It has been an eventful decade for me: The Bi-Polar decade..
Am continuing to elaborate on my previous Blogpost: At the crossroads of life because a number of readers had shown deep interest in knowing more about Bi-Polar.
I need to clarify here that this is NOT an attempt to attract sympathy..Just felt that I have to share my experience, especially my way of dealing with it.
Its been a decade since it has been diagnosed: typically, the condition is present for years in the afflicted person before the dreaded Diagnosis.
For example, in my case, my family Physician had mistaken it for a bout of Depression triggered by a certain event rather than a more serious underlying condition.
His line of treatment (he prescribed me Uppers, not that I blame him) which in fact triggered my first REALLY high phase.
The climb from the pit was tortuous. The total lack of self confidence, the despondency, anxiety, difficulty to think clearly,lack of drive, physical and mental tiredness, the side-effects of the Potent drugs:
Dark days..for years together.
What's killing about Bi-polar is the uncertainty: if for a couple of months I felt radiant, back to my best, that joy would be short-lived. The symptoms, intensity and Moods vary across Individuals. I my case I have been in a Low phase (Depressed) overall. The Highs have been few, tempered by the Mood Stabilisers.
I have had the benefit of being under the treatment of a fantastic Psychiatrist, who is as good as they come. His patience, Professionalism and Hawk eyed vigilance have spotted out seemingly harmless Mood-Swings. Medically, the hurdle has been my body's intolerance to the most proven Mood-Stabilisers: Lithium and Valproate caused severe side effects. The second line of Medication has been prescribed in combination, which causes Sleep disturbances.
Initially, for quite a few weeks after every change in therapy, I slept for 4 to 5 hours during daytime each day,in addition to my regular Night's sleep.
Obviously, efficiency and motivation went for a toss at such times. That's when the maximum effort is required to come out from the morass. As my Doc himself says, Medication can only keep the condition under control. At the end of the day its the effort put in and Self-Discipline of the Patient that counts.
For example, I have read a lot of self-help books, attended Seminars to untwist myself.
Recommend a few:
Dr.David Burns' FEELING GOOD ( a Bible for Depressives),
this Book is one of the pioneers in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - a method that analyses thinking patterns and correcting them. Invaluable help!
THE SECRET: The Video, the Book made me realise the circumstances I was in were a creation of my very own thought processes, that I could turn it all around the moment I chose to.
THE MIRACLE MAN: is just a Chapter in The Secret narrating Maurice Goodman's unbelievable recovery from near death due to his Mental strength and Positive Visualisation abilities ( I said to myself: If he can, I CAN too!)
(Must mention here that both the Secret and a Docu-film on Maurice Goodman were given to me by a dear friend, Mentor and Colleague:
Jigish Bhat. He himself has been a source of strength and encouragement during the blackest days..)
The Bhagvad Gita:
'In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmological philosophy of the Bhagvad Gita, in comparision with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial'-
Henry David Thoreau
The Gita not only gave me a spiritual grounding, I found the answer to my relationship with God and my life purpose.
People talk loosely about Spirituality:
'I'm a Spiritual person': without a deep understanding of your inner-self, the universe and God as well as the inter relation between these, it's a hollow statement.
The self discipline part involves many aspects:
-Trust in your Doctor, sticking to Medicinal regimen, no matter how bothersome it is.
-Being Physically active and fit (direct link: Exercise releases Serontonin which in turn alleviates Depression)
-Meditation: The calming effect of Meditation is difficult to describe to someone who has not experienced it: Sheer Bliss!
-Yoga- has certainly helped me
-Interpersonal Relationships, Family Bonding play a crucial role, too.
I have the good fortune having a Fantastic family that has stood by me through thick and thin (Mind you, I've had to make a lot of adjustments personally, too).
Above all an individual's Attitude to the Illness, the debility and resultant Emotional havoc it wreaks is a Key factor in the recovery process:
I realised that the uncertainty regarding my future state of mind was doing me as much damage as the illness itself!
The bigger picture gradually begin to become clearer:
If I had withstood and overcome the horrors of the darkest days and come out shining each time in the past, what was I afraid about?
FEAR IS THE KEY:
Unlock the door to positivity, hope and faith.
Then, throw the Key away..