Continuing on from yesterday, in which I talked about my diagnosis, today’s questions are:
What is your baseline mood/state? How does that impact your life?
Honestly, I have difficulty interpreting this question. “Baseline”, in the context of Bipolar Disorder, refers to a stable or normal state of being. But from the way they’re asking what my individual baseline state is, I’m assuming they are asking which state I experience most often.
Still tricky to answer, as at different times in my life I will have very different answers.
Prior to diagnosis, I had spent 2 years in an essentially constant manic state. It presented mostly in anxiety, and affected my life by making me withdraw due to my paranoid delusions. I lost friends and struggled to make new ones, and lost the person who at the time I believed to be the love of my life. On the plus side, losing my social life allowed me to focus on my school work (the manic productivity helped here) and had me graduating successfully with a guaranteed position into my ideal course.
As the start of university found me hallucinating (click here for a fun first hand account), I found myself on the doctor’s couch, being prescribed anti-psychotics and lithium. (You’d be wrong to assume that as soon as you get pills you get better – it would be a long time before I had built up to the right dosage.) The first half of 2014 had my “baseline state” present as a mixed episode. My first semester of university became seemingly impossible and after all my success in high school, I felt hopeless. I dropped out until I could balance my medication and become stable.
Fortunately my story picks up here. My Lithium is at a perfect dose, the break from work and university gave me time to relax and learn my mind, and my romantic life picked up as I found new love in the form of J. While I had a nasty 6 week long episode, the past half a year has been a stable time for me.
It’s too early for me to tell what my baseline state is. I was diagnosed far younger than most are, before my illness had time to develop to its full potential (thank god). But I believe as time goes on and I learn more, I will find myself going through longer periods of stability.
In the meantime, let’s just say my baseline state is living.