Things have been going really well for me lately, which is probably when I should’ve expected the other shoe to fall! Well, it seems like it has.
My husband Bill has bipolar disorder as well as me, and his last episode was in 2007, so we’ve really enjoyed a lot of years of stability.
Needless to say, we were not expecting to have an episode crop up at this time.
Fortunately, we are always vigilant and watching for signs and symptoms of a bipolar episode, no matter how long it’s been since we’ve had one.
So I guess I wasn’t really surprised when Bill said to me yesterday that he thought he might be getting a little episodic and that it might be time for him to start taking an extra pill for a few days (which is what he has worked out with his doctor if this should happen).
I got suspicious when he started losing sleep, when I got up during the night to go to the bathroom and found him still up at 3 a.m.
Then the next night it happened again, and I was more concerned.
When it happened a third night, I was about to say something to him, but that was when he said something to me about feeling episodic.
It’s a good thing when he can feel the episode coming on, when he can be that self-aware. I’m glad when I can do that, too. It helps you feel more in control.
Then you just do what you have worked out with your doctor to do. Like, in our case, if we can catch it early enough (like within the first three days), we take an extra pill of our bipolar medication for a few days. But I need to stress, this is what we have worked out with our doctor, and this has been worked out over TIME.
Previously, what has been needed was a trip to the hospital to get our medication regulated again, or in Bill’s case one time, to get medicated to force his body to sleep for the mania to subside.
Sometimes it will take hospitalization for you to come out of your episode.
Other times, especially when you can catch it early enough like we just did with Bill’s pre-episode, you can avoid the episode.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you MUST do what your doctor tells you to do.
And do NOT keep what’s happening to yourself. Tell your supporter, like Bill told me.
Chances are, they already suspect what’s going on. In our case, Bill was not only losing sleep, but he had also become short-tempered, irritable, and was snapping at me, behavior that was not normal for him.
I knew something was going on and, having been through this before with him, I knew it was the beginning of a manic episode.
I was so glad when he said what he did to me. Most especially because he shared what was going on with him and didn’t try to keep it from me. It showed that he trusted me, and I so appreciate that.
If you feel like you may be going into an episode, do something about it. You don’t have to suffer. And you definitely don’t have to suffer alone. That’s why you have a support system.
Tell your supporter what’s going on. Tell your doctor. Then do what your doctor tells you to do.
If you do, you can avoid going into a full-blown episode, and avoid having to go into the hospital.
Wishing you joy and stability,
Remember God loves you and so do I,