Taking Bipolar Breaks



Today was the day I woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head.  

(Just kidding…any Beatles fans out there?)

No, today was the day I woke up and I realized I was feeling bipolared out.

usually find the world of bipolar disorder to be fascinating, and as you can fathom, it’s relevant to my life as well.  When I read bipolar-related articles, studies, etc. I could very well come across a significant lead for my own recovery or to help a friend’s mental health issue. In any case, I want to be kept in the loop of this field, and I make a concerted effort to stay in the know almost every day.

But sometimes I would just love to spend a big chunk of time where the word “bipolar” doesn’t enter my mind once.

That’s impossible.  I take my MAOI (Parnate/tranylcypromine) meds three times a day. Just the simple act of taking these pills reminds me of the “b” word.

It’s possible I am also feeling burned out because even though it has been eight years since I was diagnosed, I still haven’t totally reconciled myself to the fact that I have this mental illness. Obviously, there is no way I don’t have bipolar disorder, but on a subconscious level I believe I think, “No way!  I don’t have those cooties!

I consider my burnout to be closely connected with overwhelm.  My psychiatrist advises that when I’m at my wit’s end about something (i.e. a phone conversation gone wrong, a traffic jam, a mild panic attack) to simply pray.  He’s Christian and while he never proselytizes to me about his religion, he advises me based on his own experience.  I don’t have to be a card- carrying member of any religion to pray, and I do believe in the power of prayer – both individual prayer and remote prayer.

While I can’t ignore living with a chronic illness, it’s in remission for now, thank God.  I’m stable, I’m functioning, and a side of me wants to distance myself from my “sick” side, if that makes any sense.  Those feelings may explain my wanting to detach from bipolar disorder in general.  My problem could actually be interpreted as a blessing in disguise!  I’m feeling better, therefore I don’t want to think about bipolar disorder 24/7.  That’s not such a bad problem to have. 

Being burned out on having bipolar and obsessing about bipolar are not insurmountable problems by any means.  I need more reflection and therapy to deal with my identity in regard to having a mental illness that is “hardwired” into my brain.  (I can’t believe I just quoted from that atrocious T.V. show Black Box, but I did!) That may be a simple-sounding strategy, but it very well may work.  Whatever I decide to do, I’m determined to take lots of breaks from contemplating bipolar disorder.

I’m going to pay more attention to things that having nothing to do with mental illness.  We are readying our house for a puppy’s arrival to take place very soon.  The prospect of watching a sweet, joyful little pup interact with my two little girls, who are beyond over the moon about having a puppy, will be fantastic.  

With summer fast approaching, there will be days at the beach and hours at the park where I’ll unplug from social media and bipolar obsession.  I don’t have a smart phone, so I won’t have access to the internet at either of those places, and that’s a good thing.  

For indoor activities, I can turn to my nine-year-old, who already knows more than her mom does as far as making crafts.  She has her own Hello Kitty sewing machine and how to use it; I don’t even know how to sew.  She makes beautiful rings and bracelets at the drop of the hat; I’m clueless about jewelry making.  She loves to teach others how to make things.  My other daughter is thrilled when I play hide and seek with her, pull out the Twister set, or play outside with her and our three chickens.  All of these activities and more can serve to pull me out of my head and into the moment.  I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to that.




Twenty Years Ago




Dyane, 2013

Twenty years ago…

1) I was twenty-four years old.

2) I worked at a special event production company, where we produced huge annual events including the San Jose Jazz Festival and the San Jose America Festival.

3) I had two angels with fur, a.k.a. dogs: Tara, a Sheltie/Wolf mix, and Shera, a fluffy white American Eskimo spaz who I adopted to keep Tara company.

4) I lived in a studio in Santa Cruz, California that I suspected was haunted.

5) I was depressed, though not clinically yet.

6) I was considered to be “sane” by everyone, even by myself.

7) I didn’t know the actual definition of “manic depressive” (bipolar) despite the fact my Dad had that mood disorder.

8) I didn’t exercise regularly or eat very well – I worked from 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. in a stressful job, and I was too exhausted after work to do much of anything.

9) I didn’t have use of the internet.

10) I had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

11) I had given up on the idea of romantic love and marriage ever happening in my life.

12) I didn’t think I’d have children except for my fur children.

13) I didn’t take a single pill for anything.

14) I had no problem hopping in my car at a moment’s notice to drive seven hours to Los Angeles.

15) I went to the movies every week.

16) I was untouched by the death of a parent.

17) I was untouched by the death of a grandparent.

18) I traveled solo to New Zealand and Australia.

19) I felt that I was meant to something special with my life.

20) I had never seriously contemplated suicide.