Manic Episode #180-something

A wise woman (ok, my therapist…again) helped me discover that yesterday I got manic.

Human BodyI went to get a half-day assessment of my chronic pain that now keeps me from doing anything but sit (and even then the pain is at a 4). The results of the assessment was a strong recommendation to do the bootcamp-style all-day program for 4 weeks, which takes place downtown (an hour travel time whether driving or by train/cab). The program includes physical therapy, occupational therapy, biofeedback and meditation, group and individual work, meeting regularly with a pain psychologist and a physical medicine and rehabilitation medical doctor.

Because I switch to Medicare as my primary insurance on March 1, the staff strongly encouraged me to do the program while under my current insurance since Medicare is usually reticent to approve payment. That would mean starting the program on January 28. Yes, 10 days from the assessment.

The program sounds exactly like what I need to get past this terrible rut of not being able to move well. I could move again and exercise again and feel good about my body because it can do things.

manicHearing the parameters of the program and desiring to give a whole-hearted try to get moving again and get some pain reduced, my mind went like this:

  • My bipolar stability requires structure, with limited and scheduled days. With my care team, I decided to stay on the same path and schedule to further deepen the mood stability that I’ve been experiencing.
  • Doing the program, and so suddenly, would completely disrupt my schedule. My mood stability might be in danger.
  • I don’t know if I can do 40 hours a week of focused and intense work, which would be required in the bootcamp program.
  • Plus, the program would likely increase pain, certainly the first week, which would reduce my stamina for any further work in the program. And who likes to be in pain anyway?
  • Then there is the travel issue. The program starts at 8am. So I leave my house at 7am whether driving or taking the train. Which means changing my schedule even more by having to wake up at 5am to get the slow-motion morning started to be ready to leave by 7am.
  • There’s the stress of either commuting in tons of traffic, or being around tons of people on the train and shelling out bucks for cabs or a shuttle, plus train tickets. All of this adds stress, which increases pain and adds to a depressed mood, and so on and so forth.
  • And there’s the financial strain, with a deductible over $600 and out-of-pocket over $2600. There’s no way I could afford the program right now. Even with a payment plan, I’m not sure there’s enough money each month.
  • Plus – My hours at work just increased This Week to 20 hours a week. AND it’s the busiest season with several major events right in a row for the next 7 weeks. How could I ask for a month off, with short notice and during this time? I would feel guilty for leaving them in a lurch. I might use up more than the good will I’ve accrued while being there.
  • But leaving them in a lurch is not my problem. I have to take care of my body and my life before taking care of an employer. My supervisor even said several months ago that I need to take care of myself and my health first. I also know she nearly drowned in work and stress when I was out for 3 weeks after the cancer tumor surgery.
  • I could put off the bootcamp program to a better time for myself and my work, say April or July. It’s less busy at work, I could give more notice to my job, there would be no snow or ice on the ground to drive through (possible during February), I might have a chance to save up some money.
  • But it would be so much easier in headaches and paperwork to deal with just one insurance company, which means starting the program now.

manic cartoonThese ideas and plans to make it work in February swirled through my mind yesterday. I talked it over with Significant Other, sharing this semi-logic, but mostly mess, in my head. Today, I shared it with Wise Woman and asked for advice. She, of course, never gives advice, but did hold up a mirror by pretending to be me while I pretended to be her. She repeated back to me all these thoughts I had just shared, with the same speed I shared it, with the same pressured force that it seemed to tumble out of my mouth.

Then she asked me, “What would I say to you? How do I sound?” A couple seconds elapsed…

And I said, “Manic.”


And I fully recognized how this was a pattern I had been using for YEARS when faced with a decision. Especially when something didn’t feel right. The work issue and travel issue and stamina issue all were red flags, and I was trying to find a way to cram all the variables in, and find a way to make the situation work.

This is classic disordered thinking for people with bipolar. More than racing thoughts, it’s getting caught up in the race and obsessing about an idea or situation.

The best thing for me to do is to slow down, give myself time, and make a thoughtful decision. ESPECially when this buzzing-around-trying-to-make-a-situation-work thinking shows up. It could be triggered from the outside (such as a doctor saying it would be best to start the program now to avoid the hassle of medicare), or the buzzing could be internal pressure brought on by the illness.

I have time. I’ve had this pain for 20 years. I could do the program later, when I’ve saved money. I could find another program that wouldn’t make my mornings terrible or involve commuting. There are many ways to solve the problem, but I have to interrupt the race, take myself out of it, and think rationally and fully.

Life lesson learned! Conquering bipolar, one manic episode at a time now!

4 responses to “Manic Episode #180-something

  1. Yay you! And thank you. Reading this was helpful.

  2. So proud of you and the Wise Woman!

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