When I was in Laurel House, a recovery unit in Cheltenham, a couple of years ago, my mood would fluctuate dramatically, often even within a single day.
It would follow my own beliefs. When I believed I had a great philosophical theory I was very happy. When my theories were false, or worse, I had no theory, I would be low and it would cycle very quickly.
Then my medication was changed. We had been looking for a mood stabiliser for a number of years. My preferred choice, and the one we went for, saw an almost immediate positive change. My mood stabilised very quickly.
The first thing I did was look for voluntary work. Soon my family and friends noticed the change in me. I was more relaxed and had a sense of peace of mind. My thoughts were no longer rushing and over extending. I was content with the moment.
I would suggest that, other than medication, there is one thing that helps the mood stabilise, and that is love. No matter how small or how great, to feel approved of or, to feel someone supports your identity, can stop you searching for a greater you. When I look for the greatest me, I am setting myself up to fail. I always fall short and then I drop into depression and the cycle continues.
It’s not always easy to spot the validation of love. For years I thought I was at war with my parents; now all I see is their love for me. The same goes for my sisters and my friends. I’ve been stable now for two-and-a-half years. I’ve had a few dips in mood and, after a long time, I have returned to consider my philosophy.
I think being stable makes me more sensitive to the positive and negative because I am no longer looking for the worst and best. I am happy to notice the small achievements that happen every day.