Sleepless nights typically lead to bigger days. The more awake I am the more alert my brain is. The more alert my brain is the buzzier my brain is. The buzzier my brain gets the more possibility it is to slip into a manic episode.
At the last psych appointment, the doctor and I decided to dose down my meds. My sleep was off a bit but not by much. I wanted to decrease my meds. I had been doing well. I had accidently been off my meds about 10 days or a little less. I hadn’t had any incidents. I thought it would be nice if I didn’t need the meds to dose down.
It’s good to adjust your meds and not to overmedicate. The question is always, when do you do this?
For me, I can typically tell when my brain is settled down and at zero because I feel overmedicated. I didn’t necessarily feel that when I decided to dose down. I just, for some reason, really wanted to decrease the amount of meds I was taking. I am seriously concerned about my body and what long term effect these pills are doing to it. I have no choice but to stay on the meds to keep myself healthy but the side effects down the road could be bad.
For the past week, I have fought myself to stay asleep. I thought it was just a small trick of the mind. I was too excited for the day. Talking late into the night with new people. Watching a new TV show.
None of those things typically effect me. But I was waking up a midnight, one, two and three in the morning. Several times last week I had very few hours of sleep. I considered my rescue meds.
I told myself I needed to see a pattern. For three, maybe four days, I had the early morning rise to get up. When I wake up that early I stay in bed. I lay in the darkness and try to wish myself back to sleep. After an hour or so, I finally get up or turn the TV on.
Over the weekend, I did finally sleep eight hours. I figured I had broken the cycle. Now, this week, the early mornings started again. Trying to find the pattern, there’s always a pattern, I looked back at my sleep and mood chart. My sleep chart was steadily low and bump of high then low again. There was a pattern. The outlier was the two days of good sleep.
I knew what I had to do. In this situation, I always have to convince myself even though I know it’s what I need to do in the end. And always do for myself in the end.
I bumped my meds up.
This morning, after being up at one in the morning and going to bed at nine, I realized I could be headed for some trouble. I know it is best to head this thing off before it starts to spin out of control. Before I start to spin out of control.
I can tell there is a slight hum to my thoughts, so I may already be at the early onset of hypomania. It may just be the computer buzzing. Who knows. It is early in the morning and the only other noise I hear is the toothless dog snoring in the corner.
With this bipolar illness, you have to be honest and accountable. You have to notice your patterns and be willing to make adjustments. That’s how I have been successful where others have had struggles. I know everyone’s journey is different. I have found what works for me and I have a wonderful doctor and system in place to adjust as needed to my situation.
I hear from a lot of bipolar people about how they don’t know how to take control of their illness.
It’s not easy. You have to do your best to manage it. You have to have a support team and many people are lacking that number one thing. Many are unable to find good and reliable doctors. Others lack family support or even friends that support them. I am fortunate enough to have both.
Another successful thing to do is track your symptoms. Becoming aware of your illness and triggers are paramount to your success. I am hyper-vigilant when it comes to tracking my mood, sleep and meds. I use eMoods to track daily. It prints out a nice chart you can take with you to the doctor to discuss your moods for the month. It helps with your treatment plan. I take my meds pretty much at the same time every day. That is important to keep your meds at the right level the whole time.
I also do not drink or do any other type of drugs as this impacts my medications.
Knowing your triggers can help you avoid stressful situations and alleviate swings. For a long time my ex was my trigger. Sometimes still can be in the right circumstance if I’m tense. Cleaning too much is a trigger. I get manic if I start cleaning too much. I have to be cautious. Better a dirty house than a manic mind. Watching movies about suicide or people cutting themselves is a trigger. I know my triggers and can either avoid them or prepare myself to be ready to handle the situation if I am healthy that day.
Learning these things are not easy. Applying them are even harder.
It was not an easy decision today to up my meds but the data supported it and I know it was time to do the right thing. I know when the date tells me that I’m not sleeping that mania is on the rise and I need to prevent it. It’s always tough to adjust the meds up. You almost feel like you failed at something. You just want to be able to handle it yourself.
I know it sounds stupid but that is the inner thought that occurs. Maybe the thought is that you are weak. I don’t feel that but maybe that is the what is eking out when I fight to take my meds.
I don’t feel weak. It comes back to, I want to be healthy. I made the decision to support myself. I chose myself. I’ll do it again when the time comes and my brain fights against me. I’ll continue to have the insight and data to support my decisions.