Backpacking and Bipolar II. Taking Manic Depression on tour.
#Gladness #Happiness #Siblings #Bipolar
I’ve been at a low ebb for the past day or two and I know that in days gone by this would be a depression. Through rigorous mental training, help from a friend and self-examination I’ve managed to learn to recognise the negative thought loops and triggers as soon as they leave a silhouette on my mental horizon. Anticipating them means that I can weather the storm further from it’s eye.
I wrote how to ‘Happy’ as though it was a verb because, now that my medication has left me on an even keel, I know that I will have to MAKE MYSELF happy, just like everyone else. Part of my long term rehabilitation, as well as avoiding triggers and depression, is going to be learning how to create triggers for happiness. I know this is possible because just now, whilst listening to the radio, one of my younger sister’s favourite songs started playing. I felt a bite-size piece of what used to be the joyous static that mania put into the air around me; A rush of tingles up my back and a heightened awareness of the hair on the back of my head and the air around my ears. I envisaged my little sister dancing to the song and grinning, as I’ve seen her do many times as we prepared to hit a city on a night-out and for a moment my heart felt like it might burst.
The love I have for my sister cannot be measured and even here, on the opposite side of the planet, it warms my heart just to know that she is out there. I cannot wait for the day when I see her again and get to give her a big cuddle. Finding the songs that remind me of my family, and picturing specific moments we’ve shared reminds me of just how glad I am of the family I have left. Gladness being a short-cut to happiness : I’ve found a way to propel myself forward into a GOOD mood after I’ve neutralised an attempt on my emotional well being by the more malevolent citizens of my mind.
Not having ATTACKS of mania any more doesn’t mean that I cannot be happy to the same extent. Perhaps I won’t be overcome with joy for days or weeks at a time but I tell myself that the happiness I experience now is a genuine emotion that I have full rights to. I’m not taking on a debit of depression for being hyperactive and euphoric; There isn’t a guaranteed crash. I can LEARN to be happy more of the time than not. I can tailor my life to be conducive to my happiness now that I am permitted an emotional landscape that reacts to the environment and to my own prompts.
If you’ve found ways and means of prompting happiness, ‘cheering yourself up’ or just of hanging onto the happy moments for longer – I’d love to hear from you. I’ve found hope that a life on medication doesn’t have to be a grey, flat experience for the majority of the time. Come at me – Tell me your tricks and tips!
All the best,