When You’ve Hit a Plateau in Bipolar Recovery


In the 1999 movie, “10 Things I Hate about You,” Bianca Stratford says, “I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?” Whelmed is a fitting description of what it’s been like for me to hit a plateau in my bipolar disorder recovery.

No one really talks about plateaus.

It’s that period of time after many years of successful recovery without medication changes and hospitalization. I have maintained full-time employment, developed a routine to take care of home responsibilities and I socialize with friends. Basically, I’m functioning well to the outside world, and at the same time, merely existing.

I feel whelmed by therapy; finding it boring and monotonous, while valuing the idea of it.

I feel whelmed by psychiatry appointments; having little to discuss, making them simply a rubber stamp for three months more of meds.

I am whelmed by filling medications; the scripts can now be auto refilled and mailed right to my doorstep.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to go back to where I was and how I felt when I was hospitalized — I’m committed to my treatment. More importantly, I don’t miss the extreme emotions and I find comfort in the predictable.

I’m finding recovery doesn’t make me a superhero. It makes me average and whelming. For now, whelmed is good enough.

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Unsplash photo via Nirzar Pangarkar


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