The Rollercoaster Ride No One Wants

red roller coaster
Photo by Stas Knop on


The joys of Bipolar can be all to real and all too much like getting sick on a rollercoaster. It’s scary; and, if you go around more than once, it’s fun until it isn’t anymore.

Let me start by saying my doctor is out of the office on medical leave until the end of this month or, possibly, the beginning of July. I’m still seeing my therapist while she’s out, but have to see a nurse practitioner if I need to. Which I have.

A little over a month ago I hit a low. A low low. My first depression since my mid 20s. A friend told me the last one was pretty bad, but I don’t remember much of it. I don’t remember much of my manias either by the way. And I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. Anyway… Friday, April 26th I crashed. Hard. It alternated between despair and not knowing what I was thinking. I’d cry and I could barely get off the couch. I wasn’t self-harming, but only because the energy to do that wasn’t there.

I didn’t go to church on Sunday. I didn’t eat. I didn’t want to move. My head was a mess. I didn’t know what to do. Well, that isn’t completely true. My head wasn’t telling me to complete suicide, but it was telling me to write a note. I kept looking at a pad of paper as the thought of the note tapped on my shoulder. The longer it tapped, the harder the tapping got. It became so uncomfortable that I kept picking up the paper and pen and putting it back down. Back to wanting to pick up the paper and pen… So… I did. I’ll face it. For all intents and purposes it was a goodbye note. As I said, I don’t remember most of my episodes, and that is including what is in that note. I have put it in my art journal [in an envelope] and never intend to read it again.

I called my therapist, Cassandra, bright and early Monday morning. Crying. We set an appointment. I’ll spare you some of the chaos that went on in between then and getting to her office. She read the note and asked if she could make a copy. It went in my file (side note: you should see how thick that thing is). She made sure I wasn’t suicidal. We discussed pros and cons of hospitalization. Ultimately deciding against hospitalization as long as I followed the course of treatment we agreed upon.

This was the plan:

  • I would see her (Cassandra) twice a week
  • I would make an appointment with Linda (a nurse practitioner in the office that I had seen once before)
  • Call her if things became worse
  • My friend Diana would be made aware of the plan and kept up to speed

It was our “version” of an IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program).

I was not happy when I went into see Linda. I didn’t want to discuss a lot with her. I just wanted her to give me meds to make the misery go away (which she did).

I just wanted my doctor to be there. I felt like a little kid. I still do because…

… Here’s the rollercoaster part…

… As the depression went away, I started going up. I’m still in the progression to the top of the hill. I know that. If my brain is normally the flat track and slow speed, then I am at the beginnings of the hill at a medium speed. Sleeping is rare (10 hours of sleep in the past 36 hours). Attention is hard. I have to think of words (this post is taking forever). Focus is not there unless it is something specific I have to get done. Being outside and noises- neither are my friend. My mind is going nonstop without thoughts actually finishing. I can’t remember or focus to read.

I missed going to the beach for my niece’s birthday. I couldn’t retain the sermon at church. I’m tired, but I can’t sleep.

If the ride continues to ascend, and my brain reaching high speed, then it will turn into a brain that is a tangled ball of yarn. Those nights of sleeping 10 hours in 36 will go down to maybe 6 in 36. Bad judgment calls will be made (my brain is already telling me to get rid of my books). Noises will hurt. Self-injury will come into play. OCD symptoms will take hold.

The scary part about the current ride is that I know exactly what is happening. I prefer when I have no idea. Or little. When I won’t remember the ride later on. This… this I will remember the ascent. When I can see the top of the hill coming. Or I think I will. I hope not.

This is when the rollercoaster is less and less fun. Medication adjustments no longer act as breaks. At least the ones we are currently using for them.

My coaster track will be rebuilt, most likely, when my doctor returns from medical leave in three weeks. I love research; and have been researching some options to discuss with her.

I will have to get back to you on those.


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