Forewarned is Forearmed.

Wednesday February 5, 2014

It's 2014 and I'm scared.

Not enough to score a three on the scared card, so maybe apprehensive would be a better word.

You see, I'm bipolar with a two and a half year cycle and my ticket's booked to get on that rollercoaster about April this year.

In some ways it was easier when I didn't have the diagnosis. Because I didn't know what was happening, it was always a surprise. The hypomania (the most common form of bipolar features this milder form than the full blown mania) was wonderful and I would ride it with joyful abandon. The subsequent exhaustion (physical and mental) would ambush me without warning and I would spend the next few months wondering what was wrong with me, getting tested for everything and mourning the loss of my vivacious and bubbly "normal" self. Not being able to work and subsequent financial anxieties added to this.

The bipolar diagnosis made sense of it all.

Now, of course, I know that a major part in minimising the "down" is to control the "up", so from about now I will be watching that Moodscope score like a hawk. Tight discipline seems to be the key: lots of sleep, even if I think I don't need it, healthy food, the minimum of alcohol, enough but not too much exercise; making sure I follow the therapy routines (EFT and TAT*), which seem to work better for me than drugs.

All that is easier said than done, and this is where my lovely (but frequently irritating) Moodscope buddies come in. They know me and my scores. They email or phone when I'm up or down. They email me when they don't see a score for a few days. They are always on my case. I love them and I'm grateful to them, even when my heart sinks as I see yet another email, subject line "Moodscope Score: are you alright?"

Yes, forewarned is forearmed. I have my mental weapons, I have an army of friends (well, three – but believe me, these girls are an army in themselves), I have a wonderful GP who understands and I have the drugs on standby.

So I'm prepared, but still apprehensive. Last time was manageable; unpleasant, but the mildest episode to date. Maybe this one will be milder yet. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

I'll keep you posted.

A Moodscope user.

*EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique or "tapping". TAT – Tappas Acupressure Technique

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