Day-mares

Tags

, , , , , , ,

I didn’t know how angry I was until I went to therapy on Thursday.  Jr. has moved back in and he’s been here for a couple weeks now.  He might be leaving to go back to his fiance but we won’t know for a couple of weeks.  So, in the meantime, he’s on vacation.  But, the anger in my heart didn’t surface as anger.

It surfaced as Day-mares.  I made up the word, but it turns out I wasn’t the first one.  It’s actually in the dictionary .  Day-mares are daydreams that go horribly wrong.

My most recent day-mare involved Jr’s mom.  In fact all of my day-mares do.  Hubby had passed away and, let’s call her Joan, rings the doorbell a couple days later.  I answer the door to find her on my front porch stating that she is here to claim her share of my husband’s belongings, including the house.  There is a moving truck sitting on the road outside my home containing her belongings.  I slam the door in her face and call the cops, explaining to them that hubby was her husband two husbands ago and she should have no claim.  In the day-mare I’m not on the deed, so the house isn’t automatically mine upon his passing.  By law it would go mostly to me and partially to his children.  The cops show up and talk to us both.  They explain the law and Joan starts to try to convince Jr. to claim his share so she can move in.

At this point, I somehow shake myself loose.  This day-mare is intensely real.  The emotions are vivid the images are live and in color.  It’s not an hallucination though.  It is indeed a daydream gone very far off the rails.  I’m shaking from the anger and fear and stress that I was feeling in the day-mare.  And it takes me hours to shake it.

Back to Thursday’s therapy session and Karen is looking up symptoms to see if this fits in anywhere or is an indication of something new emerging.  But she finds nothing.  So, she starts talking about my anger and stress.  And suddenly it floods out.  All the anger over Jr. staying here, basically on a vacation from life.  I’m dropping f-bombs every third word.  I’m yelling.  I want to work and can’t and he can and won’t.  He’s focused on all the wrong things in life.  There’s no reason to work hard and make a life for himself, because he can have fun and have Dad bail him out if it gets too rough.  A flood of anger and anxiety pour from me as she just sits and lets it happen.  Because it has to happen.  If the day-mares are going to stop, then this outpouring of rage is crucial.

I think that’s the most important part of therapy for me.  I have a safe place to just spew out all the garbage and someone there to either validate me or gently move me to a new understanding.  I know not everyone likes therapy, but it works great for me for that exact reason.  I have to let this stuff out to hubby in small doses.  He just can’t take the full brunt of my anger and stress.  But Karen can and does.

Let me know if you’ve experienced the phenomenon of day-mares and how you’ve coped.  I’d love to hear your experiences!

Advertisements

Suicide Fake-out?!

Someone I know just faked a suicide attempt.  She didn’t do anything, she just told people that she did.  The presumed reason was to get people to feel sorry for her and to make one person in particular, feel horrible.

But it was a sham.

Now, as someone who has attempted once and been close 4 other times, this offends me to my core.  Here’s why.

First, any person who knows she was faking, is going to take an attempt by someone else, or her, with a grain of salt.  And a suicide attempt should NEVER be taken lightly.  This is serious business, and someone could easily lose their life if people around them have learned not to pay attention.

Second, this is a slap in the face to anyone who has ever attempted or gotten help before attempting.  This is making light of the situation that many people suffer through every single day.  I don’t even know how many people attempted suicide today, but their suffering is somehow lessened in the minds of the people who know this girl.

Third is stigma.  Stigma is always present.  We don’t need fake suicide attempts.  That increases stigma in the minds of the people who know her and that stigma is passed along as the story gets passed along.

This girl obviously needs some help.  She’s obviously suffering, and I feel badly about that.  But to utilize something so serious, just to make someone else suffer, is actually making the rest of us suffer.  No one ever told the object of her false attempt, so he’s not suffering because of it.  But, if he found out, and found out it was false, then the lack of belief of a true attempt would grow in him as well.

Be on the lookout for those who don’t believe real attempts because they’ve been fooled.  Make sure they know that just because they’ve been fooled, EVERY possible attempt should be taken seriously.

 

 

Being Brave

Last night I met a man I’ll call Bob.  Bob and I were both at a political/social meeting and got to talking about mental illness.

It turns out that Bob, who’s about 60, grew up painfully shy.  The kind of shy that attracts bullies and attract them he did.  He grew up, avoiding social situations, avoiding being trapped anywhere, and having few friends.

But, about 10 years ago the local hospital was running a research study about Social Anxiety.  Bob read the symptoms and had a eureka moment.  All of those symptoms described him to a T.

This is where Bob got brave.  He made the phone call.  He joined the study.  He learned that he’s had, all his life, a severe social anxiety disorder.  He got medication.  He took it and he began to take in the world in a completely new way.

Don’t get me wrong.  Bob isn’t cured.  He’ll never be cured, just as I’ll never be cured from my bipolar.  But, Bob took a step that has helped him live life a little fuller.  Prior to the study, he never would have shown up last night.  But, he did.  And he enjoyed himself.

There are a lot of ways to be brave with a mental illness.  Just accepting the fact that you have one is brave.  You don’t have to like it, just accept it.

Taking your medication is brave.  You’re trying to get to a point where you feel better.

Sometimes, just getting out of bed in the morning is brave.

Be brave today.  In any way.

Peace & Love

Hypomaniac

Tags

, , , , , ,

Yes, you read that right.  I say it that way because it’s how I felt.

So much energy and no focus.  I bop from task to task, finishing but a few.  Most are left in various states of completion.

The energy pulsing through my body is not the normal kind of energy that gives most the ability to complete tasks.  This is a thrumming.  My whole body vibrates.  I seek out tasks not because I want to get a bunch of things done, but because hopefully one of those tasks will take away this feeling.  If I can find just the right thing to do, maybe the thrumming will stop.

It doesn’t of course.  There is no “right task” to stop the vibrations.  They are just there.  And they will remain there until THEY decide to go away and give me some peace.

I harbor a sort of jealousy towards people who are artistic.  I read so often about how, when hypomania strikes they are able to paint and draw and do whatever artistic thing they do.  I am not artistic.  Yes, I can write a decent blog post, but not when hypomania strikes.  I swore here that I would come back and write when I was no longer hypomanic.  But, I guess I lied, because here I am trying to get this out while my body thrums from hypomania.

My psychiatrist has been messing with my meds recently.  I’ve been too tired, too hypomanic, too anxious.  It’s looking like in order to keep the hypomania down, I’m going to have to suck up the anxiety.  I’m taking a new medication called Vraylar.  It works great for the hypomania at 3 mg at night, but makes me unbelieveably tired the next day.  But at 1.5 mg it doesn’t do enough to take away the hypomania.   On the days I take 1.5 mg at night I can take my klonopin the next day for anxiety.  But on the other days, I can’t, because I’m already so tired.

So, I’m either hypomanic, or not but unable to treat my anxiety unless I don’t mind sleeping all day.

So, for today, I’m hypomanic, but can treat my anxiety.  YAY!

My new favorite shirt for hypo days.

Stop Talking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holy Hypomania!

I’ve been sitting here with my head in my hands trying not to cry.  Hypomania is back.  I got a one day respite (sort of) from my one week stint of severe hypomania.  I managed to book an emergency appointment with pdoc, so lucky, and she upped my mania medication.  And it worked.  For. One. Day.

Now, I’ve been up for hours giving me a total of 5 hours and change that I actually slept last night.  That’s not enough for a normal human, let alone one like me.  Hopefully, I’ll get a nap, but I seriously doubt it.

So far today, I’ve written in my “Blog Ideas & Thoughts” book, my “Political” book, my “Reminder” notebook and my “Therapy and Mood Notes” book.  I didn’t even have this many books until this morning.  I like the way it’s organized but I think the OCD tendencies have slipped some.  My “Blog Ideas & Thoughts” book has some interesting notes on racing thoughts, but I’ll get to that later.  In fact, every book has something in it.
I need my husband to get up.  Conversation with him really does help, at least most of the time.  But, I hear him snoring away, so it may be awhile.

In the meantime, I want to start every project under the sea.  I’m forcing myself to do this, but I could be clipping coupons or cleaning the desk or cleaning the shelves or cleaning the bathroom floor or watering/weeding my garden or any number of things from baking a cake to getting a shower.

The list is exhausting and random and I will do it till I’m exhausted and I will do it randomly.  And I will end the day feeling as though I got nothing done.  Which is almost the worst part.

Well, the worst part except for the lack of focus, and the irritability and the “I’m so tired I’m going to cry” parts.  They suck too.

There’s a lot more to say about hypomania, but it’s going to have to wait until I’m not hypomanic anymore.

 

 

 

The Red Thread

Tags

, , , , , , ,

As I come closer to the one year anniversary of my most recent hospitalization for active suicidal ideation, my thoughts turn to what keeps stopping me from killing myself and how exactly it is that I manage to get help.  After all, I’m not the only one with this problem, and I already know too many who have not gotten help and committed suicide.

The reasons that I moved from fine, to passive thoughts of suicide to active suicidal thoughts aren’t incredibly important, but I’ll give you a quick run-down.  I say that these things aren’t incredibly important because the people in this story are not at fault.  My bipolar/depressed/anxious brain is at fault.

However, last year we opened our home to my husband’s son, my stepson.  My Mother-in-law had moved in 2 years before and our small home was already stretched to it’s limits.  However, my step-son had nowhere else to go, so we took him in.

Now, my stepson had his own pile of problems and the codependent part of me wanted to help fix them.  My husband and I had many disagreements on the right course of action and I felt rather powerless to do anything.  Until he got a job, my stepson planted himself on the couch all day, every day.  Once he got a job, we became his personal Uber service.

My nerves were stretched thin enough to use as strings for a guitar.  And then the depression set in.  It started as a feeling of uselessness, but the depression gained ground and started pushing me further and further down until I began to have passive suicidal thoughts.  I had no plan of action to kill myself, but the thoughts kept going through my brain.

When I mentioned these thoughts to my therapist, she upped my weekly visits from two to three. This kept me from going further into the ravine of depression for a couple of weeks.

However, yet one more argument between my husband and I sealed the deal.  I explained about the suicidal thoughts.  He told me that I needed to change my attitude or I would never feel better.  Again, not his fault.  He was terrified.  And his fear always presents as frustration or anger.  So, not his fault.  Not the most helpful piece of advice, but still, not his fault that I ended up where I did.

The worst day was July 1, 2016.  I woke up barely able to get out of bed.   But, anxiety forced me up to make coffee.  It was probably also the co-dependent side as well, because I couldn’t have my husband get up to no coffee.  My step-son was asleep on the couch.

When my husband finally does get up the silence between us is deafening.  Our conflicting ideas about what to do with my stepson, and his terror over my suicidal thoughts keep us quiet.

I rifle through my coping skills toolbox.  I don’t have enough concentration to color.  Or read.  Or write.  I can’t be bothered to weed the garden.  Nothing is working.  All of my tried and true coping skills are failing me all at once.  I don’t even have it in me to watch TV.  I tell my husband that it’s getting bad.  I don’t think I’m going to make it through today.  He reminds me that if I continue to think this way then that’s exactly what’s going to happen.  Looking back, I know that he was frantic.  At the time, I felt like the weight of me that he wore around his neck was just getting heavier.  Wouldn’t he be better off without a sick wife?  The worry could end.  The endless doctor visits and medication changes and refills would end.  There would be no guessing my mood and trying to adapt.  He would get that life insurance money from the policy he has on me through work.  He could pay off the house.  He could pay off the medical bills.  He could have money left over to supplement his paycheck.  The only paycheck that funds the lives of 4 people.  Because I can’t work.  Because the doctors say it will only propel me to this place I’m crashing towards anyway.

Active Suicidal Ideation.  Now, I have a plan.

A pair of scissors sits on the bathroom vanity, taunting me with my inability to just open a vein.  My plan of choice this time is my medication.  The very medication that is supposed to keep me together is now going to be my way out.

But out of the corner of my brain’s eye, I see the red thread.  I believe in God, so I choose to believe that He puts it there as my choice.  My choice to give in or to fight.  You may believe differently about how that choice comes to be, as long as you see the choice if this time ever comes to you.

I reach out and touch the red thread.  And I instantly know I need to lock up my medications.  So, into the safe they go.  Lock the safe.

I’m the only one with the combination.  So, probably not super helpful, but better than nothing.

I touch the red thread again.   And this time I go to the only place that I know I will be safe.  The pool.  I know I cannot drown myself.

I sit out there for a little while, but the craving to end my life is so strong.  I touch the red thread.  This time, I go back to the house and grab a couple of the cigarettes that I rolled for hubby.  I don’t smoke anymore.  I haven’t smoked for almost 2 years.  But the need to kill myself is too strong.  I need to occupy my hands.  So, I smoke.

It’s not helping.

I touch the red thread.  I call my therapist.  She doesn’t have a receptionist so I end up in voicemail.  I leave her a message, through tears, that I want to kill myself so badly.  My coping skills are not working.  I’m sitting by the pool, because I know I can’t drown myself.  I’m smoking.  Please call me back.

But, in my heart, I know she’s in session and won’t get back to me for a couple of hours at least.   Hubby comes out to let me know he’s leaving for work.   He works second shift and once he leaves, he won’t be back until midnight.  I tell him I’ve called Karen.  He says good and he leaves.  He takes my stepson to work when he goes.

And now I’m alone with my Mother in Law.  And I’m suicidal.  And my therapist hasn’t called back.  But, I also realize something.  I’m no longer just reaching out to touch the red thread.  I’m holding it.  I’m climbing it.

I look up the number for the Psychiatric Hospital I stayed at 2 years ago.  I pick up the phone and put it down several times before I finally make the call.  I’m worried they won’t believe me.  I’m worried I will have to try to convince them.  I speak with the intake nurse and she is kind to me.  I tell her that I want to kill myself and the steps I’ve taken to not attempt.

She says come in right away.

I call my therapist and leave a voicemail updating her on my new plan.  The plan where I will not take my life but will get help instead.

I go to pack a bag.  I know from repeated experience that I can take nothing with me with laces or drawstrings but it’s all I own.  So, I pack the clothes that I don’t mind the drawstrings being cut out of, pull on my slippers and prepare to go.

But, I haven’t taken my Mother in Law into account.  She insists that I’m not to leave the house.  Hubby told her what was going on and I’m not to drive.  An argument that, at the time, is unbelievable to me ensues.  I’m 46 years old and if I want to leave the house I will not be stopped by her.  But, I understand now.  Fear drives her.

But, the red thread is now driving me.  I will not be stopped from getting help.

I call a cab.

At the hospital, I meet the nurse I spoke with on the phone.  Questions upon questions upon questions need to be answered.  But, my therapist has called ahead and told them not only to expect me, but that I need to be admitted.  I’m beyond grateful for the wheels that have been greased.  I don’t have to prove myself.

She takes me to the ward and gets me checked in there.  I feel conspicuous as I sit at the nurse’s station getting the drawstrings cut from my pants and filling out forms.  People are staring, but I refuse to look up.  These people are going to be my whole world for the next 7 days, but I’m not ready to meet their eyes yet.

I stay for a week.

I reset to factory defaults.

I begin to see how my husband’s anger was born of worry for me and his own stress over his son living with us.

I begin to see how to express my concerns about my stepson.

I begin to plan my new daily schedule for home to take into account my stepson’s presence.

I reload my coping skills toolbox.

I live.

Suicidal ideation is not selfish.  None of what I felt on July 1 and the days leading up was about me feeling more comfortable.  It was about a sense of uselessness.  It was about knowing with absolute certainty that those I love would be better off without me.  It was about knowing that my bipolar will always be here with me, but my husband shouldn’t have his life made harder because of that.  And it was about an absolute certainty that the lives of my loved ones would be easier without me.  Packing a bag and moving out wasn’t the answer.  Because my husband would have to continue to deal with me and my bipolar.  Death was the only answer.  It was the only way to free HIM.

Looking back, I see the fear that I thought was anger.  I see the stress that I read as hate.  But, I was wrong about all of it.  Suicidal ideation will always have you read a room wrong.

But, the red thread led me through to help.  Whether you believe that the red thread is divine, as I do, or not, simply doesn’t matter.  The only thing that matters is that the red thread exists.

I urge you, the next time active suicidal ideation rears it’s ugly head, to grab that thread.  Grab it with all your might and don’t let go.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1-800-273-8255

Be Safe

 

 

Five days

Industrial lawn mowers mowing.  Making noise.  Assaulting my ears.

Fresh cut grass.  Making dust.  Assaulting my allergies.

People talking.  Making noise.  More assault on my ears.

Now there’s neighbors here.  More talking!!!!  More noise!!!  My ears!!!

Valium on board and useless.

Homesickness assaults my heart.  I miss my husband.  I miss my house.  I miss my quiet.

Oh look, another neighbor!  Holy shit I may tear my ears off.

The talking, the complaining, the ‘nice to meet you’s’ is literally killing me.

Sleep has eluded me for days.  I know that’s a bad thing.  I know that makes this worse.

I know that bipolar and lack of sleep is a shitty combination.  I know it, but I can’t help it.

I take my meds.  I won’t stay asleep.  I suspect it’s the absence of my husband.

Five days ’till hubby.

Five days ’till a solid hug.

Five days ’till someone who understands will stand in front of me and tell me it’s ok.

Five days ’till someone will be the intermediary of these problems.

Five days ’till someone will know the signs of my anxiety and hypomania and depression.

Five days ’till.

Five days.

So what IS Bipolar anyway?

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Yesterday I wrote a post about how people in the mainstream can misunderstand what bipolar is.  But what is bipolar?

The National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) gives a nice clinical explanation here.

But, how does that explanation translate to what those of us who have bipolar feel on a daily basis?  How does it explain our daily lives?

It doesn’t.

It’s clinical.  And that’s ok.  It should be clinical.  But, it doesn’t describe the true challenges.

I’m medicated.  Heavily in fact.  And, yet, I still experience the symptoms of bipolar on a daily basis. Because I’m treatment resistant, sometimes called medication resistant.  What that means is that my body will not process the necessary medications properly, and either the dosages or the medications themselves have to be changed frequently.

I don’t work.  I can’t work.  A therapist, psychiatrist, forensic psychologist, vocational expert and a judge have all deemed that work is impossible given my limitations.  I am officially disabled according to the Federal Government.  It took two and a half years, but I got there.

I don’t know what I’m going to be experiencing from one day to the next.  I spend a lot of time isolating myself from others, either because I’m too depressed to handle interpersonal interactions, or because I’m incredibly aggravated from the symptoms of hypomania.  Some days depression will keep me in bed all day, even though I’m on antidepressants.  Some days hypomania will have me running around the house at a high rate of speed, partially accomplishing many tasks.

Some days I experience both, in a back and forth pattern.  Some days I experience both at the same time.  Both at the same time is the weirdest feeling in the world.  Tons of energy, tons of irritation and an uncontrollable emptiness all at the same time.

I have experienced mania a few times.  It’s hypomania on speed.  I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I couldn’t stop moving and doing.  I’m grateful that I didn’t experience the very harsh side effects of mania such as overspending and hypersexuality.  But, I also had the outlet of a fast paced, time intensive job and a home that needed work.  I hope to never experience mania again.  I pray every day that my medications will at least keep me from that.

Imagine that you wake up.  You have an incredible amount of energy and it feels so good.  You start working on a project with your spouse that you both want to do and that will be so wonderful when it’s done. In my most recent case this was to get a flower bed planted.  You take to this project with gusto.  But you push yourself way beyond the boundaries of what you are really capable of.  But, you don’t care.  You keep going.  You sweat, but don’t drink water.  You dig, you plant flowers, you constantly move away to make sure that everything is just perfect.  When everything is in, you don’t take the time to appreciate what you’ve accomplished.  You start moving tools that you have no business lifting, because you still have so much energy.  When everything is put away, you still can’t enjoy the fruits of your way overdone labor, because you must start doing something else right away.  Too much energy in your body and it must be expended.  But, at the same time you’re irritated.  The conversation necessary to get this done grates on your nerves.  Other people’s voices make you want to rip your ears off even though you love the people who are talking.

This is hypomania.  Energized, but pissed.

Now imagine after all this is done you suddenly crash.  You still don’t care about the fruits of your labor, because it means nothing to you anymore.  The emptiness swallows you whole.  You can’t talk.  You can barely move, if you’re lucky.  The pretty flowers and the work that it took to make it happen are things that you can’t bring yourself to care about.  All you know now, is that no one cares that you helped.   It doesn’t matter that it looks beautiful.  It’s all going to die anyway.  But, people still want to talk to you.  Of course they do, they love you.  But you can’t care.  The voices still irritate you and as you sit there in a state of desperation and loneliness, and emptiness, you also start to get annoyed again.  Why must they talk about the accomplishment?  Who cares?  You don’t.  Why do they have to keep talking about how pretty it all is?

This is depression.  Emptiness, loneliness and so many untrue thoughts that your brain pushes you into believing all with an absolute crushing lack of energy.

This scenario actually played out with me a couple of weeks ago.  It’s called a mixed episode.  Mine was also accompanied by a heavy load of anxiety.  I don’t know why I was anxious.  There was no reason to be anxious.  There usually isn’t, but I experience it every single day, usually all day.

I’ve been hospitalized for my depression four times in the last six years.  Depression will take you to places that you would never be able to think possible when you are feeling ok.  Depression will make you believe that no one loves you, no one wants you around, you are a terrible burden on those people who are barely tolerating you as it is.  The loneliness sinks in, the lack of energy becomes worse and worse, until you literally can’t get out of bed to do anything but go to the bathroom and even that takes everything you have.  You start to realize that everyone that you love would be better off if you weren’t around.  And you believe this intensely.  And you start to plan.  How best to kill yourself becomes the all consuming part of this severe part of depression.  My plans usually revolve around talking all of my medication, but one time I planned to drive my car into a tree at a high rate of speed.  All of the things that you are thinking, are of course false.  And there is a thread in the middle of this chaos that tells you your brain is bullshitting you.  So far, I have been very lucky to be able to grasp that thread and get help.  Not everyone is so lucky.

This condition used to be referred to as a Nervous Breakdown.  However, often is is now called a Major Depressive Episode.  41,000 people a year commit suicide.  90% of them suffer from mental illness.

As I end this post with the most depressing part, please let me implore you.  If you are asked for help for suicidal thoughts…HELP.  Sit with the person, understanding that you can’t talk their brain out of the false thoughts.  Hold their hand, hug them, whatever they will allow.  Take them to a crisis center or a mental health hospital and get them the help they need.  You can’t fix it, but you can get them to people who can.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline (US) 800-273-TALK (8255)

Peace & Love to all of you

 

 

Misunderstanding Bipolar Disorder

Tags

, , , , , ,

About 2 weeks ago I told someone I had bipolar disorder.  The response I received was ‘But you seem so intelligent’.

????

Okay.  I replied that bipolar disorder has nothing to do with intelligence but is in fact a mood disorder and is classified as a mental illness.  A couple of questions followed from others in the room and I answered them all to the best of my ability.  I explained that I am, in fact, quite intelligent but I have memory problems due to my medications.  In fact, I explained quite a lot of things.

But, here’s the thing.  Those of us with bipolar disorder are automatically tasked with explaining it.  We hate the stigma.  But the stigma exists because of the lack of understanding in the “normal” population.  And if we don’t explain it, than who will?  No one.  There is no one else in a better position to explain bipolar disorder then those of us who suffer with it.  Of course, that’s ridiculously unfair, because many of us have trouble just making it through the day.  But, it doesn’t matter that it’s unfair.  It is what it is.

I have “come out” a lot recently.  I’ve decided that I don’t care what someone thinks of me because of my bipolar.  If they can’t see past it, then that’s their problem.  Of course, the co-dependency that exists in many of us makes it incredibly difficult to let someone walk away from us because of our disease.  And, of course, it’s ridiculously unfair for someone to do that.  But, I’ve come to realize that it’s a risk, and it’s possible that I will lose people in my life because of it.

So far, so good.

The person who exclaimed that he couldn’t believe it because I seemed so intelligent listened patiently as I explained the broader strokes of bipolar.  And, I’m happy to say that he is not only still in my life, but now has a much better understanding of my condition then he did the day he found out about it.

A lot of the reason that I have decided to speak out about my bipolar is because of the new proposed health care laws.  If you haven’t been keeping up, this is the time to start.  Medicaid recipients stand to lose all mental health benefits if their states ask the Federal Government for a waiver of the “Essential Health Benefits“.  In poor states, like mine, that waiver will almost surely be asked for and granted.

Now, the Senate is working on their own bill, and we don’t really know what it’s going to say yet.  But, I began speaking out for fear of those on Medicaid who are mentally ill.  I have spoken at rallies, I have spoken to the press.  And I will continue to do so.  I’m outing myself publicly to protect those less fortunate than I am.   And, ultimately, to protect myself from hostile stigma that’s sure to be coming my way.

Educate those around you.  If you have the ability, educate your Members of Congress.

Stigma will never go away until those of us with the power to explain the illness actually start standing up and doing so, no matter the cost to personal relationships.  It’s not easy, it’s often extremely difficult.

But it’s so very very important.

 

Love and Peace to you all.

The Bipolar Slur

Tags

, , , , ,

I wrote this yesterday in a high hypomanic state.  I left it for a day to see if it would still make sense when my mood wasn’t so elevated.  With a lot of spelling and grammar corrections, it seems to be pretty good to me.  

 

Most people who use the word bipolar as a slur are trying to say that someone’s moods are switching too fast.  But, using is that way is a slur.  It might be a way of describing that someone can’t make up their mind.  It may suggest that a person acts one way in a certain situation and another way in a different situation.  Or it may suggest that a person seems happy one moment and not so much the next moment.  But, bipolar is a very real, very serious mental health diagnosis that causes constant suffering for most of the afflicted.

Since my diagnosis, I have noticed this slur more often.  It’s probably the same thing that pregnant women go through when suddenly it seems like every woman they see is pregnant.  I see this on Facebook, I hear it in conversation.  Last year, I heard a NASCAR driver refer to another driver as bipolar because the first driver was angry with the second driver.  The weather is NOT bipolar.  It does what it does because of the jet stream and other factors.

There are a lot of different ways people experience bipolar.  But, I’m only going to deal with depression and hypomania right now, because that’s what I’m experiencing.

Today I’m in a high hypomanic state, so I have a lot of energy.  However, that energy is unfocused, and as much as I try to bend it to my will, I always fail.  My brain is running so fast that I can’t even keep up.  I can say that there is a rapidly running list of all the things that I wish to accomplish, various song snippets and oddly enough single words punctuate the din.  Today, that word is Mog.  It’s from a book that I’m reading, or trying to anyway.  So, my list runs through my brain, song snippets punch their way through and every so often I hear “Mog”.   It’s a very odd sensation to have all of this going through my brain all at the same time.  It’s like a tornado.  I hear the roar of all the thoughts swirling around constantly,  never stopping.  Occasionally one of the song snippets, or words or things I want to do pop out of the noise, only to be immediately sucked back in.  I can’t grab onto anything for more the a millisecond and it’s gone again.

But that’s today.

And yesterday.

But I want to talk about the slur.  Ultradian cycling is where I believe that the slur “bipolar” comes from.   Ultradian cycling, or ultra-ultra rapid cycling is when the hypomanic state I described above switches back and forth with depression up to several times in one day.  I have experienced this state for 3 days in a row this week.  At one point, I was actually experiencing hypomania and depression at the same time.  So I had a lot of energy, but my mood was very low and I didn’t want to do anything.  But the hypomania tried to override the depression with its energy and need to move move move.  That is a hard way to spend the day.

Experiencing ultradian cycling, well, there’s no way that I could describe it that makes any sense.  The level of noise in my head doesn’t stop.  But, one minute I can barely get off the couch no matter how much I want to, and 15 minutes later I’m agitated, and energized, but unfocused and useless.  This type of existence is so difficult.  Imagine having your brain never be quiet.  Imagine having more energy then you have on a regular day, but being unable to focus it.  If someone has the misfortune to start to talk to you, they will find a never-ending stream of things that you feel you must talk about right now.  But, you don’t make a lot of sense, because you’re too unfocused and you bounce from subject to subject.  Tasks are left half done because the level of concentration needed to finish one thing before moving on to the next just isn’t there.  And then, mid-task, the energy just dissipates.  Your body becomes sore for no reason that you can figure.  But, it’s the depression.  The depression makes your body hurt, although it does nothing for the raging tornado of thoughts in your head.  But, now, you must sit.  You can’t talk to anyone without great effort, because with depression, and hypomania, come anxiety.  The sound of other voices grate on your nerves.  The realization that you are getting nothing done grates on your nerves.  Then the guilt starts to creep in.  You’re being useless, but you just can’t move.  Or if you can move, it takes every last bit of energy you have to do so.  You plaster a smile on your face, because you should.  You don’t want your family to worry.  You try to engage in conversation if you absolutely have to, but you don’t want to.  It takes so much energy to hold a conversation.  Never in your life you would have felt that a conversation would take so much energy.  But, it doesn’t matter, because you’re bouncing back to hypomania now and the energy starts to flow.

Living like this is hard.  Living like this is harder than I ever could have imagined.  I never in my wildest dreams thought that it could take so much energy to just exist.  To just have a nice conversation.  To go to a fair with my family.  To go grocery shopping.  To pick up my prescriptions. None of these things are hard for a normal person, but depression makes them almost impossible.

I’m prone to these ultradian cycles.   It happens a couple of times a year at least.

This is a short bit of what it’s like to live with bipolar disorder and especially ultradian cycling.  I ask only that before you allow the words “S(he)’s so bipolar, that you consider what it’s actually like to live with bipolar.  You are not hurting the person you are calling bipolar, but you are hurting the people like me who struggle every single day just to make it through.