I was just reading the blog of another bipolar “victim” who described getting through a rough day of Christmas Mall shopping! I do my best to stay out of them as much as possible from American Thanksgiving until January!
My biggest challenge is that my health challenges can either work together to keep my life in check or if even one gets out of hand, can put me on the roller coaster from hell. There is no special order that this can happen, but for ease of writing and reading, I will pick a starting point.
This time of year really ramps up my chronic pain. The colder/damper weather effects my fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. These aches cause me to be less active which increases the chronic pain. It also affects my moods which make me grumpy, sad and anxious.
My OCD kicks into high gear this time of year. I always need everything to be in order in my house or it will effect my stress levels. Higher stress levels increase pain which saps the energy required to keep things neat and tidy. Once the place is a mess (which happens often), I have trouble doing much about it. Of course my obsessive side just can’t cope!
The lack of bright sunny days brings out my depression. I try to take extra vitamin D but this doesn’t always completely elevate my moods or, will do so and then the other factors will kick in to escalate me into a mild manic state. I don’t often go into full manic mood anymore which is a mixed blessing. I sometimes would love that energy to get me through everything.
Oh yes, sleep, the final frontier. Pain keeps me from lying down until I fall asleep. My body just doesn’t get comfortable, so I get up and play silly computer games until I am worn out and fall asleep when my head hits the pillow. Usually at this point I am taking more pain meds so they will help get me into the mood to fall asleep. I seem to not get to sleep until after 2 am no matter what time I start the process. Or, if I am asleep, I will wake up around 1 am and have to get out of bed for the next hour. Just lying there and doing breathing exercises, counting sheep or whatever other sleep method that comes to mind does not cut it – it is my body rebelling to being horizontal that keeps me awake. My lift chair is a good alternative, but if my moods are out of sync it doesn’t work either.
Back to the OCD. During these times I want to keep up with daily routine such as the dishes, proper personal hygiene (daily showers, brushing teeth), cleaning the house, shopping, etc. However, when pain and/or moods are at their worst, I just sit there dazed and confused. Then my mind starts punishing myself for not being able to keep everything in the order it should be so my world can keep revolving smoothly in one direction. The obsessive compulsive side just can’t accept a half done job so nothing gets done.
These collisions also make it difficult for me to ask for and/or accept help. Again, this just upsets things even worse. If I do have someone help and they want me to just go rest I am on the defensive. If I don’t get help the next hill or corner on the roller coaster just gets a little scarier.
Right now I have about 15 things I really think are priorities for the day. My pain level is about a nine and my energy level is almost on empty. I think I am in for a bumpy ride!