Manic Bear has parted and I'm no worse for wear ("Manic Bear" represents the manic side of manic-depression or bipolar disorder for those just catching up with this saga). This is cause for some minor celebration.
As I wrote in the previous post, episodes of mania - periods of elevated, elated mood, feelings of greatness, heightened energy and creativity, accelerated thought processes and so on - have always ended badly for me, resulting in deep and often very prolonged periods of severe depression. It's like being in an elevator at the top of a building, feeling on top of everything, and suddenly having the cable cut and being in a stomach churning plunge to the bottom of life. The crash, and the stark contrast to the elevated state, is extremely hard to take. It's like someone feeds you a drug that makes you high, and you love that feeling so much and love the person you are so much, then just as you're getting used to that person and are thinking that person is the real you, someone feeds you another drug that turns you into the absolute polar opposite. The swing is abrupt, wild, and quite literally unbearable.
But not this time! It was a very minor and brief episode of mania to be sure but still high enough to set up a crash landing. Whether it was the mood stabilizing medications or my being more aware of what was happening and taking active steps to keep things in control, I don't know. I just know that I seem to have achieved a "soft landing" from the manic high. So this is quite a big breakthrough for me.
I seem in general to be far less plagued by negative and self-critical thoughts, that is I seem to be clearer of many of the symptoms of deep depression, so this may be a factor as well. And speaking of which, I used to beat myself up for being "weak" or of "weak character" for many of my errant life choices. Now, with a clearer and stronger mind, I can see that yes, I was weak but that it wasn't my core character that was weak, it as that my mind was very much weakened by the ravages of this illness. This is another big breakthrough for me I believe and it gives me hope to believe that in distancing myself from the unchecked illness (pre diagnosis and treatment) I can work daily to build up my mind's strength again. Which is not to say I believe I can completely defeat the Polar Bears, but that I can learn to to keep them in check and thus live a much more stable life in the future.