The Bounce: Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder

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Rapid Cycling Bipolar DisorderIt’s been a fucking awful week.

And it’s been a bloody brilliant week.

Yes the joys of the rapid cycling bipolar disorder merry-go-round are back to bite me in the arse this week.

Monday dawned like any other day, but by lunch I’d fallen into a pit of despair so deep I couldn’t climb out.

Mid afternoon found me soaring with the birds, unable to sit still, calm down, or stop giggling.

Two hours later I was in floods of uncontrollable tears, sitting in the car park at Waitrose stuffing my face with dohnuts.

Half an hour after that I had my head in the toilet puking my guts up.

By 10pm I was giddy again and roaring with laughter at the slightest thing on TV.

2am I was crying myself to sleep and praying the extra dose of anti-psychotics kicked in quickly and knocked me out.

They did. But not as much as I’d have liked.

They didn’t stop my dreams. I miss the days when they stopped my dreams. The peace was unequaled.

So Tuesday dawned on the heels of an uneasy nightmare and once again I cried…before going slightly mad and dancing in the rain while walking the dog in the park.

And so my week has continued.

I’ve endured anxiety, panic attacks, hyperventilation, headaches, and a variety of issues relating to my digestive system that I will not burden you with.

There have been bursts of super-productivity, and hours when I couldn’t concentrate for more than a minute or two. My memory short-term is utterly shot.

I’m no longer a girl.

I’m a bubble on the breeze.

I may float off into ether, never to return to earth, or land hard, bursting to pieces in the blink of an eye. I  might just stick somewhere.

Low, high, desolate or dizzy, wherever I land, that’s where I’m at, until a stronger breeze comes by and sends me spinning off again.

Round and round I go, when I’ll stop, nobody knows…

Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder Merry Go Round

It’s a while since I had to deal with it this bad, I’ve been stable for about 18 months, and while I still have dips and peaks, still have wobbly days, still struggle to do the everyday things that people so take for granted, I’ve been better. Not cured. But better than I remember being in almost two decades.

I knew it would be back, it was only a matter of time. I was prepared. Or at least as prepared as possible. I’ve been trying to write this post since Tuesday morning and really struggled. That, in itself, speaks volumes.

When I can’t write, somewhere a robot is screaming, “Danger, Danger, Will Robinson!”

The dream I had on Monday was bizarre. Not because it was about anything unusual, but becasue it was about someone I used to dream about regularly and haven’t dreamt of for a very long time.

My ex.

Not the one that burnt down the house. NOT TRUFFLE MAN. The other one. The first one.

Given the events of Monday I strongly suspected my subconscious was trying to tell me something. I’m not a Woo Woo kinda girl, I like rational, logical explanations for things, so you may think it odd that I put so much stock in dreams.

They’re just nonsense, right?

I’m not so sure. I think the subconscious is an extremely powerful force, far more powerful than the conscious mind. It knows things, it understands things in ways we’re unable to fully grasp.

It tries to tell us these things as best it can, but because the conscious and subconscious aren’t speaking the same language, the message gets jumbled and it seems like nonsense.

I really do believe that your head sorts things out while you sleep and tells you what the fuck’s going on. The problem most people have is that they don’t understand the language, and it comes out as gibberish!

I’ve recently been working with a friend of mine, Carly Brown, to better understand my dreams. She’s a gal of many hats, and one of those is as a dream interpretor. You can join her free group on Facebook if you want to see what it’s all about, but first let me tell you what she made of my dream.

It might surprise you.

To explain my dream briefly:

I was at college with a load of old friends I’ve not seen in years.

My ex (who in the dream was still my boyfriend) was away. He’d been gone a while and hadn’t called of texted and I was worried.

As with most of my exes, this guy cheated and I was extremely paranoid while we were together. My bipolar was in full swing, my bulimia was at its worst, and I had no idea I had either condition. I was rapid cycling and half out of my mind the whole time we were together.

Dreaming about him and my anxieties surrounding him isn’t unusual. What I found really weird about the dream was that none of my friends were comforting me, but I WAS being comforted – by HIS best friend.

A guy I absolutely detest.

Always hated this guy.

I was quite disturbed that in the dream he was being nice, hugging me, looking after me, and that when my boyfriend returned, and I should have felt relief that he was back, I instead suddenly felt uneasy again. I had been calm and comforted while his friend (who I hate) looked after me, and was immediately panicked and anxious when I was back in my boyfriend’s arms.

I woke up with these feelings lingering – the anxiety and panic associated with being with my boyfriend, all jumbled up with the insanely strong love I used to have for him, and confused by the comfort and relief I felt at being cared for by a guy I really, really, can’t stand.

I needed Carly!

Here’s what she had to say:

Hazel, I LOVE what your subconscious is unboxing in this dream! Dream symbols can have a lot of different meanings depending on the context, personal associations and waking life history.

Looking at the first major symbol, your ex-partner, here, he is a symbol for a recent event in your waking life stirring up similar behaviours and emotions within you. These emotions you have already identified as the paranoia and intense mood swings you felt this week.

Exes can also be a metaphor for the part of oneself which experiences those “light bulb” moments in terms of creative possibility, and I feel this is relevant for you right now.

Your next symbol is a minor one but still important- old friends from college. Here, the friends represent regressing back to freer times and acknowledging parts of yourself you had rejected, or perhaps felt you had lost in the depths of your struggles with your conditions both pre- and post-diagnoses. I feel like these aspects are probably feeling truly at ease and relaxed in your own and others’ company, perhaps how you felt with college friends. College is also symbolic of learning valuable lessons and, less obvious, developing professional relationships to better understand what you already know (oh, HI THERE! :D).

Next, the guy you never liked. Most people who feature in our dreams are usually symbolic of an aspect or trait within ourselves, and this character is no different. He is symbolic of “the enemy within yourself”, namely, your diagnoses. An enemy in a dream can indicate a part of the self which, during adversity, naturally shines a light on your strengths and wisdom gained within that struggle so that you are more easily able to accept the adversity itself.

If we combine this with the next symbol, hugging, your dream is telling you that you can safely let your guard down and be more open emotionally when facing your inner demons relating to your diagnoses and that it is a truly powerful part of you which you can get closer to accepting by literally embracing it. This is a really lovely display of how your subconscious is dealing with your inner self-care and is giving gentle messages on how you can meet in the middle for waking life too. It asserts: don’t reject the “enemy of relapse”, but embrace it as a catalyst for further improvement and also an excellent indicator of just how far you’ve come already.

It is OK to love ALL aspects of yourself, EVEN the ones you hated for the longest time. Your conditions are a part of YOU, NOT a part of him. You don’t have to fight them for that reason anymore. You can embrace them and be gentle with them for they have given you a wisdom and strength far beyond your years.

I’m still all over the place today, though I have levelled out enough to finally get this written. I have a feeling there’s a lot more to Carly’s interpretation than I’ve fully considered yet, and I’m going to have to come back to it later.

For now though, I just wanted to leave you with these thoughts while they are fresh.

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