I am not feeling particularly inspired today, but that doesn’t mean I am uninspiring as a person. Some days, the creative juices flow more than others. On the days when I am feeling flat, I worry that inspiration has left me for good. It hasn’t. Like the sun, it has just gone behind the clouds for a bit.

Starting new ideas is easy. Keeping with them is harder. Especially when the universe does not seem to be listening. During these times, it can be a challenge to take my place in the world knowing that I matter, that my ideas mean something and are worth pursuing.

Physical and mental disorders can take a toll on the sufferer. Even though meds mean less duration and severity of mood, breakthrough symptoms can still strike me.

Getting on the right combination of meds is a major issue with treatment and management of Bipolar Disorder. Too high and I’m sleepless, anxious, distracted, jittery and agitated. Speech is pressured and constant. I think my ideas are the best ideas in the world. These ideas demand for attention. Thoughts race through my brain like noisy ghosts. I am caught in an undertow, pulled along and swept away. I paint the bathroom at 3am. No activity is too outrageous. Life gets unmanageable very quickly. I cannot function for the anxiety that rips through my body. Anger and impatience take me over. I feel like I am high on drugs without taking any. Take less antidepressants and more Latuda.

Depression is the worst one for me. I’m scared, slowed. An unbearable flatness takes me over. A pain like no other. I can’t think straight. I want out of the pain. I can’t run nor hide. I want to sleep. I can’t eat. I can’t stop crying. Either that, or I can’t feel anything. I feel dead inside. It’s distressing beyond belief. More antidepressants and Lamictal.

Right now, I am flat. Not suicidal. Just flat. And I have many wonderful things to live for. But the fires of the mind are causing me distress, and I can’t cope.

So here are some of the things I do to help myself get through the difficulties:

Pat a dog. Or a cat, or any animal for that matter.

Have a coffee in a coffee shop and write out my thoughts honestly, no censorship.

Take my dog to the beach.

Carry around an adult colouring in book and use it. Helps with anxiety symptoms.

Make art, or music if I am up to it.

Curl into a ball and ride it through, knowing it will pass.

Call someone non-judgemental and talk to them.

Meditate using the Smiling Mind app. I’m sure there are other good meditation apps out there for those who live outside of Australia.

Write a gratitude list. Even if I can only think of one thing to write down. By writing that one thing, I always think of other things I am grateful for.

Help someone. Gets me out of my head. Smile at someone. Be nice to someone.

Watch a movie or documentary.

And the list goes on.

For as long as there is life, there is hope.