Somewhere In The Middle?

Somewhere In The Middle?

Individuals with bipolar disorder can have either manic, depressed, or mixed episodes. I’m used to those; I’ve had each of those episodes many times. Right now, I feel like I’m somewhere in the middle of everything. I think I’m closer to depression at this time. My usual depressions include an inability to complete tasks such as cooking and cleaning, I sleep a lot, and I also fail to have good hygiene. I’m still having the suicidal ideations that go along with the depression and the lack of desire for almost anything, but none of the symptoms that I just listed. I’m not happy, but am I depressed? I know I don’t feel good, but I do feel better today than the last few days. Maybe it’s just going to pass by.

So where does that put me? I don’t think it’s a mixed episode, I’ve had plenty of those and none of them were like this. Maybe this is just me trying to get out of the depression I’ve been struggling in for about six months. I suppose I’ll find out on Wednesday when I go to see my psychiatrist.

The First Downfall – My Life: Part 3

The First Downfall – My Life: Part 3

Just before I turned 17, I met a guy and was immediately attracted to him. Jared had a personality that was appealing to many. He made friends with people easily, but he only let them see the side of his personality that he wanted them to see. For the first couple months of our relationship, he only let me see positive traits. Once we moved in together, everything changed. He became physically and emotionally abusive. He would tell me when I could see my friends. I had to have dinner on the table when he got home, or else. We did a lot of drugs together. I fell for every trick he played and didn’t stand up for myself at all. He had me convinced that I was lucky to have him; he made me believe that no one else would want me. The worst part of it all is that he broke up with me. He said I wasn’t happy anymore. I remember telling him he would regret it. I was devastated. I don’t know why I was so hung up on a guy that treated me like crap, but I was.

At a party, I met a guy who was so sweet. Chris was the exact opposite of Jared, except for the drug use. I started smoking crack when I met Chris. Jared tried to get back together with me, but I finally stood up for myself and told him no. Jared started stalking me at that point, so I became terrified for my safety even more than I already was. Chris and I dated for several months. He kept talking about getting sober, but I wasn’t ready for that. I was completely addicted to crack that it came before everything. I was even with Chris getting high instead of being at the hospital when my dad died. That is one of the biggest regrets I have. Chris ended up getting killed only a few months after we met.

The loss of my father was exceedingly difficult, even though I knew for years that it was coming. He had been sick for many years with cancer and kidney failure. He ended up dying from an infection on October 10th, 2003. He was in the ICU for a while before his death. I miss my father and think of him every day. Losing him was like losing a part of myself. I wish I had been there to support my family, but I was too far into my addiction. I wish he could have seen me get sober.

My drug use was insane, I was almost always drunk or high on something. All of this made my mental health even worse. I was dealing with rapid cycling; I was either manic or depressed at all times. I didn’t want to spend much time with my friends, the few that I had left. All I wanted to do was die. This was probably my lowest point in life. I finally decided I wanted to quit drinking and using, but I couldn’t do it. I wished I was dead every day. I had lost so much in life, but the worst thing I lost was my self-respect.

One day, I had finally had enough. I went to my mom and told her I couldn’t take it anymore. I told her I needed to go back into the hospital. She told me that a behavioral health hospital would not fix things. I needed more than that; I needed to get sober. Apparently, she had already been looking at places to send me. She showed me some of the places she found. I was interested in this one place in Arizona; it was a year-long in-patient treatment center. It treated drug and alcohol abuse as well as mental health. I actually became excited; I finally felt a glimmer of hope. I was scared, but so enthused about the possibility of feeling better, that it actually lessened the fear. Most people don’t go to rehab willingly. I went not only willingly, but eagerly. I was also terrified; the thought of something new scared me, but the depression was so horrible that I felt my only other option was death.

Knowing Your Diagnosis

Knowing Your Diagnosis

Understanding your own mental health is extremely important. Even though most of us have some type of support system, knowing your own illness is the best way to take care of ourselves. I know that I am diagnosed with Bipolar 1. I have manic, depressive, and mixed episodes. While others may be able to see some of my symptoms, I try to be the first person that can see them. I am aware of the symptoms I exhibit for each type of episode. Knowing my symptoms helps me to catch my episodes before they get too far. Those that I’m close with, such as my husband, family, and best friend are also able to see my symptoms when they start to appear. I can ask these individuals for help to better maintain my mental health.

Hopefully, by paying attention, I will be the first to notice when I’m not sleeping, if I become obsessive, if I have racing thoughts, if I spend too much money, or become overly talkative. These are all signs that I’m becoming manic. I also hope to be the first to notice if I’m sleeping too much, if I feel pathetic or empty, if I cannot find pleasure in activities, if I gain weight, or if I start planning a suicide. These are all signs that a depression is coming. A mixture of these symptoms can mean a mixed episode is starting. I want to be the first to notice my symptoms so that I can get a jump-start on treating the symptoms and episode.

It’s not easy to know and understand your own mental health. Every person’s bipolar disorder is different. Each person has different symptoms occur, and each person has different ways they have found that treat their symptoms. Knowing your symptoms also allows the individual to contact their doctor so he/she can alter medication as necessary. Some of our episodes come from medication changes, from stressful events, from medical changes, or even from out of the blue. The sooner we begin to treat our episodes, and allow our doctors to treat us, the better off we will be. Success comes from knowledge of our own diagnoses.

Rapid Cycling

Rapid Cycling

Rapid cycling is described as a pattern in an individual’s bipolar disorder. The individual must experience at least four or more episodes in one year. These episodes can be either manic or depression, I’m not sure if mixed episodes count. My specific diagnosis is Bipolar 1, rapid cycling, with psychosis. Maybe, my previous post where I was wondering if I was crashing is just another part of my rapid cycling. That could be why it feels like my episodes come in waves; they happen so often I have a hard time keeping track of them all.

People who are rapid cyclers can still crash; I guess the crash just doesn’t last as long. However, rapid cycling is a diagnosis that is not necessarily permanent. It can change as time goes on. A person’s bipolar symptoms tend to change with time, generally based on their experiences and treatment. This makes it possible for the rapid cycling diagnosis to be temporary for most individuals, although the diagnosis can come and go.

I find rapid cycling difficult to manage. Just when it seems as if I’m getting a handle on current emotional status and its symptoms, my episode changes to something else. Lately, it’s changing slowing, which is nice, but it’s hard to keep up with. One day, I can be cleaning, getting stuff done, and reaching out to others, and then the next day I can’t get off the couch. It usually takes me a couple of days to mentally realize and accept my current state, and that is extremely difficult when things are always changing.

I have a couple of questions. Is it even possible to cycle daily or weekly? What I find tells me that rapid cyclers usually cycle at least four times a year. Are there any other individuals diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar? Do mixed episodes count towards rapid cycling? It would be great if anyone wanted to tell me about their experiences; I would appreciate hearing from you and finding out how often you cycle and how you handle your cycles.

What’s Coming? I Hope It’s Not A Crash

What’s Coming? I Hope It’s Not A Crash

I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’ve been manic lately; I’ve been in a mixed episode more or less. Everything changes day by day; whether or not I’m able to get things done, how much energy I have, my emotional state, how much I reach out to others, if I can complete my goals, and how impulsive I am. These are my major signs that show what state I’m in; manic, depressive, or mixed. Since I had an ECT treatment yesterday, I generally slow down for at least a few days as my body recovers.

When I’m manic or mixed, I tend to get a lot of household responsibilities done. I can go all day without stopping. I make sure that I can complete every goal I set out for myself. I can’t stand not being able to cross off every item on my to-do list. I also usually reach out to others, both friends and family, when I’m manic or mixed. I withdraw as the depression sets in. I usually don’t have elated feelings to begin with during mania or mixed episodes; I still tend to feel bad about myself, unable to see the good things that I have done.

Every day, I see certain symptoms changing. For example, today I’m having a hard time getting things done. It is the day right after ECT, so I’m trying to give myself a break, but reaching out to others is also very hard. I’m also feeling the emotional depressive symptoms, wishing I wasn’t around is a common feeling for me. I’m not sure if there’s a crash coming, or if I’m just reacting to life’s circumstances. The worst part, in my opinion, is I keep gaining weight. It’s been happening for a few months now. I’m up 30 pounds, and I don’t have the will power to fight it. I have been wondering what’s coming for a little while now. Sometimes I think my episodes happen in waves; often never-ending and they don’t often last long enough to realize what’s happening, which is an improvement from before, now that I think about it.

If this is a crash coming, then it’s probably the easiest one I’ve gone through. Or maybe the new medication, Clozapine, is helping ease the fall a little bit. Other times, I have spent all my money, gained 80 pounds, or withdrawn completely from my loved ones. I’m still productive, no matter how difficult it is, and I’m working at keeping my relationships healthy, which is extremely difficult for me. I’m still trying, that’s what matters. Maybe I should just be grateful that I am still able to work at it. When my depression hits, it doesn’t matter how hard I try, I still don’t get things done like I want to.

Bipolar Extremes: Finding Balance

Bipolar Extremes: Finding Balance

I tend to be quite the extremist when it comes to my mood swings. I either have so much energy that I can’t stop cleaning or I can barely get off the couch to get anything done. I will admit that I somewhat enjoy the first few days of my manic episodes. I love the fact that I can get so much done; my house looks beautiful, dinner is always ready for my husband, I find it easier to run errands, I call my family and friends to catch up, I need less sleep, and some things are less anxiety provoking than usual. I love all of that; if only it would stay that way, but it never does. I run out of things to do, I start pacing and shaking, I make random and inappropriate phone calls, and I spend money more freely than I usually would; these are just a few examples of my bipolar mania. Often, when I’m manic, I still feel pathetic, worthless, and insignificant, as well as deal with suicidal ideations. I think that some of these episodes are considered mixed episodes because of how badly I feel about myself; mania generally has feelings of elation.

As my manic episodes come to an end, I tend to crash hard. All of the sudden, I’m sleeping way more than I need, I have a hard time getting out of bed or getting up to do just about anything, and my feelings of worthlessness and uselessness grow even deeper along with my suicidal ideations. I never get a break from feeling horrible about myself, no matter what type of episode I’m in. While I like the productivity aspect of the mania, there is not one part of the depression that I enjoy. I wish there was a way that I could feel okay and still be productive, but I haven’t found one yet.

What I really want is to find some middle ground somewhere. I must have experienced it at some point during my life, but right now, I can’t remember any moment like that. Maybe it’s just because of my memory loss from ECT. I know that I have come out of a few major episodes before, but no matter how balanced I seem, there is always something going on in my head telling me how pathetic I am. I just have to trust that I have had balanced times in my life. This is where positive thinking comes into play. It’s not easy to be positive, but there are several techniques that I use to help me through these difficult times. None of these techniques are easy to do, but they are vital to our health.

Use these techniques to get past the bipolar extremes and find peace and balance in our lives:

  • Remember there is always hope; believe in that hope. If you can’t, having someone else believe for you can help. When I can’t, my husband and mother believe for me.
  • Reach out to your loved ones and caregivers.
  • Find a support group that you’re comfortable with.
  • Be 100% honest with your psychiatrist, otherwise they can’t help you.
  • Take your medication as directed, otherwise it won’t work properly.
  • Write down the different methods that help you feel better and worse so you know what to do and not to do in the future.

I Can’t Even Fake Okay

I Can’t Even Fake Okay

I couldn’t even fake being okay today. I tried, I seriously gave it my all, but between the emotional aspect and the physical side due to medication side effects, I was pretty much a wreck. There was a get-together at my mother-in-law’s house just because, basically to see our granddaughter. Technically, she’s my husband’s granddaughter, but I feel like she is mine as well, and step-granddaughter just sounds weird. She is 6 months old and absolutely beautiful. I wasn’t feeling very well today, I had a lot of physical weakness. I was too nervous to hold the baby because of the weakness; I didn’t want her to get hurt. I have dropped several things I was supposed to be holding, such as dinner bowls, I didn’t want her to be added to that list. So I didn’t have as much time with her as I wanted, and that breaks my heart.

I went to the family get-together in a difficult emotional state to begin with. Earlier in the day, someone seemed upset, so I asked if everything was okay. The response I got was that I ask too many questions and it can be frustrating. The way I took it is that I talk too much; my memory is horrible causing me to ask too many questions, and that I’m overall annoying. I’m sure it wasn’t meant like that, but this is where the bipolar kicks in; my mind always goes to the extremes. So I spent the rest of the day trying not to talk, which is extremely hard for me. My memory is horrible due to ECT and I talk so much and ask a lot of questions because of the bipolar mixed episode that I’ve been in. I guess I don’t take negative feedback very well.

I think it bothered me so much because I don’t feel like I have control over myself, my memory, how much I talk, or what I say. I tried my best to fake feeling happy. I would have tolerated being able to fake feeling okay, but I could barely even do that. I used to think that I could always fake being okay, but today proved that I’m wrong. I don’t want to annoy this person, but if today bothered them because of how much I was talking or asking questions, then I think it must bother them every day. All I can think is that I must annoy this person all the time. Every time I have started to open my mouth that was thought that went through my mind. So I’ve done my best to be quiet, although I know that’s not the best answer. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.