Tag Archives: mania

Antidepressants for ALL!

People are so easy to share (with me, because my superpower is communication) that they were (KEYWORD!) on antidepressants but the got off of them.

I don’t know if I should complain that you told me and then quickly told me that you got off them OR be happy that you told me you were on antidepressants..

This all coming after I confessed that I’m feeling really depressed and that’s probably why I lost 30 pounds..

Does and has everyone taken antidepressants? And if so WHY ISN’T mental illnesses widely talked about and understand…ed?!

I’m not on antidepressants.

I should be.

I’m not on anything..(well)..but who am I to judge her anyway? Mental illness, whatever face and shape it takes, is real.

Maybe I’m just jealous she got OFF them when some people can never stop taking them, or can’t get them in he first place. ✌🏿

Oh geez, is that a rant?

I have tried to write a freakin blog post for about two days and I haven’t been able to.

I don’t want to keep writing about how much this sucks and I don’t want to start something and stop again. Mental illness is such a hard topic to blog about because when you are smack dab in the middle of it yourself, it gets lost.

I brought back my site address www.bipolarunemployedlost.com because I know people suffering in the now are still finding this site. Whether if it started about me, things have changed.

I again, I feel like shit. My mind is running. I got too much energy and give it away too quickly, leaving me with nothing. I feel hard and emotionless.

im everywhere but nothing is moving

Now.

I feel weirder than ever.

I’m tired but yet hype

I’m thinking about things that need to be done, then switching it, switching, forgetting about the it, coming back to it.

I’m feeling my weight loss and I feel like I’m feeling myself too much. Time to get out of control.

I’m doing things I should NOT be doing.

I’m just tired y’all.

A lot of periods no commas.

Here I am again. Here I am again. Writing on the stupid blog because my fucking brain doesn’t want to cooperate anymore. This is stupid. And everywhere I freaking look there wants to be someone who has killed themselves over mental illness. That has stabbed their children. I don’t know what is going on. I don’t know if the universe is telling me to go stab my child and husband. Or I kill myself. I know it’s not saying that. But what the fuck. I am going crazy and I don’t know how to stop this roller coaster.

PS. I’m not gonna kill my husband child but God dammit.

Shit has HIT the fan. Again.

Why is it…every holiday…I go crazy? Just really insane?

I get really angry and shitty to my family. I withdrew from the world just to pop back into it tomorrow at work.

I am getting tired of exchanging my happiness for this stupid disease. This thing that had a hold on me since the beginning of this blog to now.

Now.

I thought I’ve moved on. I thought I could carry on with my life thinking it was just a sad phase. Now that there is a little me in the world and this thing keep popping it’s head up…I have to think that this is forever. Completely. 100%.

I’m tired and pissed that I am doing this again.

Just So You Know…

…you can’t reason with someone who is manic.

I mean, you can sit there with them and try to rationalize everything, but they don’t know they’re being irrational. They’re sick and have absolutely NO idea they are; in fact, they’ll deny it to the death and become highly offended that you’ve even dared to suggest it. Now I know why everyone in my life fears my becoming that way again, and it makes me more determined to stay on my meds and play well with others.

Being around people in this condition is triggering, and tiring. I have to fight my own demons even as I watch the manic person go ape shit. The whirlwind of activity, the loud and pressured speech, the frenetic bouncing from one project to another…I recognize all of it because I’ve been there. It’s hard to admit that I’m capable of the same kind of mayhem, and worse. No wonder I feel such a kinship with the person who is zipping madly around the world like a Tasmanian devil, even as I wish they’d take some meds and settle down. It’s not so bad, being bipolar; what’s bad is refusing to acknowledge that the disease exists. But how do you do that when you don’t see the havoc it’s wreaking on your life?

I remember how tough it was for me. My internist was the first one to bring up the fact that I had a mental health condition that was more serious than he could handle; I was PISSED and had no problem telling him so. I wasn’t crazy, I said, I just had mood swings…didn’t everybody? It took my first psychiatrist, Dr. Awesomesauce, all of 90 minutes to diagnose me.

But you know, it’s STILL tough. I go through long periods of stability now, and I get to thinking that maybe the label is wrong, or maybe it’s not as severe as my providers have made it out to be. You’d think after being diagnosed four times with bipolar 1 that I’d get it through my thick skull, but there’s this stubborn little voice that says “No, it’s not that bad, look at how well you’re doing now”. It doesn’t recognize that I’m only doing well because my stress level is relatively low, and because I take a lot of meds that make it seem like the illness has gone away and I’ll never have to deal with it again.

Bipolar is crafty like that. The bitch lures you into thinking everything is just hunky-dory (or horrible, depending on the prevailing mood) and you don’t have the foggiest idea that it’s lying to you. You don’t know, and don’t care, that you’re building a house of cards and the whole thing is going to collapse on you at any moment. All you know (in the case of mania) is that your feelings are stronger than they’ve ever been, and you are certain they’re going to go on forever and ever. You make expansive plans because you are always going to have this level of energy and the sky is the limit! You flit from project to project, starting one or several enthusiastically, only to abandon them for something else within days or hours. You race through your days with your hair on fire, thoughts swirling wildly through your mind like leaves on the wind. And then one day, it’s over: your high times come to a screeching halt, there’s all sorts of stuff left undone, your life is scattered in pieces all over the place, and you’re left wondering just what the fuck happened.

It’s 9 PM, time to take my meds. All of them. Because there but for the grace of God—and that handful of pills—go I.

 

 

A Chronically Discontent Manic Depressive

 

I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in late 1994 and I’ve had 22 some years to study and learn about this illness. I’ve learned a lot. I read books and magazines all the time and I search the internet. I’ve learned how to dance with this disorder pretty well, especially since last year when I was put on a new mix of medications. I’m doing much better. In fact I feel pretty stable for the first time since my diagnosis. It’s still hard, but at least I have a clue as to what’s possibly coming down the line towards me. My brain is different than it used to be and it’s taken some getting used to, but I’m getting there.

Last year I was also given the diagnoses of PTSD and Dysthymia. I’ve been studying about how these disorders affect me since then, and again I’ve learned a lot. But it’s still new, and I don’t know as much as I need to. I recently read a book called “The Half Empty Heart”, by Alan Downs, PhD. It’s all about Dysthymia, or what he calls Chronic Discontent, and man I can relate all too well to this description. It’s also called low grade depression because it’s always there and never really goes away. You’re in a low state of depression basically all the time. It cycles some but mostly it’s just there, underlying all your actions and thoughts. I read this book a few years ago and it intrigued me, but I didn’t have the diagnosis yet so I just thought about the subject and how it affected me. But since I’ve been diagnosed with it and know more I can see that it’s affected me my whole life. I’ve learned a lot more reading it this time.

One of the main things that people with Chronic discontent deal with is a tendency to emotionally and physically withdraw from stressful or difficult situations. It’s a hallmark of the syndrome in fact. And it’s one of the hardest symptoms to handle. There are exercises in the book that are intended to help you overcome this, but I haven’t gotten too far in that. But I have read enough to know that withdrawal has been a constant theme in my life, since I was a young child in fact, right up to today. When things get too hard for me, instead of trying to work it out I often tend to just disappear and run away from the hard stuff. I can’t tell you how many people and situations I’ve abandoned in my life. Dozens at the least. I’m not happy about this, in fact I’m totally ashamed of myself. That’s a big part of the symptomology too. Experiencing shame is the way we live our lives, based on perspectives we developed when we were very young. We just don’t feel like we’re OK as human beings deep inside of ourselves.

A shame based life is filled with regret and unfulfilled promise. We respond to life as tho we feel we aren’t as good as the people we interact with, and so we self-sabotage many of our relationships. We often are left with no one to call friends any more. That’s my situation. I’ve left so many people that there are just a few left. As I get older this is a big problem. And I don’t have a clue how to overcome it. It’s buried so deep in my pysche and I’m so terrified of changing it that it informs most of my decisions. It might as well be who I am. But it’s not. I still refuse to be defined by my diagnoses, but it’s hard not to be. I’ve always been ashamed of who I am, despite all the good things I’ve done in my life. It’s like they don’t matter and all I can see are my failures and abandonments. This has been true for as long as I can remember, even as a small child. In fact that’s where it started I’m sure.

I don’t mean to blame anyone for this, but it seems clear to me that this began in my childhood, and of course that means that my parents were at the root of the situation. I had wonderful parents and they loved me so much. They were happy to have me, but I was so sickly that they severely overprotected me and I grew up believing that I was too much an invalid to do too many things. This despite the fact that they also told me I could succeed at anything I tried, and I so often did. But the shame I developed over that time lives on today. Back then it was an undefined feeling that I was inferior to other people. I still feel that way. I know that both my parents suffered from low self esteem and I’m sure that it translated into my psyche at a young age. How could it not? Again I don’t blame them. They were just living their lives the best they could after all. But I never talked to them about this before they both died. Now I can’t ever deal with it with them and it’s up to me to overcome it alone. It hurts my heart because I love them so much and yet they left me with such a painful legacy.

The title of this book – the Half Empty Heart – is very powerful to me. It’s a hard thing to face but it’s the way it seems to be. We tend to look at life as a glass half empty instead of half full. And in that we fail to take care of our hearts. It’s very painful when the reckoning comes around and you see all that you’ve lost thru your lack of action, or actions you’ve taken to escape. It seems like every time I begin to have a good life and accomplish something, I sabotage it somehow and end up with nothing left. This is a common experience for people with chronic discontent. We stop ourselves before we’ve even given ourselves a chance to succeed. I’ve so often declined to even begin something because I was sure it was doomed to failure. It’s not that I lack courage. I just don’t have the faith in myself.

But here’s where the mix of diagnoses comes into play. Having Bipolar disorder means that you may cycle constantly and can be up or down depending on your current mood. When you’re “Up” you feel on top of the world and I think that because I’ve lived so much of my life in hypo/mania – the good stuff feelings – that it overcame a lot of my chronic discontent and allowed me to do more than I might have otherwise done. I couldn’t help but feel good about myself, even if it was based in mania and not reality, it still felt good and I believed it was real, so it was. In a strange way I feel lucky to have both of these illnesses together. I think that life would have been much worse for me if I’d just been chronically discontent, or just manic. I probably wouldn’t be here by now I suspect. I think that having those up times of bipolar mania allowed me to distance myself from the bad feelings and I had the courage to do all kinds of outrageous things that nurtured me and kept me happy despite the low grade depression I still felt deep inside. It was a strange mix, and it still is.

The other side of it is that the dysthymia often kept me from displaying florid manias to other people because I was too ashamed to “act out” and embarrass myself. I so often hid my horrible feelings of distress deep inside so that no one could tell that I was experiencing such difficult emotions. In some way I feel that this saved me a lot of heart ache because I never got “caught out” with my Bipolar until I was old enough to make better sense of it than I would have in my younger days. If I’d been diagnosed with it in my teens, as most people with BP are, I would never have accomplished half of what I did do. So the two diagnoses have worked in tandem to help form my life as it is now. Not great perhaps, but I’m not in a hospital (tho I have been) and I’m not dead (tho I’ve tried to be). But I haven’t been that successful in my life either. Depends on how you gauge it. I’ve done good things but I never made much money, and that’s how we judge success in our culture. So I feel like a failure even while I revel in my good works. It’s a weird way to live I guess but it’s what I know and have done. And I suspect there are others who have similar experiences.

I hope I don’t seem to be complaining about any of this. I assure you I’m not. I get it that I’m the one responsible for my actions and ways of being in the world. I’m not making excuses. I’m the one who bailed on my friends and communities in my chronic discontent, and I’m the one who was manic and did great things while I was too. I find it fascinating to try to embrace these two different illnesses. And I haven’t even touched on the PTSD. I could write a whole post just on that. All these diagnoses work together for me, sometimes in helpful ways, as I’ve described, sometimes in terrible ways too. I’m still working on the challenges of having these disorders and sometimes I think I’m even making progress. I hope I am anyway. Life is too hard for me too often, but it’s also so beautiful. I’m a lucky guy actually. I have a wonderful man who loves me to death and I have a home and good food to eat, and so much more. I even have good health, despite these disorders. So take all this as a discussion of how one can manage to live with these challenges and how I personally have dealt with them. At least it makes some sense to me…

If any of this resonates for you too – there is help. Go find it!

Steve

Game of Inches

The assumption about bipolar is basically that you are moody; one minute happy and excited, the next sad and despondent. But this is far from the reality. To clarify on what a bipolar diagnosis is: for Type I, you need to have experienced 1 depressed mood and 1 manic mood in your entire life. There […]

Those manic moments

A few things I’ve done whilst manic:

 

  1. As a young child, had a ‘vision’ that Jesus had leprosy. Also, at nursery school, had another ‘vision’ with depersonalisation.

 

  1. As a teenager, had other religious ‘visions’ including psychosis.

 

  1. As a teenager, the planet Venus told me (in compressed time) the philosophy of Plato’s ‘Symposium’.

 

  1. Got married. (It didn’t last.)

 

  1. Bought a one-way flight ticket to India. (And used it.)

 

  1. Been a total slut.

 

  1. Marched up and down the living room wielding a large kitchen knife, frequently stabbing the dining table.

 

  1. Had various delusions, most of which I still have (to some extent) despite meds.

 

  1. Bulk bought: cheap wristwatches; USB pen drives; clothing; etc.

 

  1. Written what I estimate to be more than a million words since my teenage years: fiction (several novels), poetry (thousands – many published), reviews, plays, etc.

 

  1. Wrote a 70k word autobiography in two weeks at the age of 20-ish despite nothing actually having happened in my life at that point.

 

  1. Made 20+ ensō paintings in 10 mins or so (total). The lawn was covered with them.

 

  1. Driven up to the Black Mountains obsessively, 3x a week for a couple of months.

 

14. Danced on a table in the staff room at lunchtime. No-one seemed to notice.

 

trees

Silly Season

This is sure one weird spring. Weirder than usual, even. On the inside, my mind and heart are racing, which manifests itself in incessant leg-bouncing and shortness of breath. I don’t show any other signs of mania on the outside, but it’s there, just under the surface, like lava threatening to boil over the side of the volcano. My sleep has become fitful and on the mornings when I have to get up earlier than usual, I’m not tired. Last night I was so bored trying to sleep that I almost got up and emptied the dishwasher at two AM. The temptation to skip my meds is almost more than I can resist, but I really don’t want to blow three years of relative stability. Besides, I did that already and it didn’t go well. I want to drink, too, for absolutely no reason that I can think of other than I’d just like to have a beer.

What the F is going on here?? I haven’t felt like this in, well, I don’t know how long. At the same time, I don’t have any more motivation than usual to get off the computer and, you know, clean something. I can’t be manic because I don’t feel like taking off to parts unknown and I haven’t been driving any faster than usual (although I do crank up the stereo as soon as I’m on the freeway). Even though my thoughts race, I can still string a few together and make normal conversation. I’m not spending money either, not that I have any to spend (and I’m leaving the credit card alone so I’ll have something for the trip in September). That’s one good thing about being on a fixed income—you learn very quickly how to manage it, because otherwise you have waaaay too much month at the end of the money.

The sleep thing is perhaps the most puzzling part of it. I take enough drugs to put a rhino out, but lately I couldn’t sleep through the night if my life depended on it. I’m still a slug in the morning because I get the best quality sleep from about five or six AM, which is frustrating because I get up so much later than the rest of the household. But even though I go to bed around midnight, I’m awake till at least one or two in the morning, and then I keep waking up every hour or so just for the hell of it.

So why haven’t I called Dr. Goodenough yet, you may ask? Because I’m not manic, and I  don’t want MORE meds. I don’t want to go back on Ambien because my insurance doesn’t pay for it, and besides, it’s just one more pill and I’m having enough trouble sticking with the ones I’m already taking. I don’t know why that is, but as we’ve established, I’ve tried fooling with them on previous occasions and no good ever comes from it. I guess it’s just silly season, and like everything else, it too will pass.

It sure makes things interesting in the meantime, though. I’ve been so steady for so long, but these little hiccups serve to remind me that I’m still bipolar and need to be on guard at all times. It’s so easy to get lulled into a false sense of security that my diagnosis isn’t as serious as my providers have made it out to be. I don’t feel bipolar, I simply feel…normal. A little flat emotionally, to be sure, but then “normal” people don’t get the extremes that I used to. I do remember the screaming fits and crazy highs and black depressions. They just seem so far away now. And at times like this, with the flowers in bloom and April showers falling softly on the land, it almost feels as though they never even happened.

Almost.