Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bipolar Disorder and Stress: Decreased Ability to Deal With Minor Emotional Stressors

Bipolar Decreased Ability to Deal With Emotional Stressors


Today started with promise. I slept in until 10:00 am (sweet!) and then began preparing for my youngest daughter's dance recital. The entire family planned on attending, except for my oldest daughter who had been staying at a friends house, about an hour away, for the past several days. The friend's mom and I were planning to meet, at a half-way point, some time in the late afternoon or early evening. Then, as I was in the bathroom transforming myself from a sleep-hag into a presentable mom, it happened...the 10:45am text.

"Where are you?", a message from the mom who had been hosting my oldest daughter. She was at the drop off point. My response... "WHAAAAAAAT?!?!?!"

I had just finished beautifying myself and was working on getting my little one all fancy for her moment in the spotlight. My little dancer had to be at the venue an hour before show time, meaning we had to leave the house by 11:30. There was no way I could drive and hour round-trip to pick up my eldest, and still get my baby girl to her recital on time. The mommy-meltdown began.

I am lucky enough to have a sweet, helpful husband who was willing to go pick up my oldest daughter, while, after a series of stressful communications to handle the situation, I scrambled to get my youngest daughter ready and delivered backstage on-schedule.

As soon as my husband left, my two youngest kids switched into naughty obnoxious mode and my in-laws called to finalize plans for the recital. It was the perfect storm. Me scrambling to try and get out of the house on time, two kids with an excess supply of naughtiness, phone ringing and clock ticking, all while waiting for my husband to get back so that I could leave.

None of this is life-or-death stuff. I realize that. But, together, this collection of too many minor stressors is just the kind of situation that flips the switch in my brain from mental health to mental illness, from stable mood to wobbly mood. Although I am cool as a cucumber in a real emergency, this assortment of minor problems was just too much for me to deal with. I was on-edge, stressed, pissed and emotionally brittle...not a fun person to be around.

When I got my dancer to her backstage diggs, she became scared, clingy, and didn't want me to leave. I was the one designated to save seats for the entire family, since I was the first one there. More stress. I stayed with my baby until just before the curtain rose, and the family ended up saving a seat for me (Thanks guys!). The show was great, and kids so cute! Although I was still grumpy, finally being able to sit down and watch the recital mellowed me out a bit.

Picked up $29 worth of McDonald's food for the family on the way home (Don't think I have ever spent that much on a family meal a MickyDs). Delivered it home, ate, and while dad and the kids went to the neighbors for a swim, I went back to sleep. When I am faced with too much, drifting off to sleep, with my iPod reading me a Philippa Gregory audiobook bedtime story, is something that flips my switch back to normal. 

After my nap, I rounded up the kids and got Father's Day cards and presents prepared for tomorrow. A good ending to a chaotic day.

What type of stressors toss you into bipolar emotional storm? Share your experience!

Bipolar Stats:

  • Level of Mania (on scale of 1 - 10, with 1=none, 10=practically levitating): 3
  • Level of Depression (on a scale of 1 - 10, with 1=none, 10=can't get out of bed): 4
  • Medication Compliance (0 = not taking, 5=taking some, 10=taking all): 5 (not compliant with Wellbutrin for past few days)
I am recording my mania and depression bipolar data separately because I often have mixed episodes where manic and depressive symptoms occur at the same time.

This blog is for informational purposes only, it is not intended to be used for the treatment of mental illness. If you are having emotional troubles, please see a mental health professional, not a computer. 


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