A Trial Separation

To have bipolar disorder is to always be on guard. On guard for symptoms and mood swings and side effects. I have been diagnosed with Bipolar 1 w psychotic features for 3 years now. I still experience new and different symptoms. The spectrum is vast and wide.
Just recently I was experiencing this feeling of being separate, detached from my body and from you. It was if I was floating above myself watching interactions. I was physically shaking hands with people, but could not feel the touch. I saw my mouth to be moving, but could not understand the words I was uttering. Another time I felt like I was walking around in a glass box. I could see out but sights and sounds were muffled and tainted. The next day I felt like I was on a movie set. I was standing still, but all the world was scurrying around me. I wasn’t actually in the world, I was watching the world.
I could feel no connection, no tether to my environment. I was stumbling around a barren wasteland while seeing others thriving. I sat across from my husband in our living room but felt like I was in a dark cave far away.
This sudden way of being was scary and confusing. I contacted my doctor who told me I was experiencing derealisation. It can be a symptom of depression. I wasn’t necessarily feeling depressed. Mostly numb. I just didn’t feel in my body. Certainly not present. Even pounding the hiking trail I could not feel the ground below me.
My therapist recommended a grounding technique of tapping into my 5 senses. Looking for 5 things I could see. Listening for 5 sounds I could hear…etc. It worked somewhat.
Sometimes trying to explain these symptoms to a loved one is challenging because I don’t understand it myself. Invisible illnesses can be hard to put into words sometimes. For that reason, I try to keep a line of communication open with my doctor. She often helps to put things into perspective for me or puts a name to the chaos I am feeling. I find that super helpful as my mind likes to race around and create scenarios that most likely aren’t true. By reaching out, I can be armed with the correct information and hopefully get my symptoms under control.

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