Rocketing Mania vs Bone-Crushing Depression: Bipolar Moods
Life doesn't halt simply because a mental illness exists, as much as I might wish the world would occasionally stop and let me off. How can you maximize the highs and offset the lows of bipolar disorder?
Those living with bipolar disorder know these ends of the spectrum well. The high comes and projects, ideas and life seem to come together. When I am on a high (Bipolar Mania and the Impact of Manic Symptoms), I can bang out blog posts in 20 minutes or less, do a video in one take, finish a piece of art in a couple of hours or process a 250+ series of photos from a shoot in 2 hours. Joyous and glorious!
Then comes the crash: body aches, low grade fever, bone-crushing exhaustion and disinterest in anything but sleep and relaxation - things that don't require energy - followed closely by guilt. Guilt for this disorder. Guilt for not having the energy or motivation to do the things that beg for attention - a workout, cooking, cleaning, homework, outings with friends. . .The list goes on and on. (Many Moods of Bipolar Disorder.)
Kay Redfield Jamison describes bipolar highs and lows this way in An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness:
There is a particular kind of pain, elation, loneliness, and terror involved in this kind of madness. When you're high it's tremendous. The ideas and feelings are fast and frequent like shooting stars.... Shyness goes, the right words and gestures are suddenly there, the power to captivate others a felt certainty.... Sensuality is pervasive and the desire to seduce and be seduced irresistible. Feelings of ease, intensity, power, well-being, financial omnipotence, and euphoria pervade one's marrow.
But, somewhere, this changes. The fast ideas are far too fast, and there are far too many; overwhelming confusion replaces clarity. Memory goes. Humor and absorption on friends' faces are replaced by fear and concern. Everything previously moving with the grain is now against-- you are irritable, angry, frightened, uncontrollable, and enmeshed totally in the blackest caves of the mind. It will never end, for madness carves its own reality.
Managing Bipolar Moods: Maximize the Highs and Offset the Lows
How does one navigate the minefield that is bipolar disorder to maximize the highs and offset the lows? Here are a few things I have found helpful:
- Schedule tasks for the time of day that you are most alert. The low times will lack energy, but most of us are aware of when we are the most alert. Schedule your MUST-DOs during this period.
- Make the most of your highs to prep for the lows. Make some crockpot meals and freeze the leftovers so you can build up some freezer meals that only have to be reheated when your energy levels are low.
- Enlist the help of others. Allow others to assist with meal prep, straightening up, etc. You don't have to do it all. Break up large tasks into 10 minute intervals: dust for 10 minutes, vacuum for 10 minutes, put things away in a room for 10 minutes and eventually it will all come together.
- Say NO. Whether you are on a high or a low, over-extending yourself can lead to a lack of self-care and eventual exhaustion.
Work within your limitations. The swings can be frustrating but they can be accommodated for with a little planning and self-care. What do you do to plan for the lows? Do you wish for a high?
Kipp, P. (2013, November 29). Rocketing Mania vs Bone-Crushing Depression: Bipolar Moods, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, June 25 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2013/11/wishing-for-a-high-bipolar-disorder-and-energy-levels
Author: Paulissa Kipp
As for relationships who would take on someone with bipolar...?
When on a high ( become an "extrovert " )contact friends;
When on a low ( " become introverted") don't wish to meet anyone sometimes that includes family to...
Same applies to " creativity" on a high you " fire up " poetry , songs,, not a problem also writing in general
BP is both a curse and a blessing.
I'm going through a magor low no energy no motivation.... I look after my mum so that's another layer on top....house work is falling behind but we all eat well and that includes the dog who just adjusts to my mood.
When I get on high again I know I will get very restless and won't want to stay home to catch up on untidy house but will want to " embrace" the world " at full throttle "...
I'm hoping to go to Japan the end of this and it concerns me if I will be able ( my mum 86 will be in respite; the dog with my brother ...)
When I'm on a high feel " invincible" when I'm on a low "nothing "seems possible...( sometimes the lows can be " crushing"
It makes it difficult to plan your future as you can't be sure what state of mind you will be in then
Any suggestions welcome Allan
Hi. I know this is an old post but I was looking around for tips and help with the energy lows of bipolar and found this useful. I only got my diagnosis this year and am recovering from a depressive episode on the back of a manic episode. I'm finding it really hard as it's been months now and I still just have no motivation. It's so painful as I've always been a very creative over-achiever, but right now it's hard to even open a book or pick up a pen to start writing. Even nice things don't appeal right now. I'm not sure if it's normal or how long this will last, but it at least helps to know there are others out there. I'm mainly worried as I have just started a high-pressured new job and need to get motivated quick! Thanks for the tips X
Have you thought of trying some akternatuve treatments ..eg acuipuncture...strong vutamin B compkex..start taking mire orotein on yoyr diet. Even a protein shake in am ..try some swimming shirt spells gradually increase as energy levels increase ..
I have read the book also. thought it was a very good book. I find that sometimes I have to make myself do things, but like you say it isn't an easy task. I have to talk small steps sometimes, but when I am on a high I can do almost anything I want to do. Sometimes I have gone without sleep for days, and other times all I want to do is sleep. I try to accept my limitations when needed. A lot of times I feel as if I am alone in this world, but I try to realize that that is just coming from my mind and not really from myself. I am trying my best help myself.I do have a real good treatment team and my parents and family now understand where I am coming from. My parents joined a family-to family group and they found out that they are not alone. They made some friends in this group. Now they understand me better. They are now able to talk about more to certain people and family members. I have been able to set some goals for myself with the encouragement of my therapist. He believes in me and believes I can do almost anything I want If I just believe in myself. All of his encouragements have really helped me but sometimes things were still hard for me to do. I try not to let my bipolar disorder run my life now that I have learned some of the basic skills to help myself. I also have a good psychiatrist who talks to me as if we are good friends. Most of the time i really believe that we are considered good friends. I am lucky to have such a good treatment team and also good family and friends. I thank them for all of my help and understand me when I am not doing real well.
Have read the book An Unquiet Mind years ago...
Very good read.
Good tips for making the most out of the better times of the day.
Basically,everyday I try & do a short ( small steps) list of what are the most important things to be done..
Now,I ,having severe sleeping issues go to bed same time wake same time wk.ends too.
Am a day person,more mornings,by about 4:00 particularly here right now in Canada it's dark... Kinda tricking me into wanting to go to bed.
Naturally I don't!
I don't smoke or drink any coffee,limit sugar am mostly vegan.
If I'm severely depressed & need groceries ( rarely,usually do myself daytime) ask my sister to help..
You do have to learn limitations,and part of that is saying no.
That was hard.
Hard to say no,not just people,but to things that were stimulating my brain in the evening thus effecting sleep.
Just like any other illness...u cannot do it alone,so don't even attempt to.
But that's okay,it's stronger ( but frustrating) to have to learn thru practice what you can & cannot handle.
Personally,I don't think anyone can tell you,they can give good tips,but it's your health .
Everyone experiences this illness differently,there's no right or wrong ways to cope.
Also find when your older vs younger is quite different too,as you've had the extra yrs of discovering & learning,I think it easier to accept limitations & that when you are older.
You learn something's simply aren't worth the price of good health & stability.
I have to be extra mindful of this now the Christmas holidays are vastly approaching.