While most of my bipolar symptoms ended when I stopped taking medication, a few have remained. Sometimes, I still have energy ebbs and flows, and while it's no longer rapid cycling, there are days when my energy level is too high.
That doesn't translate into hypomania, but sometimes I talk too much. While I try to be conscious of it, it's not always possible.
One of the best things I learned in the eight months I recently spent in therapy was to be more accepting of my behavior. When I explained how bad I felt about a number of residual bipolar symptoms, my therapist continually said, "I have lots of patients who aren't bipolar and they do that (whatever "that" was)."
"Really?" I would ask.
"Yes," he responded. "I just don't see all this behavior as bipolar. Sometimes, people talk too much about themselves, and don't listen. Sometimes, they have a lot of energy even though they're not bipolar. Sometimes, they're very enthusiastic about something, and then their enthusiasm wanes. Everything you're describing to me is within the realm of 'normalcy.'"
As I listened to my therapist's perceptions of my behavior--week after week and month after month--I realized that all the negative responses I had gotten during my 15 year illness when the medication caused erratic behavior and rapid cycling--had taken their toll. And I had become hyper sensitive about everything I did, and how people responded to me.
But, after hearing my therapist discount all the "crap" that I'd felt had been piled on top of me and was so suffocating, it was time to dig my way out of the pit, and stop accepting a "bipolar label" for every behavioral inconsistency.
(to be continued)