12 Jul 2022

“Strategy, strategy?” muses the Major General in The Pirates of Penzance. He has a “smattering of elemental strategy,” you see, and that is what makes him “the very model of a modern Major General.”

Last week, someone commented on my blog “Let it Be,” that they had learned to recognise their Prodromes to a bipolar episode and so to take action to avoid same.

Sadly, I do not recognise my prodromes, and I should. Looking back to May, cleaning my in-law’s house prior to the sale, I was full of energy. I was enthusiastic, motivated, inspired and determined. No matter how many times I was told that reasonably clean was clean enough, I was utterly committed to every surface, high, low, accessible and visible or not, being squeaky clean. Our buyers commented that the house gleamed and sent us a thank you card saying they could feel the love we had put into it.

Yes, there was love. There was also pride, too much pride.

Looking back, I can see that was the manic phase before the drop. At the time, I didn’t recognise it. Even when my best friend gently pointed it out, I couldn’t see it.

Even if I had seen it, what could I have done? If I had called in a cleaning agency and sat, twiddling my thumbs in an agony of frustration – because they were not doing the job properly – would the drop have been any less? If I rest now, instead of doing what I can, will this episode be shorter?

Whether it is depression or bipolar, having a strategy makes sense. But how do we find a strategy that works for us?

I will admit to not having enough data.

Yes, I have my Moodscope scores for eleven years but I don’t have useful annotations in the comments box. I don’t have documented strategies and the results of those. And there doesn’t seem to be that much published research out there.

Does limiting activity during a manic episode reduce the severity and length of the following depression? If so, how can one ensure the mania is recognised and the strategy adhered to?

Does resting during a depressive period reduce the severity and length of the episode?

Does practising self-care reduce the number of episodes?

What about talking therapy?

What are our triggers, if any?

Does increasing one’s support circle help? And how?

One thing I have noticed. On Sunday I felt quite good, so I visited my father-in-law in the care home, cooked, did some business admin, washed and dried three loads of laundry – and was utterly exhausted on Monday. Monday was a sofa-day. I didn’t have the energy to read or even to watch TV. Monday was a staring into space day.

One experiment: one result. Record it in the diary.

Enough experiments, enough results and we might come up with a strategy – or at least a plan.

What strategies do you have? Do they help? Please share in the comments because we can all help each other.


A Moodscope member.

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Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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