Content Warning: This piece contains references to mental health, depression, and mania, which may be triggering to some.
Winters have never been easy for me. Fall is lovely, but the imminent doom of winter approaching always lurks in the shadows. I will never understand those who love this cold, cold season because to me, it marks a mood shift into sorrow and anguish.
Each year, I have approached the season stronger than the year before. I see more clearly and embrace stability in way that I have never done. But winter will never be easy. There’s no wonder why I am more exhausted than usual these days.
I can look at my current status and see on paper I should be happier. I have such a big future in the works. But my thoughts are fogged with depression and I can only look at the good things like I am a spectator. I am a witness to someone else’s fortune, I can check them off a list. Oh, yes, they should be exuberant and joyous. Life is happening to me, but it is not mine. I do not get the pleasure of the experience, I am just a bystander.
My current medication changes aren’t helping either. I wish I could return to my normal dose of my anti-psychotic, maybe it would mean this winter air would effect me less. But instead I review my psychiatrist’s referrals to movement disorder specialists. I hear the elevator music in my head. Oh, wait, that’s another neurology office putting me on hold.
Regardless of my disconnection, I must wake up, I must go to work, I must push on. I will continue to pretend I am a part of this world in hope that maybe I will become a part. There is not much anyone could say to console me. I just have to exist, until the mood shifts again.
Although that also feels daunting, because my brain could fluctuate into mania, which would not be ideal either. Maybe existing in a haze on the outside of your own life is easier than sprinting through your brain and feeling like every action and every thought will never be fast enough. I’ve experienced both states and traveled up and down several times since this season’s weather and medication change.
But I write with the purpose of noting that this may be the first winter that I can describe my brain changes in words. And that trumps all else.
This year I have been able to allow myself to sift through the moods and identify what is happening. I can label the fog as depression without falling into a bed ridden coma of tears. I must redirect myself to focusing on staying present. And as soon as my thoughts begin to pick up speed, I can recognize I am manic without allowing a hurricane of irrationality to grasp my life. I become aware that I must rein myself in, process thoroughly before acting, and chose to sit with the tension. And this is all with uncertainty in medications and another unpleasant diagnosis. For that I am proud. Exhausted, but proud.
Bipolar disorder has chained up so much of my life. Winter moods are just handcuffs on my wrists. This motor dysfunction is just shackles on my ankles.
I am strong. I am persistent. I am capable. I am worthy. I will break free.
If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out Feeling Manic