When It's Hard to Be in the Moment With a Bipolar Brain


It is truly a rare moment I am present. My bipolar brain likes to race around its internal universe. Sometimes at mock speed or sometimes at an agonizingly slow obsessive pace. Lost in past memories, jumping ahead to future events on the calendar, doubting decisions, unable to process and follow directives at work, agitation so fierce I want to rip my own skin off. I’ve taken to listening to music in headphones at work to drown out the internal and external noises. It works for the most part. But nothing’s perfect, right?

My husband and I share a love of baseball and music. On weekends this is our escape. We are often found at the baseball park or a concert venue. As it goes with a mood disorder, I’ve had to miss some events due to anxiety, sensory overload or depression. It’s a hard thing to admit, to have to utter the words I can’t handle the things I enjoy right now. Even harder to accept and not get swept away in anger at bipolar disorder for taking these things away from me. Just like for all of us, some days are easier than others.

However, last night under the glistening stars celebrating our wedding anniversary, my husband and I were cuddled up listening to one of my favorite artists. We had a wonderful dinner. We got aisle seats (simple pleasures). The band was on fire. The lyrics reached into me just like they do through headphones. The emphatic and sometimes empathetic vocals brought tears to my eyes. The crowd sang along. I sang along. As I looked up to the open sky, I felt so grateful to be present in that moment. To allow the power of music to take me away. Take the chaos, the voices, the constant inner dialogue and usher it out of my mind. Sitting next to my loving husband and really being with him meant the world to me.

I don’t take these rare occurrences lightly. If it was the musical angels from above looking down on me I want to say thank you. If it was the fact I’ve been practicing breathing, slowing down, becoming more intentional I also give thanks. It was a magical night and I am so grateful I didn’t miss it.

The Mighty is asking the following: Share a travel moment related to disability and/or disease that made you laugh, cry, roll your eyes or was otherwise unforgettable? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Bipolar Disorder

When Dysphoric Mania Tears Apart the Fabric of My Mind

I am bipolar, and my condition is the one where I have short and sharp cycles. In the clinical terminology it is called “dysphoric mania.” Recently I took back a leather jacket to Nordstrom because a tear developed by the pocket. In this case the problem was fixed, and I got a new jacket. So what happens [...]

Remembering Those Who Are Not in Mental Illness Recovery

As I sat in the waiting room of my doctor’s office tonight, the first hand of the clock indicating the commencement of my third hour spent waiting my turn on the sofa, the door to the back swung open, and I overheard, without much effort really, an anxiety-ridden mother speak intensely about her teenage son [...]

7 Confessions of a Bipolar Mama

I was diagnosed late in life — just three years ago, at age 44 — with bipolar disorder. I had suspected for most of my adulthood that something was greatly amiss in my mind, and bipolar often seemed to fit, but I was under the mistaken impression I could overcome the wiring in my brain [...]

To the 19-Year-Old Girl Who's Still Waiting for the Right Mental Illness Diagnosis

Hey, Kiana, it’s me! Well, actually it’s you. It’s the older and slightly wiser you, four years into the future. I’m writing this to hopefully shed some light on how you’re feeling at this moment, and hopefully to help you in your future. It’s 2013. You’re 19 years old. You’re attending Pierce College for lack [...]