31 days of bipolar: 8

Here be the full meme.

The trigger du jour is self harm. With a side of bitching and whining.

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8. What do you dislike most about the disorder?

Mixed episodes/states. I am very grateful to have been diagnosed, I’ve always had ‘em and ye gods I am relieved to know it isn’t a personality defect. Turns out I’m a nice person with involuntarily crappy moods.

What they’re like now, is revolting, but at least I can do stuff about it once I know that’s where I’m at. Before, those would be the times I got angry and agitated and did fucking stupid things (like punching my head and throat). Bad decisions made under the influence of a mixed episode became even worse decisions, with worse consequences.

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I mostly get the agitated depression version of mixed states, but not always, I do agitated mania too. Go me. Suddenly it feels as though my skin got so uncomfortable that it keeps trying to crawl right off my flesh. I expect it just wants a quiet life. Meanwhile, my brain tortures me with the mistakes I’ve made, shitty things that have been done to me and enormous (literally abysmal) despair about the negative stuff in my life. It’s when I feel the least like myself and it’s when I like myself least. In many ways, it’s like having a supersized, extra strength and turbo boosted form of a PMS mood at its worst. No. Fun. At. All. Not even a little bit.

There are times when I can’t stop my teeth grinding (I can never keep my jaw from clenching). I get so irritable I want to freak out at anyone who disagrees with anything I think. It feels as though there are a lot of knives in my skull, slashing my brain. They are thrash metal and jagged edges. They are the proverbial things that end in tears.

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So far I have worked out that during the day during the episode, I have to get some physical exercise and stay busy. When there’s anyone with time and patience around to talk to, that helps chill me out too. At night, when it all feels even more stupidly extreme, I take a sleeping pill if I’ve got one. My life is so slow and calm here and that helps a lot too. If I’m not seeing people, I can’t cause damage. It’s also one of the main reasons I gave up alcohol and cut down on caffeine. Girldog and Hyaenadog help a lot by being their sweet, fierce, funny and unconditionally loving selves.

But it’s not like they can be cured, so when they arrive, they’re on fire and roaring and they take no prisoners. They are angry, despairing, volatile, unreliable and unpredictable. For the decades before diagnosis, they made me ashamed to be me.

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My friend and fellow blogger roughghosts suggested that what I was going through some months back might be a mixed episode. I chatted to my psychiatrist, she agreed. Phew. Apparently I’m not a total asshole. I can live with partial asshole (well, as long as it’s not literal).

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