You Call it Bipolar-I Call it MSD
It’s getting better; it’s getting better all the time. The song says it all, though unless you know where the starting point is, you really do not know a lot. An ice cube for someone stranded in the middle of the desert would be better than no ice cube, but would not change the situation at all. From the perspective of someone who has gone from diagnosis, to acceptance, to therapy, I can only say my prognosis has a very positive spin to it. The proof is in this past weekend, when I was able to attend two different social events, located five hours apart from Bell Springs, and do it with pleasure.
I have gone beyond just surviving, or coping, to actually being able to derive pleasure from being present at special family occasions. For most people, the first impression would be confusion: Doesn’t everyone derive pleasure from these types of social engagements? I would respond that any pleasure I have derived in the past, has come with a stiff price tag involving stress and personal discomfort. Now, with awareness and superb coaching, I am acquiring a new set of skills, complete with tools, manual, and my own personal trainer.
I want to return for a moment to the oft-referred-to mood chart, and the determination with which I have pursued this compilation of data. I have said that I instinctively felt it was a good tool, an efficient tool, for measuring data over time, which would then allow me to make more accurate predictions, for success of any specific upcoming event. The mood chart has proven to be everything I had hoped, and more, but for the wrong reason. There is a pleasing sense of irony here, that tickles my sense of order.
I had hoped that by getting out my magnifying glass, and examining every facet of the chart, I could then formulate long-range predictions based on the data. What I did not expect was to be able to use the chart in a far more effective manner, by examining the state of the moment, and being able to use the results to predict the outcome of an immediately occurring event. In order to be able to accomplish this, reliably, one has to have his finger on the pulse of his moods. In the past, I had no awareness that this could be done; now I am mastering the art.
I can distinguish between racing thoughts, and agitation. I can wade through the complexities of irritability, recognizing that which is caused by illness, and that which is caused by circumstances around me. I can measure the strength of my legs, noting the presence of lethargy, and be able to differentiate between the discomfort caused by arthritis, and that which is caused by depression.
In the past, without an awareness that these threads could be singled out for identification, I could only push and shove my way forward, pretty much at the whim of whatever emotion was calling the shots that day. Now, by assiduously compiling the data daily, I feel as though I have a reasonably sophisticated barometer of what is happening inside my emotional vat, on any given day.
No red flags on the immediate surface? Good to go. One red flag? What is the magnitude of the event, and what is the magnitude of the red flag? I now have a tool in place, which I can use, to find out the probability that I will experience success, in any upcoming social event. That is better than ingesting Lorazepam, reefer cookies, Vicodin, and booze, in order to try and keep the party inside my head, from bursting out and sharing its mirth with the world around me. The net result of all that ingesting, was little memory, no enjoyment, and a tendency to avoid all social engagements.
Now, as I said at the top, It’s getting better all the time. Tell the Lays Potato Chip people, that we
don't need can postpone that last truckload of chips, thank-you very much.