Friday, October 21, 2016

Dear Future Manic Self

This is Part 5 in a 5-Part Series: 
"When the World is Too Bright: An Intensive View of Mania from On the Ground"

(Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 Here)

Dear Future Manic Krystal,

Mania and you go together like peanut butter and jelly. After five manias in nine years, it seems pretty inevitable. And this is okay. You have learned how to cope and manage with the episodes. You have a system in place. You have the support, encouragement, and help of loved ones. You are not alone, Darling.

So don’t fear future manic episodes. Yes, an episode can be a bit scary because you don’t know how high you’ll get or how destructive it will be. But, Baby, you’ve lived through this before. Let me remind you. Five. Times. 2007. 2013. 2014. 2015. 2016. If you’ve noticed, the last four years have been particularly challenging for you with multiple manias and hospitalizations. But guess what? This mania, you managed without the hospital. This is the first time you have ever accomplished this. This, Baby, is progress. You are learning and growing and maturing in how you handle and manage the mania.

Just relish this for a moment: you are manic but you are not in the hospital. That is huge! Even your therapist recognized it in your last session. You have managed by coordinating care with your psychiatrist, your therapist, and IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program). You have recognized, yet again, how important your psychotropic drugs are to your mental and mood stability. Some people can manage without medicine. You are not one of those people. And that’s okay! Really. It is. Everyone is an individual so why wouldn’t their needs be individualized, too?

I think you charged about $5,000. But even that is progress. Let’s celebrate every milestone. Considering that in the past you have charged upwards of $10,000 at a time, $5,000 isn’t too bad. Keep it in perspective. Do not beat yourself up. Despite the high balances, your credit score is over 740. Just recognize that spending sprees come with the territory. In the future though, please give your credit cards to your accountability partner.

Despite the spending, the mania is not an all-bad experience. During your fourth mania (2015), you incorporated two businesses. During this, your fifth mania (2016), you managed to make one of the businesses into something beautiful. You turned the life coaching company you incorporated into a wellness coaching company. While manic, you wrote three curricula for the company, planned a strategic and targeted audience to market to, met with a small business mentor, solicited feedback from your friends and social media contacts via a Google Form survey, and worked with an incredible graphic designer to create a company-specific logo and forthcoming website. In short, you got a lot done. And it’s great work. The creativity and productivity worked in your favor. Yeah, you barely slept and you literally worked around the clock but you created something permanent and important.

Lastly, the mania is not a curse. I know you used to feel like your diagnosis was a source of suffering. But, Darling, do not take such a negative view of the mania. You do not suffer from bipolar disorder; you live with bipolar disorder. You happen to get manic more than you get depressed. Thus, your default mood is slightly more elevated than the average person. That is okay. You are you. Relish in your uniqueness. Bipolar, and mania in particular, have granted you some amazing gifts. Appreciate them. Gifts such as being able to tell your story through blogging, connecting with an international readership, meeting incredible women of color in your social media support group, starting a memoir, and choosing to re-learn to speak Spanish.

Be proactive; choose how you see the cup. Is it half full or half empty? Your outlook on life actually shapes your experiences of life. To live with bipolar disorder is not the worst thing. Always remember that, Darling.

Love,

Your current hypomanic/manic self (2016)

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