The holidays are here, or just a matter of days away, depending on when you celebrate and I realized I haven’t written anything here in quite some time. I wanted to take today as an opportunity to share about living with bipolar disorder and going through the holidays.
If you’re new here then hello and thank you for stopping in here!
If you’ve been here before then you probably know I live with bipolar disorder. I often tweet about it and share it on my Instagram. I’ve written a fair share of blog posts about the disorder as well.
The list goes on. Spreading awareness about what bipolar disorder actually is is definitely a passion of mine.
The holidays come every year, and every year it kicks my butt.
This year I started mentally preparing back in the beginning of November. I started lifting weights to help with my anxiety and I started a new medication as an emergency measure. I wanted to be ahead of what was bound to happen. I thought I could stop it, but no. I can’t.
Every year the holidays become harder and harder. I grieve many death anniversaries in the month of December and I struggle to understand how best to spend the holidays. Do I put on a happy face and pretend? Or, do I be real and express my true feelings?
Many days in December are spent in a thick fog. I sleep on the couch often to avoid the heaviness of the depression. Up until two days ago I hadn’t laughed all month. December is dark for me. No matter how hard I try, it’s the hardest time of the year for me for sure.
I started implementing some positive habits at the beginning of November in hopes of avoiding this.
I began weight lifting.
I started journaling.
I became conscious and aware of my sleep patterns and the quality of it.
I started drinking a lot of water.
I started spending intentional time with my kids.
I started having nice, warm baths every few days.
I moved my workspace to be near a window.
I’ve cut down on alcohol.
But, no matter what, the depression still comes.
And this year was awful. It was hard and having a difficult child doesn’t help. I was drowning.
There are some triggers this time of year that makes it so hard.
Holiday Triggers for Bipolar Disorder
This is not an exclusive list by no means. These are just a few triggers that many people with bipolar disorder might relate to during the holidays.
Fighting the temptation to overindulge. The holidays are a time where there is a lot of everything. Be it gifts, lights, decorations, alcohol, anything. It’s a time for A LOT. For someone with bipolar disorder, this can be very hard. I struggle immensely to fight this.
The holidays bring a change of routine. People with bipolar disorder tend to do best with a routine. I, myself find I do very well with a routine. I like waking up at the same time and knowing what to expect for the day. This can be very hard if you have plenty of gatherings and celebrations. The change of routine can result in forgetting meds too. Which, if you have bipolar disorder, is NOT good.
The holidays can be over-stimulating. It’s so much shopping, decorating, visiting, eating, drinking, etc. It’s just so much. And on top of that, you’re supposed to be cherry, merry and happy. For people with bipolar disorder, myself included, this is just too much. My brain can’t work when there is so much going on.
During the holidays it seems as if alcohol is more accepted and arguably even encouraged. Alcohol can change up mood swings for people with bipolar disorder. It can induce depression or mania. It can also disrupt sleep schedules and interfere with medications.
SO MUCH SPENDING. I struggle so so much with this. Spending money I don’t even have simply because it’s Christmas.
These are just some triggers. Of course, everyone has their own. I face some difficult days in December. My grandpa passed away on Dec 6, 2011, my uncle passed away on Dec 12, 2010, and I was physically assaulted on Dec 18, 2016. Along with this, I struggle so much that my grandparents are no longer with me, as most of my Christmas childhood memories are centered around them.
So, while the holidays are a time for joy, they can be very hard for someone with bipolar disorder.
If you’d like some more information surrounding bipolar disorder throughout the holidays here are some other blogs I’d recommend: