Mania and Mini Breads

I’ve been struggling with a manic swing the last few weeks. I can’t sleep, I’m agitated and irritable, and I can’t concentrate. To make matters worse the quarantine has made my usual coping skills impossible to utilize. I can’t go wander through Barnes and Noble or go sit in my favorite diner for breakfast.  I can’t go to the movies or walk through the mall. So that leaves me with reading/listening to a book, coloring, watching one of my favorite films here at home, and of course baking. Because my mania comes with not sleeping it’s very hard to focus throughout the day. My attention span is short, I get easily irritated and my mind is racing so fast I can’t stay on topic. All of these things also increase my anxiety level because I know that the other symptoms are happening, and I feel powerless to change them. It’s very frustrating. I touched base with my doctor last week and we added a med to help with sleep and hopefully anxiety. It is one I’ve tried in the past.  I did finally get more than 3 hours of sleep, but the side effects are very unpleasant. For starters, my mouth tastes like a rusty metal pipe. The metal mouth sets in about an hour after I take the med at night and lasts well into the next morning. To battle the horrible taste in my mouth I use Xylitol mint discs or Biotene mouth gel. Both help to keep my mouth moisturized and they help with the metallic taste.  The discs attach to your gums and dissolve slowly. I use them either during the day or at night. I also suck on sugar free hard candy or chew gum to help with the medication taste. The medication also makes me feel somewhat hungover and groggy the next day. It hasn’t been a perfect solution. However, it did allow me to sleep soundly for two nights. Getting even a few hours of sleep at night helps to push the reset button in my brain. During a bad manic swing I can be awake for a few nights in a row. I basically get an hour here or there until I am so exhausted that I eventually just crash. It makes for very frustrating and exhausting days. 

I did attempt some baking this week. Because I’ve been manic and can’t stay focused, I chose to do my usual honey wheat bread recipe. The ingredient list is short and the steps simple. And I’ve done the recipe so much I basically have it memorized so it isn’t very tasking.  I’m still recovering from hand surgery and I can use my mixer to knead this bread for the most part so that also helps. I’m still getting the strength back in my hand. I tend to drop things without warning and my fine motor is sketchy at best. I purchased these small tins online to make individual fruit loaves and other breads, so I put half of the dough in the regular 9 x 5 loaf pan then split the remaining half into smaller pieces. They turned out super cute! I also made mini fruit loaves. I was super happy with the way the little individual tins turned out.  Both recipes are in my blog pages.

Hopefully the new med will continue to give me a small amount of relief. If not, then I call the doctor back and we try what’s next on the list. I wish there was a one pill fixes everything solution but that’s never how it works. I have to be flexible and honest about my expectations. Bipolar management is definitely a lifelong marathon, not a sprint. Happy baking and hang in there.