Wednesday, July 11, 2012
But for those of us living with bipolar disorder, it can be a dangerous time if we aren't in tune with our symptoms. I remember when I was a kid, the summer seemed to be a real struggle for my mom at times. We spent every summer of my childhood at our summer cabin at West Hawk Lake. She took the summer of from teaching so we could escape there. And as much as I loved it, it scared me at times too.
My mom was...freer in the summer. She was happier, more social and active. But she also drank more, spent more and got into alot of trouble. There were times she would take off (she called these times "Going On Strike") and we'd have to go find here. Let's just say I lost many friends because I'd bring them up to the lake with us for a weekend, my mom would have a drinking binge and refuse to come home, and we'd end up coming home late. You can understand how worrisome that would be for my friends' families! And it was embarrassing.
The worst part was that we didn't exactly understand what was happening. We had no diagnosis or explanation for why she'd do these things. Of course, in retrospect, we understand now. But allowing her to go wild, giving into her mania, all summer long made adjusting to the fall routine even more difficult. The recovery time from all that she did to herself, then falling into the usual fall depression, was hard on all of us. Then, of course, the cycle started all over again with the winter mania. It became like a never-ending process. By the time I got to my teens, I refused to go up to the lake anymore because I didn't want to be stuck up there anymore.
The point of all of this is that we need to pay even closer attention to our symptoms and triggers in the summer. Just because you're feeling better with the warm weather and natural vitamin D, doesn't mean you are 'better' or should go off your medications. It means you feel good, and that's wonderful! But you need to be cautious.
I found a phenomenal article from Julie A. Fast, along with Dr. John Preston on the bpHope blog. She talks about the importance of being in tuned with your mania symptoms and specific questions you should be asking yourself to stay in check. Check out the article HERE. And while you're out there, be sure to check out her blog/website because she has some fantastic information and resources.
Stay well and have fun!