Friday, 23 December 2011

How do I feel today?

This is the perpetual question I find myself asking as a bipolar sufferer. If I feel good, is it inappropriate? Is it a mood swing? Do I ever get anything that I would consider "normal"? It is bad enough to suffer the stigma of others and society as a whole. We end up putting a lot of doubt onto ourselves. I have had a very long period of mostly anxiety and depression. I can't pinpoint it but started about May in 2010. I managed to get away on a vacation in October of that year. It was touch and go whether I went in the end but I went and enjoyed it. Apart from the vacation, I have suffered mostly from anxiety. When my mood switched suddenly to elated and then manic in January 2011, it is not surprising that it felt good. If you read my blog posts from January onwards, it shows how I became delusional. I thought I had found the "answer", some kind of Nirvana. I went for weeks on 2 hours sleep or less. The only saving grace is that I didn't leave the house. I confined my night time activity to the computer. Being awake all night became the "norm". I am not sure if anyone really recognised that I was sick. New friends probably couldn't tell. I still related to people including doctors and no one noticed. Unfortunately I had no regular contact with a cpn at this time. I made grand plans to visit friends in Canada and the USA. I arranged flights and hotels to make it more "real" when doubts crept in. I wasn't getting the encouragement I wanted from my friends. Nobody wants to tell a bipolar sufferer they are wrong. They just let them get on with it. The phrase "tough love" comes to mind. The longer the manic episode, the bigger and longer the crash. My crash came in April or May. The realization about the trip I had planned sank in. I had to dismantle the trip best I could despite entering a deep depression. I was so embarrassed to tell people that the trip was off, even though I knew they understood. This led to a bad period of anxiety and depression. In the lowest point, I attempted suicide. I got support from the crisis team and it got me past the crisis. It was only really deferred because I am only just getting past it. I seem to have rambled on. Blogging is so much easier when you are hypomanic. It may not make total sense but it flows easier. I was meaning to talk about the perception of friends and family to sufferers. It is understandable why they would back off when you are down. It is less understandable why they back off when your mood lifts. They seem to assume that you are ill ( as my wife did on occasions). She would blame any assertiveness on being manic. it was very frustrating and hard to combat. There is a middle ground called "NORMAL" even though we find it hard to define. Please give us a break. It is bad enough being bipolar without stigma, whether it is from society or self.

12 comments:

  1. Bury here, Clive. A very honest post that shows that you are "better" than you have been. Insight into oneself such as you have is rare, even for the mentally well (wherever they are). My bipolar (today I think that I'm not bipolar) is very different to yours, and I count my blessings that I have a faith, and a wife that make suicidal behaviour unlikely. I shouldn't say that - brain chemistry can change very quickly. I don't know what tomorrow will bring. Oh yes, I do - Christmas Eve - Bah humbug or Happy Christmas. Whichever.

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  2. Thank you for this. I just ran across your site. I feel the same way. I'm not always manic when I'm just content or happy. I know my personality. ;)
    I've struggled the last year and a half. Seems to be getting better. Still unemployed. But have a supportive husband when it comes to that. Even if I don't always feel so great about not having something for myself. I'm Hoping I'll get there. That's something I always wonder about. Do others not working feel confused on their purpose, or feel lame for not having a "so-called career" but ironically content with it at the same time. I strangely feel this way. I like it. But feel guilty sometimes. Worthless compared to others. But what IS right for this damn bipolar thing. I hope to retain anything I learn about me.
    Oh & does anyone do light therapy? what do you think?
    Thanks!!!

    Ok, rambling now. Go figure.
    Xo-Crystal
    bipolar 2--- still learning & trying to shred the anxiety & depression.
    I feel I'm getting better at being grateful for small things and appreciate little accomplishments. I really feel success of the world is just...well that. Of the world.

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  3. Hi Crystal, Thanks for the comment. It was one of my more rambling blog posts. I tend to do that when I am not {hypo)manic. I started to feel better about the time I wrote this blog post. It was about a week after starting risperidone and I had started taking my evening meds earlier. I also had a eureka moment where I realized I was sick of being sick. 20 months already!! That is the latest anxiety/depression period with a little mania in the middle. I have no idea what did the trick. I am a week away from the anniversary of going hypomanic on January 5th. I feel like I have gone full circle. I see my pdoc on the 5th, which is ironic. I feel let down by my pdoc and the "system". i have seen her all the way through this years crises and manias. I may not have asked for help, but that isn't uncommon. I think a suicide attempt was a big RED sign in May or June (I think). I hope my better mood stays around. I hope you have a good 2012. I plan to do so. I am due for a good year. 2010 and 2011 have rather sucked.
    {{{hugs]]] Clive xoxoxo

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  4. Your last words are the same for me! Last 2 years!
    Another thing you said about the date to the year made me think of this. I just got a new doc 2 weeks ago. Other was a joke. Ironically my long waited appointment fell on dec 15th. 1 year to the day of when I had a major depressive, awful episode that led me to take off to Santa Barbara for psych help! For the first time. I didn't even realize until I was in the office of my new dr. bizarre! Just like your story. So...that being said, must mean something good for us right. We can I only hope.
    Crystal
    Sending prayers your way ;)

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  5. I agree that it's easier to write when manic (or hypomanic in some people's case). I have a hard time writing when I'm anxious though. I can also write when I'm depressed. Some of my best writing comes when depressed.

    Your article is awesome. Looking forward to reading more from you in the future. Glad I found your blog!

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  6. As a fellow bipolar sufferer I can relate to feeling like I shouldn't be feeling good. It was normal for me to just stay in a perpetual state of depression and anxiety. I learned that this is not true and that there are ways to overcome the symptoms of bipolar. The website http://onlineceucredit.com/edu/social-work-ceus-ba offered a lot of great information about dealing with bipolar symptoms. Hope this is helpful to other bipolar patients out there.

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  7. The big trip you planned while you were in a confident state, only to be cancelled when you were in the 'down swing', is very typical of my life in general. I can totally relate to the embarrassment you suffered when you had to cancel the plans and apologize to your friends. Cleaning up the mess of mania is frustrating, and one can't help wonder why friends and family didn't stop you from taking such big steps or risks while manic. We can't blame our friends for our illness, but the "tough love" that you mentioned can help us out when we're about to make a huge mistake. I, too, don't know why friends can't just say, "Yo, dude, you might be biting off more than you can chew," and save you a lot of grief down the road. Of course, confronting a super-confident, loud, manic person is intimidating, but a simple heads-up might be all that is needed.

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  8. I hope you're doing okay in 2012.

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  9. Hope you are doing well my friend. I enjoyed your post and relate very much with how it feels when someone will pull the your acting this way because your bipolar. I have had an ex say to me once that your acting real bipolar right now when I also was just asserting myself. I was being me!

    What is feeling normal? I have lost any real conception of what that means for me anymore. I deal with long lasting depressive cycles. When suddenly I feel what I use to determine as feeling like my old self happy and energetic, am I really just in my manic phase?

    It is what it is so I just continue to chug along in life and try and enjoy each minute of each day the best that I can.

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