Yesterday, my doctor raised my dosage of my anti-depressant, Zoloft, from 50 milligrams to 75. It’s a small raise, but every medication or adjustment of medication that I’ve had so far seems to throw me into either depression or hypomania. The antidepressants I was prescribed when my diagnosis was “just anxiety” made me manic (well, one made me mixed, and the other made me manic), and one of the first-line medications for bipolar II, Seroquel, didn’t do enough to stop my moods from cycling. I’m currently also on an antipsychotic/mood stabilizer, Zyprexa. The combo isn’t working as well as I’d like; I’m still moderately depressed. However, I’m definitely better than I’d be off meds, and I am truly grateful for that.

When you spend so much time in either one end of the spectrum or another, you learn to appreciate the “normal” days, when you have enough “spoons” to do what you’d like, but don’t feel restless or agitated. While since being on Zyprexa (which is a potent anti-manic), I’ve sometimes missed my hypomanias, I remind myself that my hypomanias tend to start out well (I’m happy, energetic, on top of the world) and go bad pretty quickly. Even when I’m “up”, I can become an agitated, anxious, irritable mess.

I really relate to the author of More than Words when she talks about her daughters’ small victories. Even though my mental illness isn’t as severe as Brenna’s or Ailish’s, it’s still a day-to-day struggle. I’ve really learned to appreciate the small things; the days when I’m energetic enough to go to a party, even if it makes me horribly nervous, coffee with a friend, or a sunny afternoon. I have good days and bad days, but I know there’s something better out there for me.

Here’s hoping this change gives me some much needed balance.