My Journey With:

Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS) ~ Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) ~ Focal Impaired Awareness (Complex Partial) Seizures ~ Fibromyalgia ~ Chronic Myofascial Pain (CMP) ~ Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) ~ TMJ Dysfunction ~ Bipolar Disorder Type I Rapid Cycling ~ Migraines ~ Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) ~ Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) ~ Keratosis Pilaris (KP) ~ Complex-Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) ~ Panic Disorder ~ Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) ~ Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) ~ Nonsuicidal Self-Injury (Self-Harm) ~ Piezogenic Pedal Papules ~ Hashimoto's Thyroiditis ~ Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) ~ Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) ~ Specific Phobias ~ Chronic Headaches

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bipolar...kicking my ass

I'm not doing good.  Not at all.  I'll get through it, but that's because you have two choices in life, you either get through it or you die.  I had a mania episode last week (was it last week?).  Then I, not surprisingly, hit depression.  Bipolar depression tends to be more severe than unipolar depression (also called major depression).  When I was manic I was having fun.  My pain levels were lower, my mood was was just all around great.  I even considered cutting my meds in half to keep the high going, which I haven't admitted until now.  I did semi-accidentally forget my medicine twice for that reason, even though I knew that it increased my risk of developing psychotic symptoms of mania or hitting bottom with depression.  I had no money and I am too physically ill to leave the house so there wasn't much I didn't feel there was much I could do self-destruction wise.  I felt safe.

Then, like clock-work, depression hit.  I bottomed out, and combined with my other mental illnesses (Complex-PTSD, SAD, anxiety, panic attacks, etc...) it is just too much.  I thought I was hiding the mania really well, until I talked to DH about it one night and he said that it was very obvious and of course he knew.  So...I thought I was hiding my depression even better.  I told DH yesterday that I've been hiding it pretty good so he probably doesn't realize, but I'm really depressed.  He ended up surprising me by telling me that he's known for awhile and that it is, again, very obvious.  I'm not the actress I think I am, apparently.

I started a blog entry for Invisible Illness Awareness Week about bipolar, and though it is no longer Invisible Illness Awareness Week, I want to finish the blog and post it later...or next year on Invisible Illness Awareness Week  I already, during the awareness week, wrote two blogs about bipolar, which can be accessed here and here.  I've been calling out for help the only way I know how...a bit on Facebook, and a lot on Twitter and now Daily Strength.  It's just too much right now.  Everything is too much.  Right now even eating is too stressful to do.  Plus I feel sick from anxiety and depression and have no desire to feel sicker with a full tummy.  I tend to either eat a lot or nothing when I am cycling, whether it is mania or depression.

I started using my lightbox this morning.  I started out using it last year-or was it the year before?  I didn't keep it up though, so it didn't help much.  I think it is a cruel joke that Seasonal Affective Disorder is called SAD.  Basically SAD, according to Pub Med Health is:

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is episodes of depression that occur at a certain time of the year, usually during winter.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The disorder may begin during the teen years or in early adulthood. Like other forms of depression, it occurs more often in women than in men.
People who live in places with long winter nights are at greater risk for SAD. A less common form of the disorder involves depression during the summer months.
Other factors that may make SAD more likely include:
  • Amount of light
  • Body temperature
  • Genes
  • Hormones
Symptoms usually build up slowly in the late autumn and winter months. Symptoms are usually the same as with depression:
  • Increased appetite with weight gain (weight loss is more common with other forms of depression)
  • Increased sleep and daytime sleepiness (too little sleep is more common with other forms of depression)
  • Less energy and ability to concentrate in the afternoon
  • Loss of interest in work or other activities
  • Slow, sluggish, lethargic movement
  • Social withdrawal
  • Unhappiness and irritability
Mental illness has been stigmatized as long as we have records of people being mentally ill.  This includes people with epilepsy, even though epilepsy is not a mental illness, for years people with epilepsy were considered insane.  In most places in the United States people with mental illness are still treated as less than human by the mental health profession, as well as doctors who take care of the physical body.  If I am seeing a doctor for a physical problem and they either hear "bipolar" in my medical history or hear the name of some of my bipolar meds when he is taking down my current meds list, they automatically start treating me different.  They treat me like I'm stupid, a liar, and just crazy.  I have more education, or as much as, most mental health professionals, i.e. case workers, and not to brag, but I'm a hell of a lot smarter than most of them.  My IQ could run circles around most of them.  I'm not saying I know more about psychiatry, I'm just saying it pisses me off being treated like I'm stupid-even more so, because often the people who do it are "stupider" than me, if they want to use a word such as that.

Me at my lightbox - the standard treatment for 
Seasonal Affective  Disorder (SAD)
The conditions in psychiatric hospitals, where I've been both a patient and a volunteer, are horrible.  Many people that come out of a psychiatric hospital develop PTSD from the hospitalization.  People who are not mentally ill would be amazed at what abuses go on in "the system."  If I hadn't been trapped in the system for so many years, I wouldn't believe what goes on, either.

It makes it harder that I can't really talk to anyone who that doesn't have mental illness.  It's one of those things that if you haven't experienced it, you can't possibly understand.  I've experienced it as both a mentally ill person, called a "consumer," and the family member of someone mentally ill.  I am the child of many mentally ill family members.

1 comment:

  1. it isn't a matter of you being a good actress or not, it is a matter of someone who loves you enough to be able to see beyond the masks you put up. Someone who loves you enough to notice the little things that can't be hidden so easily such as small lines or wrinkles in facial expressions (which chronic pain patients often have without realizing it), a variation in tone of voice, variation in vocabulary you usually use that changes when manic, depressed, or in great/extreme pain.

    My DH is the only person I know who can truly see how badly I hurt with just a single look, or a couple words over the phone when calls me from work. He says that if he hadn't taken the time to learn those signals (and many more) then it meant (to him anyway) that he didn't love me enough because my physical and mental condition didn't matter to him. Since he loves me to no end, how I am feeling mentally and emotionally matter a great deal. Also, these things help him to know when to offer help, when to ask me if I need help with something, and when to leave me alone knowing that to ask would make it worse.

    It isn't your failure to hide, it is his love letting him truly see!


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