Author Julie Fast shares a little bit of how she navigates the holiday season while managing her bipolar at the same time. Thanks Julie!
Why are the holidays so hard for people with bipolar disorder? I know they are for me! I write books on bipolar disorder and you would think that after 15 years of work on managing this illness that the holidays would be a bit easier! But they are not. I may change and become more successful in how I live with this illness, but the holidays stay the same! Every year at this time I send out newsletters and write many blogs on how to prepare for the end of the year. I stress that you have to watch your relationships carefully and make sure they are stress free. (Many people laugh at this one!) I teach readers that travel time changes can really affect bipolar disorder symptoms and just the stress of an airport can create anxiety.
But there is one real reason I have such a hard time with the holidays. I get lonely. Really lonely. I’m surrounded by people and yet I’m lonely. Being single doesn’t help, but it’s a choice. I don’t like to shop and yet the television tells me I should receive really cool presents from everyone. I have a beautiful eight year old nephew whom I love, but the family dynamics with my brother and his partner are just too much for me. My mom is not really into celebrating and my friends often leave town. What a little whiny baby I am! But that is how it is for many of us with bipolar. No matter what we have and who loves us, the holidays make us expect so much more!
This year I made sure it was different. I’m getting on a plane to go visit my dad for two weeks. It’s cheery. He’s a happy person and I know this will be my best holiday in a long time! Loneliness can happen no matter how many people are in your life. My goal is to do everything possible to make sure I’m with people I love and who help me stay stable.
Julie A. Fast is the author of Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder, Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder and Get it Done When You’re Depressed. She was diagnosed with ultra rapid cycling bipolar II in 1995 and struggles daily with the illness, but has taught herself to keep going! You can read more about her work at www.bipolarhappens.com/bhblog -Julie A. Fast
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