Friday, November 03, 2006

Mood Tracks

One of the most useful tools that any bipolar person has in their arsenal is a spiffy mood chart. When I came off my meds, I promised myself that I would start filling one out every day and for the first time in a long time as I was looking at the categories for my moods, I realized that I feel pretty normal. Sure, I was a little anxious/irritable this past weekend, but I'm feeling really steady right now. It's kinda weird.

When I look at the chart, I realized that for awhile there, I would have had to put myself in a significant depression, a funk bad enough to interfere in a very concrete way with my ability to function. I've never been too manic to function before and I suppose that's pretty typical of bipolar II. We tend to spend more of our time depressed.

One of the things that psychiatrists note about bipolar people is that we tend to lack insight into our own behaviors and attitudes and I think that the shrinks are on to something but maybe for the wrong reasons. See, while all those normal people were getting to know themselves through normal mood shifts, bipolar people were getting to know themselves through huge swings and mulitple variations and manifestations of themselves as refracted through different moods and mental states. It's not so much that bipolar people are deficient in insight as that bipolar people have a whole lot more ground to cover in terms of what we need to be insightful about.

I keep debating with myself about the nature of manic depression. I mean, sure, the science tells us that it's a chronic disease. But sometimes I wonder if it's more like a mental flu. Yeah, it lasts longer, but maybe you get it for awhile and then, like a regular ole flu, it goes away, never to return. Maybe that's just wishful thinking.