Roller coasters really can take your breath away at times. I do love riding them at the amusement park, but they truly describe how being bipolar feels. You wait at the station in anticipation of what is coming next. You know that things have been good, you’ve felt good lately, and life has been treating you pretty well. The amusement park has been fun, all the other rides have been fun, exciting, maybe a little dizzying, but fun nonetheless. Now you’re on this ride, you know what’s coming, you’ve been here before. You love the thrill of the speed, the excitement, and the highs.
You steadily climb to the top of the first hill, you create without fail, you achieve beyond your wildest dreams. You relish in the sunshine, it gets so warm and you are feeling beyond a shadow of a doubt happy to be where you are, you get to the peak of the summit and laugh, you are ecstatic. Could life get any better?
You look below, you are on top of the world. All the problems below look so small now, the sky is the limit, it’s so blue and the sun so bright. There’s nothing you can’t do.
Then—it hesitates. The ride stutters. Someone says one word or doesn’t say one word or just out of the blue a tear falls. The whole cart plunges to the earth at an earth shattering speed that takes you for a loop. Whoa! Your heart and soul screams and yells. Not out of excitement but you actually feel the fall within, your stomach cringes in despair. You try to maintain the smiles, and the pleasantries, after all you are at the amusement park and it just wouldn’t do for others to see your fear of this ride. Everyone else seems to be handling it just fine. But you, not you, it goes straight to your heart and strikes deep. You know it’s temporary, you know you’ve been through this before, you know soon it’s going to go around that curve, real fast and you’ll be happy again. Productive again. But now. IT SUCKS! You almost panic. How are you going to handle this emotion? Take a deep breath. Go for a walk. Give yourself a pep talk, repeat those affirmations, tell yourself it’s not going last, this is only temporary, tomorrow is another day. Something! You pull out every trick in the book you’ve learned to handle stress and depression.
After throwing you curves, taking you on that small high for a bit, and maybe a little down, but that first plunge, you shake your head. It scares you, you hope it doesn’t last too long, you hope you’re not immersed in the darkness too long. You hope there is no tunnel ahead. But do you stop riding the roller coaster just because it scares you. Heck NO! What’s life without a little excitement now and then? Sure, occasionally it might make you throw up after the ride, but we just jump right back on, because you know Life is always full of ups and downs, we just are more sensitive than most and we just need to hold our breath and hold on tight!