Triggers and rapid cycling.

Dear Brain,

What a day. An absolute confirmation that I rapid cycle and a glimpse into what is perhaps one of my triggers. I should feel accomplished, but I just feel drained and ashamed and full of chocolate…

I woke up today in the same low slump that I am always in when the kids are off of school and I have no stead-fast routine to keep me moving, I should probably learn from past school holiday struggles and create a routine, set a time to be out of bed and structure some activities as a reason to move myself – of course, if I had the motivation for all of that there would be nothing wrong with me!  I struggled to get out of bed today and when I eventually did drag myself from my pit it was only to slump on the sofa and turn on my computer. I then checked my online bank account – expecting to see the same empty coffer as was there yesterday, but no – there was a nice wad of unexpected money in the bank account! I realise this would get anyone a little excited but for me it was the moment my low swung to a high, sky-high… and probably the first time I have recognised (in hindsight) the actual swing from one to another.

I rushed around getting the kids in order, getting myself in order – barking unreasonable commands and feeling frustrated at the amount of time everything was taking. Then we went out to spend my money. Some of the things were practical things, School shoes and shirts (desperately needed!) other things were frivolous and reckless – expensive haircut for my daughter, toys, food to binge on later… I spent everything, almost to the penny.

The tough thing to process is that I didn’t see it for what it was (a high mood/recklessness) until it was over, so what do I do to prevent a reoccurrence? More vigilance? Never spend anything ever again? Stop looking at my bank account? None of these solutions seem very realistic for the long-term.

I am still in the very early stages of therapy and diagnosis so I’m still learning about and discovering my triggers but it would seem to me that an unexpected source of income is one of the triggers that sends me into a high mood, providing me with the symptom, reckless spending. It seems rather ridiculous to call reckless spending a symptom of a high mood but I certainly didn’t have any form of obvious control over my spending today – there was no decision to go and spend the money, it was instantaneous – there was no need to make a decision because it was an knee-jerk reaction to getting money and surely that is enough to prove that it is a symptom of my disease and not that I am just bad with money or irresponsible.

One of the hardest parts of Bipolar disorder for me is the knowledge that tomorrow I may wake up a different personality, I have no control. Even this post, attempting (rather ineptly) to describe the move from one mood to another and analyse what is a potential breakthrough in relation to my triggers, may seem like utter drivel to tomorrow’s Cheryl. Today I may learn, watch, analyse and evaluate and yet tomorrow’s Cheryl will disprove, argue and debate leaving me standing still, forever dancing through what I do and do not understand about Bipolar disorder.





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