Some days its coffee then exercise, like today. Last week was mostly exercise then coffee. Ideally it’s the latter but it’s dark @ 5 30 am and too early to hit the streets for exercise; not too early for coffee :)… Then, it’s technically only possible to be up that early if I went to bed at or before 9 30 pm the night before- 8 – 10 hours of sleep needed every night, no less and no more. While on the subject of structure, persons with bipolar disorder are advised to take meds, have meals, go to bed and wake up, all @ the same times everyday as well as keep a non-erratic social life. All making it easier to track mood changes, take medication regularly and manage the impact of stressors on daily living.
Should I be even drinking coffee, knowing I have a mood disorder? The literature is vague so I continue to drink coffee and look forward to it very much…only a cup a day though. Taking medication at night usually leaves me with a hangover in the morning, the coffee helps to jump start the day.
Having bipolar disorder literally means, moment by moment management of time. Including emotions, thoughts, aspirations, purpose, medication, exercise, diet, social engagements, relationships, environment, responsibilities, academia and work. I mean millisecond-to-millisecond.
“Who doesn’t have to do that?” you might ask. No one really “has to” do it but for me, not doing it means exposing myself to the possibilities of my mood spiraling way up (a.k.a hypomania or mania). An irregular sleep-wake cycle for example, might be accompanied by particular stressors whether they be positive like my being offered a trip abroad (all expenses paid) or negative as in my doing poorly on a paper. The spiraling usually happens gradually at first and then in rapid uncontrollable fashion. This translates to: a depleted need for sleep and food, overly ambitious ideas, huge bursts of confidence and perhaps some psychosis depending on the severity (losing touch with reality).
Depression can follow mania or creep up on its own for sometimes no clear reason. That, is for another time.
Together they (mania & depression) serve to cascade blocks like water upon personal, professional and social relationships and eventual house arrest or admission to a psychiatric hospital . By God’s grace (and by extension) the overwhelming support of my parents and sister, other relatives, church family and friends, I have not (so far) had to be admitted to a hospital.