeing? Talking? Ranting? Raging? Running? I just don’t know. As far as I can see, people do all those things when they’re stressed.
But for a person with bipolar disorder, stress can lead to hypomania. And one has to deal with the stress and deal with the hypomania combined – which is kind of stressful in and of itself.
Tomorrow I’m being filmed for a documentary by Andy Fiore of Fiore Films. It is for a documentary about people who have learned to successfully live with bipolar disorder. As many of us do, I successfully live with bipolar disorder type 2 even if it’s a rocky path much of the time. And one might argue, I have turned my bipolar disorder into a positive by becoming a mental health writer and helping create a positive path for others living with bipolar disorder.
OK. Fine. But I kind of can’t breathe.
But I admit, I’m nervous. Stressed. I’m stressed about appearing on camera. Even though I do a video spot for HealthyPlace once a month, I still don’t feel particularly comfortable looking into the black abyss of a camera lens.
What do I wear? What do I say? What do I not say? How do I not sound like a shmuck? I just don’t know these things. These are unanswered questions for me.
And they sure the heck are eating away at the back of my brain. And maybe the middle of my brain. And maybe the front. So sayeth the fragments of brain I can scrape together for a consensus anyway. Many other fragments are off doing random bits of flittery that keep distracting me from writing.
My brain is taking the stress, that would make an average person feel, well, stressed, and turning it into hypomania. A fast-thinking, fragmented-moving, cluttered, shaky world view.
Bipolar Hypomania is Useful?
And all this hypomania is kind of useful in that it’s helping me get a lot done before I’m off to do the filming (it’s going to eat a whole day). I appreciate that. But hypomania also seems to turn the stress volume up to 11, makes sleeping impossible and makes following through on a task extremely challenging. It’s like pumping 110 volts into a 100 volt socket. It’s powerful but one could argue the usefulness of lighting your wiring on fire.
Using and Not Abusing Hypomania
Hypomania then, is pretty dangerous. It’s a sharp knife, good for slicing carrots but deadly on the fingers. So I try to use it for what it’s good for – producing energy and getting things done – and yet try not to let it get out of control. I won’t drink coffee or eat a tonne of sugar and I’ll force sleep on myself through whatever means necessary tonight. I won’t encourage the hypomania, I’ll try to work with it accepting that I’m not going to be able to make it go away completely.
Hypomania Passes, and Not Usually in a Friendly Way
And if there’s one thing I think it’s quintessential to remember it’s that the higher you fly in hypomania the farther there is to fall when you’re done. A hypomanic Wednesday, due to excessive stressors will probably lead to one heck of a Thursday coming back from an impact crater.
So, wish me luck, deep breaths and good hair. I’ll let you know how it goes.