Without reviewing my mood charts too closely, I can safely say that I’ve had at least 2 1/2 months of balance a.k.a wellness.
Now that’s something to celebrate!!!
It’s probably been longer but “big D” (mildly depressive episodes) pop’s it’s ugly head up here and there. Thank God that I have only experienced major depression on a few occasions since having BD (bipolar disorder). Mania? Galore.
Prior to this time?
Where do I start?
It’s difficult to compare seasons in life around wellness because stressors can surround positive (a wedding) and negative (dangerous work environment) events. Stress can also surface from different spheres of life. You can be stressed about things you aren’t immediately conscious about: being employed/ self-employed or not; studying for a degree or not; maintaining marriage, singleness or recovering from a divorce; nurturing/ providing for family, involvement in community issues and so on.
Take for example, this past Tuesday evening: I was in chill-mode when I received the following whatsapp message:
Just realize you’re not in class. You ok? it read
Whaaaaaaat??!!!, Of course I’m OK!, I thought.
Oh my goodness!!! was my reply,
and then, Thanks so much for checking on me.
On Tuesday evenings I have a class from 6 – 9pm. I am not the type to miss classes at any time at all…it’s just not a part of my parlance. I am always present- in body at least. Well last Tuesday, both in body and otherwise, I was absent from class. Thank God for colleagues who care about me and parents that live very close to campus- I was there in 20 minutes. I won’t share how late I was (in case my father reads this).
Lesson learned? even when you think you’re well and have everything under control…check again! Also, make sure that you surround yourself with people that care a whole lot about you.
Wellness comes and it goes but actively considering stressors (whether positive or negative and at many levels) helps to determine how health might be optimized even in the “worst” of circumstances. Our lives depend on it. This is something I have had to learn to do. Monitor and check, check, check…
Earlier this year (semester 2, academic year 1), I was bewildered in the face of not being able to concentrate during classes, hand in assignments on time or even be mentally & emotionally present when I actually made it to school. This following what I thought had been a semi-challenging fall semester; little did I know of what lay ahead. In case you didn’t know, I am pursuing a 2-year, full-time, Masters of Science degree in Applied Psychology- you can ask me for details another time 🙂 All you need to know? I started the programme in September 2013.
[Backtrack with me: Semester 1 (academic year 1) ended with me learning that if I failed a course, I wouldn’t be immediately expelled from the programme. By the way, I expended a lot of mental energy trying to come to terms with that possibility. I learned I could re-sit exams (up to two courses over the two years) at a later date. Whew! Guess what? I didn’t fail any courses and moved on to semester 2 pretty smoothly. Thank God for a good pDoc, supportive friends and family and patient programme faculty members.
Come forward to semester 2; I get 3/4 of the way and decide to surrender (by way of a retroactive medical leave of absence) to being, too ill to continue. I find myself at home, reeling (naturally) from having to make that decision yet confident that I had done the right thing.
In May, around the time that my fellow cohort members were handing in final papers and sitting exams, I was having a manic episode. Good thing I withdrew before huh?
I am convinced that God’s hand is in everything, nothing happens outside of His control.
The bible, in Colossians (1:16), says:
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
The period of mania lasted about 2 weeks (inclusive of recovery). It was one of the more severe ones I’ve had in a long time…