Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Little Help From My Friends

Every now and then you just have a really crap day. You know the kind that nothing seems to go right? I think that we've all been there. Yesterday was kind of one of those days.

I woke up in what I think was a mixed mood cycle, meaning I was somehow experiencing both a hypomanic and a depressed cycle at the same time. I had read about this but never fully understood how it was possible until yesterday morning. In addition, without going into much detail as I'm not trying to point fingers, this was followed up by an incident which left me feeling rather rejected/excluded/pushed aside by a group of people I generally consider to be friends. Let me also mention that I'm the only female among this group,  which I'm normally perfectly fine with, but in situations like this it doesn't help in the "feeling like an outsider" department.  Partly through my steller day, I accidentally took the wrong dose of meds. I took the dose that I normally take right before bed, which happens to be three times the strength of my mid-day dose. I really can't function once I've taken it given all the side effects and had to take a two hour nap to recover, and even afterwards still felt woozy.

Being the social (media) butterfly that I am, I griped about my woes on twitter and FB, complained probably too loudly to the people nearby that would listen, and then had the wherewithal to actually reach out to a couple of my closest girl friends. Thank goodness for that. They calmly told me that my group of friends was not intentionally ostracizing me - or at least they doubted this, they let me complain about my contradicting mood swings, and they helped me discuss some legitimate concerns I had about a few things in my life that had been boiling up and seemed to be finally spilling over. One of them took time out of her work breaks and lunch, and another spent her train ride discussing with me, while I'm sure both of them could have been relaxing or focusing on more positive parts of their day. I probably went back and forth with each of them for a good couple of hours when all was said and done. I also posted in my Mood Disorders Support System Group and got some helpful advice and support from fellow members.

I hate to be a drain on my friends. I have never, despite my condition, been an overly negative person - in fact, people always comment on the fact that I'm constantly smiling and how much energy I have (I'm often told I'm like the energizer bunny). Still, there are times that you need to just vent, complain, cry, and be somewhat unreasonable because it feels reasonable in the moment. Those times when you're not yourself, when everything has come crashing down, or so it seems, and you feel unable to stand on your own two legs.

It plain out sucks having a day like this, but as I spoke to my friends, it did serve to remind me of a couple of important lessons that are often easy to forget in all the hullabaloo of a bad episode or experience.

1. Sometimes I'm not my own best judge. In times when my condition acts up badly, I need to turn to my closest friends. They'll be supportive, but they'll also be honest. They'll tell me when I'm not seeing things accurately or when someone I'm worrying about really just isn't worth my worry. But in the end, they'll still support me, regardless if I understand their point or not.

2. I need to avoid rash decisions or actions. Things might look better or at least different when the immediate situation passes. I was ready to write off a group of my friends. I may need to re-examine them, but I'm glad I haven't walked away just yet. I still might eventually, but I didn't burn bridges in an emotional moment.

3. Sometimes I'm barking up the wrong tree. I'm looking at one thing to make me happy, when that's not the direction I should be looking. I had a great talk with a friend about why certain things seem so important to me, and the fact that maybe they shouldn't be. Perhaps those things aren't what I should be focusing on at all.

4. I'm not alone. Others, even if they don't suffer from the exact same conditions, have similar days. I'm so thankful for my Mood Disorders Support System group. They understand, they've been there, and while I'm sad that they've gone through these feelings, I'm so appreciative that they're willing to share and listen.

5. Everyone has off days.  No matter how much progress I make, I'm never going to be cured. I'm going to have a bad day here and there. The sky isn't falling, no matter how much it feels like it. Nobody's perfect, and if I expect myself to progress every single day without exception, I'm going to be disappointed.

I think I'm coming out of my fog, both physically and mentally. I don't enjoy mixed-cycle states at all, but they're apparently part of my condition. I'm sure others feel the same way about their symptoms. Sometimes, when it gets that bad, all you can do is hold on and wait for the storm to pass. Don't be afraid, though, to reach out for someone to hold on to during that storm. They're there, and they understand. A little help from your friends goes a long way. 

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