How Bipolar Disorder Makes Every Day a 'Recovery Day' for My Brain

With bipolar disorder, every day my brain is in recovery. If you thought I was referring to depression, you’d only be half right. See, my brain doesn’t only have to recover from depression, it has to recover from hypomania, too. No matter which state of mind I was in the day (or days) before, my brain wakes up in recovery mode, and it’s exhausting.

Some days I feel like I can’t catch up, and when I do, I wonder if it’s another bout of hypomania or if it’s a stable day. Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

If you have a chronic illness — mental or physical — your body is basically fighting itself all day every day, and we all have to recover in our own ways.

At 27 years of age, I have to pick and choose my battles. Whether it’s a decision regarding fun or a decision of importance, I have to choose which one I’ll have the energy to struggle with, and just as importantly, which ones I can recover from when needed. Most people my age can run circles around me, go out with friends, work and have extracurricular activities…but not me.

Even at such a young age, I have to choose if having a night out with friends will be worth the struggle to recuperate in the days ahead. Deciding can be tiring itself, and being the people pleaser that I am, I usually choose to go out anyway.

Likewise, my husband and I have opposite schedules, so I rarely get to see him. On some nights, I have to choose whether or not to stay up a little later to spend time with him. I have to think about if it will leave me exhausted and emotional the following day and if I’ll have the chance to catch back up.

As a wife, a mother, a friend and an employee, I have to choose which exhausting tasks I can conquer and recover from, while others don’t have to even think about it.

Luckily for me, I have a wonderful support system. I have an amazing husband who picks up my slack without being disgruntled. I have a sweet little girl who only wants mommy to feel better and tries to take care of me when she can. I have employers who know of my illness and know when I request to leave early, I really need it, because I rarely make that request. I also have a select few friends I can trust and vent to who will listen without judgment. I am lucky to have the support system I do when I need help on my recovery days and I hope you do too.

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Thinkstock photo via LanaBrest.

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