The Fear of Relapse

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I got up today. I guess that’s always a good thing. But today I fear would have been better off spent in bed. It’s one of those days where I can feel the pressure of tears behind my eyes. My head is fuzzy. My heart is heavy. My body is moving slowly.

This is not the life I signed up for. My brain tells me to be grateful for the life I have. And I am. For the most part. But there are days like today where I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. Today is one of those days that you can’t really explain to others. And that you can’t really expect others to understand.

It’s a day of heartache. A day filled with everything that has gone wrong. I ruminate over the career I lost, the friends I lost, my lifestyle changes. I think of the deaths I’ve weathered. The changes to all my major relationships. I just want someone to hold me and let me cry. Someone who can really understand. But I’m alone.

Days like today fill me with fear. Fear of relapse. My life has been stable lately. Stable for quite some time. And I’ve been enjoying it. I’ve been enjoying life. That surprises me to say. Wow. I’ve been out running errands, eating in restaurants and participating in activities. I’ve been helping around the house and shuttling my daughter around. I’ve been engaged. Then whack. Today hits.

What a mess today is. But the truth is it’s not just today. It’s been building. Today I have just found the words to write about it. What if I relapse? The course of bipolar disorder dictates that I will. What would it look like? Would I find myself back in bed, hiding from the world? Or, is this it? Is how I’m feeling now the beginning? What will happen to my life? Will the people who have been standing by me stay? Or will it be too much for them to handle, again? How will I cope? That’s a lot of questions. And I’m afraid for the answers.

I feel pressure to remain stable. What will happen to my family if I relapse? What will I lose this time? I don’t think I could cope with any more loss. I feel that people think I’m “better.” That because I’ve been well for a while now that it’s expected to be my normal. Well it’s not. And I’m afraid of what that will mean. I’m overwhelmed with fear and anxiety of what is happening. I don’t want to go back to that dark place.

So what to do? There’s the million-dollar question. I see my psychiatrist regularly. He’s aware that I have a tendency toward winter depression and that that can lead to a full-blown relapse. By altering my medications he’s trying to avoid that. In addition to the meds, he has started me on a natural supplement that apparently behaves as a mood stabilizer. As well, he prescribed a light box. I am to sit in front of this light for 30 minutes a day. It is to combat the effects of less sun and to hopefully lift my mood.

But today will be today. I can’t change that. I’ve learned that and I accept that. But it doesn’t take away the fear and anxiety of tomorrow. I will do my best to deal with my demons and get through the day as best I can. Though today feels like more than I can handle, I know somehow the clock will tick and the day will pass. I wish for this pain to pass with it.

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