Something that even people with bipolar disorder often don’t understand is that medication doesn’t fix you. There is no cure. There is no remission. There is only management, and as with managing absolutely anything, good and bad will come and go. Such is the life of being bipolar.
Medication reels in episodes and lessens symptoms, but you’re going to have them. You’ll still have mood swings. You may still have full blown episodes. In those situations, medication is damage control. Monitoring your moods is necessary for medication to do it’s job.
It would be great if we could wave a wand and just get rid of a mood disorder, but that’s not how it works. I once had a psychiatrist tell me that the goal was to get rid of all of my symptoms, and that didn’t sound right to me. They turned out to be a shitty psychiatrist that had me on way too many meds, and the wrong ones at that. Any good psychiatrist I’ve had has told me that medication is for management, and not for getting rid of the illness.
It’s a realistic and grounded view of bipolar disorder. We should never operate under the illusion that one day we’ll be rid of it. Instead, we need to focus on what we currently experience, and address it accordingly. Sometimes that means we get manic and need to adjust, or we get depressed and need to adjust.
I’ve been depressed for awhile, and it’s probably primarily because of medication adjustments. I’m still functioning, monitoring my moods, and have follow ups with my doctor scheduled. At no point do I think “the next adjustment is it. I’ll be better,” because I know that’s not the case. I’m depressed now, I’ll be hypomanic later, and I’ll have some normalcy in the middle of its all.
Don’t give up the fight. Life can still be good, it just requires an adjustment to expectations and a realistic view of your illness. If you have diabetes, you take insulin. If you have bipolar disorder, you take mood stabilizers. It doesn’t get fixed, you learn to manage it. And there’s nothing wrong with that.