The number one most important factor in my Bipolar life
I’ve been pondering the number one most important factor in my life and I think I’ve discovered the answer.
Energy sounds very vague but upon further investigation, it makes sense.
Lately, in my struggle with Bipolar Disorder, I’ve been feeling tired and on the depressed side of things. The other day, I went on an overnight camping trip in order to watch the meteor shower (see pictures below). A friend and I hiked up for an hour and camped out. We ended up seeing one meteor each and one bear! On the way down we saw a bear 20 feet up ahead in the bush. Had we not seen it, we would have walked right infront of it.
This little expo is not something I normally do. The next day, I was so tired from having a bad sleep and the bit of hiking activity that I slept from 2pm unitl 9pm, woke up for a few minutes, took my meds, and slept from 9pm to 10am the next day! I slept 20 hours!! When I woke up on the Sunday, I didn’t feel refreshed, I felt DEPRESSED. I felt so groggy and tired and out of it. I’ve had depression in the background for weeks now and I seriously thought, “Oh no! I’ve hit the worst of it. I’m in the dark place that feels so impossible to get out of”. And I really was in that place. When I feel so depressed, I am skeptical. I think, “Is this really it?”. I give myself a funny look while being paralyzed with the fear that the depression that was so near is now here. Is it really here?
By Monday, I did not feel as depressed. It wasn’t really the true, deep, dark depression hitting me. But what was so interesting to me was that by getting myself SO FRICKIN EXHAUSTED, I felt deeply, darkly depressed. So I was in that terrible place, but only for 2 days because I had gotten myself that tired. It’s still there in the background somewhat, but it hasn’t taken over the foreground like I thought it had.
This leads me back to the idea of energy. If draining myself of all my physcial energy made me feel like I was entering a chronic, deep depression (it actually mimicked this state), can doing things that I know give me physcial energy get me out of it or prevent it from getting a grip on me? If I’ve had a low grade background depression for 2 months, can going back to my anal retentive healthy ways give me some energy and thus lift my depression?
One thing I did to get some energy that doesn’t require much effort at all was lay out in the sun. All I had to do was put on something skimpy so I could get tons of rays on most of my skin, put a towel down, and lay there. I have been tanning in the sun for years so my skin is well acclimated to such adventurous exposures. You will have to train your skin through very short exposures and work your way up. Slathering on toxic chemicals is counter intuitive.
Another thing I am doing is eating mostly raw vegan food. I don’t intend to do this for a long time as it is not a viable diet in northern climates in the fall and winter. By eating super light and clean, I have more energy. I am not wasting my bodies energy digesting food. I’ve been eating organic grapes, apples, carrots, zucchini pasta, raw juice from Costco, and “overnight oats”. For the last couple months I really slipped on my diet. I was eating lots of rice pasta and potato chips. I gained probably 10 pounds. Now that I’ve been eating super light for a few days, I feel so much better all ready. I’ve gone from totally pooped to totally energized.
As someone with a mental illness, life feels out of my control sometimes. Especially when I’m experiencing psychosis and in the psych ward. In that environment, I can’t even controll what I eat. When I am experiencing the pseudo-freedom of everyday reality, I can get outside and get vitamin D from the sun, I can take fish oil and other stuff my naturopath recommended for me, and eat light, clean food. After all, raw foods are just sunlight and soil. Our bodies know how to break them down so we don’t waste energy. I have had the priveledge of having super human amounts of energy for no reason while experiencing mania. Often in mania, I eat less and it’s almost like I’m fasting. Fasting is another way the body conserves energy. I’m going to be looking into fasting and ketogenic diets for the winter. Dr. Mercola has it on his radar right now.
If I’m tempted to eat something that will drain my energy, I just think of that crippling depression I experienced for 2 days. Talk about aversion therapy. So again, being physically tired seemed to mimic depression in me, which inspired me to get some sunshine and change the way I’m eating. So far, this has given me energy, which is mimicking a happy and hopeful state. I feel excited about the day. I can imagine if I ate the bag of chips that is sitting on the counter right now, I would start to feel lousy and maybe even depressed.
There are many ways one can go about modulating ones energy and I have talked about 2 ways that I am trying. I’m seeing that there are more ways to modulate this than taking medication and hoping for the best. I have to be even more diligent than the “normal” person who can go about the day abusing their bodies and still feel okay psychologically, for now. As a person with a diagnosis, I am more sensitive to sensations and perceptions that I am bombarded with on a daily basis. It makes sense that I have to take care of myself even better than those who have never had the sense that leads to being broken down by this crazy world. I must truly take responsibility for myself.
What gives you energy?