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When you say it's gonna happen now - well, when exactly do you mean?

by Storm&stress on 4 November 2010

Well - I suspect you've all been waiting, on the very edge of your seats ...

 

The results of the assessment suggest strong reason to believe that I live with Bipolar type II disorder. Well, you could've knocked me down with a feather.

Funnily, I spoke to my Mum the same night I found out. She said "I wouldn't be surprised - bipolar runs in the family. What do you think my mother received ECT for in the fifties?". A cold shiver ran through me, because of the barbarism. Now, the thing I want to very VERY lightly touch upon is that we don't acknowledge this woman as my "grandmother". She is not a nice woman, and she was not nice to her children, and therefore doesn't deserve the title. However, the chill that ran through me was also because of the strong family link. I thought, am I going to have bipolar children? Is this a cycle that can never break?

I remember my therapist telling me that the cycle is easy to break; it's about attitudes to mental health and cognitive behavioural therapy etc... however I'm starting to feel disillusioned as in her two years of knowing me as well as she does, and her even presenting me with charts that showed candidly my frenetic moods, and her even explaining to me once "The nature of your illness is that it's cyclical..." but never mentioned to me that I might be bipolar, seemed a bit uncaring to me. But then I don't want to say anything bad about her.

As you know from my last post, I had hit a wall and was starting to feel very depressed. I'm in an interesting part of the cycle now, one which I can never understand. The mania came, the depression came, and now we're in a bit of both. My motivation to get out of bed in the morning is virtually zero, but when I force myself too in order to stay healthy, I find it swings me into an over-enthusiastic, nervous mood, whereby I feel out of control and scared, almost like I'm aware that the world is spinning and concerned I might fall off. Today I took money out of the bank to replace my broken hairdryer, and I felt guilty. I actually felt guilty, and felt guilty all day. The hairdryer was the cheapest I could find at £7.99. We're not poor anymore, so I don't know what happened there. It's funny, I thought, because this time, I probably would've bought curling irons, hair tonic, hairspray, clips and dye to go with it, without even thinking about it. Then I would have gone home and reinvented myself, and then written some songs and bought a new instrument on which to play them.

The reason I'm writing I suppose is regarding medication. My doctor told me it's not absolutely necessary and it's my choice, so I outright said no. My experience with medication has been so far awful. Antidepressants throw me into an anxious hypomania; antipsychotics simply make me sleep. Diazepam works when it needs to, and I suppose fluoxetine was the least offensive of all the anitdepressants I tried. But I'd never been offered mood-stabilisers seriously before, because nobody knew that's what I needed.
The thing about bipolar disorder is that it often marrs your vision of what life is. I am easily frustrated, because my moods are quick to shift. Sometimes I feel dissatisfied with the world, and I expect my friends and family to have the same bizarre flights of fancy that I do - "Oh, take a bloody RISK for once!" I find myself saying. Then I realise, that not everyone is me. Not everyone is blessed / cursed with manic depression. The mania hurts everyone but me, the depression hurts everyone AND me, and the mixed episode that comes last only hurts me. And I wondered, because I'm in the mixed state now, and ALL I've been thinking is that my mind seems literally duller. My speech seems literally slow. My thoughts are much slower too, and also I feel like I've been quietened - recently when someone talks to me, the first sentences are hard to get out. They come out as a whisper, and I've been avoiding the phone too. A few weeks ago I was gabbing away to anyone who'd listen. So I wondered - if I had no experience or even recent recollection of mania, I wouldn't know what I was missing. I'd be *normal*, I'd be living my life the way that everybody else does. I wouldn't know what I was capable of, because my mind wouldn't swing in this manic depressive way. Medication would take the moods away - would it also make me eventually ignorant enough to not care about the manias? Is that what I need - ignorance?
I saw that documentary, you know, the Stephen Fry one. Fry made a point of asking all of the people he interviewed - "If I had a button you could press, which would take your manic depression away, would you want me to press it?" and most of them replied "No." on the grounds that it shaped them ,and that the highs were well worth the lows. I wondered today, is that me? Is my life always going to be relatively hard but richly rewarded with bursts of unknown creativity? Or can it only get worse from here? Will the manias become psychotic? Will the depressions become too much to handle? Will they cycle more rapidly? Is it going to get worse than this?

So, I'm throwing this open. Any Bipolar IIs out there want to throw in their two cents? Medicated and unmedicated. See, I'm wondering if it's worth working closely with my doctor to set up a crisis plan for emergency medication (i.e quetiapine, diazepam, etc) if things get too much. Is this just an idealistic dream? What is it *really* like?

 

Sian

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dizzygirl said on 4 November 2010

ow wow StorM and Stress, that was an interesting posting, i havent met you yet, so hi, but wow, so revealing.   so much so that i am buzzing with asking you things, in order to understand myself and my daughter.  if that is at all possible.  you see i bought up my children but circumstances mean i am not in the same contact with them, and this distresses me major....on a scale where i am distressed every day, a good part of the day.  but not only this, my daughter herself possibly has bipolar, its been bandied about and what i have read myself i would say this is highly likely.  i have been diagnosed with borderline ... so there you go, a lethal mix in some ways, but for most of her development, i was extremely close to my child particularly and to know find that i can hardly communicate with her, or her with me, and not only that, for neither of us to have made progress or have much support for any progress....

what lifted you off the page, for me, was the connection to a family member...namely grandmother, and the distinction you made about this connection

i would say this is how our family does or does not as the case is, connects (or not)

we have history, of mental health, but again, like you, its not discussed, hush hush etc.  so its patchy for me, its only memories, i know my grandmother was alike me in many ways, this is not saying confined to personality, but traits as well .. ie say if you mimic a movement/action....then my mum and i ... huge discrepancy, have never been able to get on, and a younger sister who suffered post natal and had to have ECT...as you say - barbaric, makes me shudder and this is the issues i DO know about, my own history is v garbled, probably repeated back in a derisory and negative fashion and possibly not entirely true either, just another's perspective

then my history with my own children, very very close, then a huge gaping hole, a wound in itself, where we cant close the chasm

and medication, i was referred to anti depressants, beta blockers, mood stabilisers, nothing helps me ... my daughter i believe, whether its from the connection she has seen with my health, will not consider meds, and she helps herself by extreme exercise.  she gets helps from a PIER team, but i have found my support to be horrendous

then we also believe that my son, only some months younger than his sister, to also have heavy mental health issues, which is largely unsupported

whether any of this resonates or helps you, i was struck by a connection of sorts, with you

i certainly share some of my daughter's traits and yours, of being extreme .. but i really cant judge if the diagnosis i have is true or flawed

i absolutely push myself, then flop, and this has always been my way, tho i havent had the luxury, as my daughter appeared to ... of shutting the world away, in the (whats the opposite of the manic stage, when you are low ??) sleepy excessive tired, lethargic stage.  my extreme response to that is to cry and i find i now rage or cry, i go to the extremes in the emotional way, hence the BPD diagnosis perhaps

... there you go, a bit more about me, hope we can carry on discussing things !!!

 
Storm&stress said on 12 November 2010

Hi,

I'm sorry I was late with my reply.

It sounds as if we have a lot in common, especially with what you said about your sister having really bad postnatal - my Mum had that too, and she was very delusional and unwell for about five years.

I know what you mean about being thrown onto as many medications as possible - I am newly diagnosed as being bipolar but before that, I've been diagnosed with almost everything under the sun. I was once told by a nurse on the phone (can you believe that!) that I could be schizophrenic. She was wrong, of course, because I was only experiencing brief and limited symptoms, which anyone is capable of under enough stress.

I think it's the feelings of desperation that I hate so much. It's good to know there are other people out there but bad to know that they too suffer like this. It's all about being strong, I suppose. I know I would never commit suicide because I know I am too strong for that, but I do feel very weak at times.

I'm glad you commented on my post and I too hope we can continue discussing things :)

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