It’s a marathon not a sprint!

Healing for the long run…
It’s important to give yourself time to recover and really heal after a mental breakdown, whatever your final diagnosis may be… whether it’s bipolar, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, etc. Imagine the time it takes to heal a broken bone. If you fell down the stairs and broke your ankle, would you expect to get up and walk within a few days? Probably not.

In fact, society would help you take the time you need to heal.
“Don’t rush things! Stay off that ankle until it heals. Here, let me help you with that!”
The image of your leg in plaster helps people associate the injury with the need to take it easy and let nature work its magic. Oh, how different it is when we fall off the wagon of life because of a mental breakdown, or in my case after a bipolar episode. We all try to “get back to normal” way too quickly, and often the result is another mood swing to knock us down once again, and it tends to hit us harder than the original episode. Mood swings exhaust the mind and the body. Leaving you feeling weak and exhausted.

Mine pick me up and throw me around like a rag doll. And like anyone who goes through physical illness, I need time to recover in order to get my life back on track. After a mild episode, it usually takes me two days to recover, stripping it back to basics with early nights, a no sugar diet, off the fizzy drinks and alcohol! After a bad episode, it can make your body feel like it has run a marathon for a while (not that I have ever run a marathon, but it’s what I imagine it feels like!) You’re emotionally and physically worn out.

I’ve learned that true healing is not just about getting rid of mood swings; it’s about letting the brain and body get back on track over time. Trying to get back too quickly after such a draining experience can lead to a vicious cycle of never healing fully- and being more susceptible to another collapse. Society expects so much from us. I still expect way too much of myself. If I don’t take the time I need to heal, my bipolar may go away for a while- but it doesn’t go far, and not for long. Mood swings and episodes bash away at my day to day functioning, ability to work, relationship stability, and even my immune system…

YES, I know the feeling of, “I have to get back to work or I will lose my job!”— I wish we could come out of mood swings quickly and immediately pick up our lives, but we rarely do. Years of trying to manage my bipolar with a job and a being a mother to a very active 7-year-old have taught me to think of my immediate needs and not to look so far into the future. I have built a life around my bipolar that works for me. When I break- and it happens- I give myself time to heal and get back on track!

Write to me and tell me what you do to cope with your day-to-day. How do you manage to the pressure from society to always be well and available?! I’d love to hear from you, email me or follow me on my Facebook page @mswillowbipolar
Love Ms Bipolar X

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