For those of you who aren't that familiar with this particular mental disorder, I'll post the definition for you:
Manic-depression: Alternating moods of abnormal highs (mania) and lows (depression). Called bipolar disorder because of the swings between
these opposing poles in mood. A type of depressive disease. Not nearly as prevalent as other forms of depressive disorders. Sometimes the mood
switches are dramatic and rapid, but most often they are gradual. Mania often affects thinking, judgment, and social behavior in ways that cause
serious problems and embarrassment. For example, unwise business or financial decisions may be made when an individual is in a manic phase. Bipolar
disorder is often a chronic recurring condition.
Most people seem to generalize it as "happy one day, sad the next." There are many more complex aspects to it though. Now that You've read the book
definition I am going to attempt to tell you what its like to experience it. (at least for me.)
I am constantly my own worst enemy. It's like the old cartoons where someone has an angel and a devil sitting on their shoulder giving them their
opposing viewpoints pros and cons etc. Except mine talk at the same time and I can do what they're both saying at the same time.
The days where i am depressed are horrible, and I am depressed way more than I am manic. Its not like its just a bad mood, its like having the
weight of the entire world on you, and your mind knows that its irrational but knowing this still does not stop it. The more you try to ignore it the
louder it gets. Its like all color is gone from the world. I cannot be around anyone else because I am the one experiencing it and explain all you
want to, nobody that does'nt have it is going to get what you're saying, but they think they do. It's like why war veterans don't like talking
about being in a war with somebody who has'nt been there. They can't possible understand so why bother. Might as well explain to the wall. There is
no motivation for anything. My normal things like archery, reading, working on the motorcycle, bring nothing but emptiness. Everything is empty and
hollow and pointless in the fact that it even exists. Including me and everyone around me. I feel no God, no spirituality.
When I get on the other end of the spectrum however, it is awesome. Being manic is friggin incredible. I go from having the weight of the world on
me, to being on top of the world. Not only are the colors back in the world, but they are brighter, more vivid. Not only is there meaning in actions,
words, people, but I find connections during this time in everything and everyone around me. I have so much energy, so many ideas, my mind is racing
from one thought to the next so intensely its incredible like the most potent feel good drug you have ever taken. My body does not hurt, the chronic
pain in my back and face goes away. Instead of staying away from everyone, I can't get enough interacting with people when I'm manic. I'm also a
comedic genius when I'm like this and jokes pop into my mind where I'm usually keeping the people around me laughing pretty hard. I like making
people laugh (because who the hell does'nt like a good joke right?) and these things seem to feed the mania. I can't concentrate much though, its
hard to focus and stay on one project still instead of starting twenty different ones that day, but man oh man, does it feel so incredible that it
almost makes up for the days when I can't motivate myself to do anything at all. I don't need to eat, or sleep but maybe a few hours if I can go to
sleep at all. In fact I kind of hate sleeping, so this is actually welcome when it happens. I am fully alive on so many levels.
If I stay away from drinking (alcohol triggers the depression in me, but it lasts far longer and is more intense) I can stay manic for 3-5 days
maybe. The depressive episodes seem to last about 7-10 days, sometimes a little less or more.
Thing is,I am recently diagnosed, but I have been dealing with this for years now. Not realizing (or admiting to myself) that I have a mental
illness. People seem to think that you just snap in and out from one mood to another. Not true. I can usually tell when I'm about to swing from one
extreme to the other. I would try to self medicate with alcohol and drugs, only temporary fixes though. For the past few years I have been disabled
and can't work anymore. I have alot of free time on my hands now. I used to tell myself before, that I was not mentally ill. I am fine. I am just
like everyone else. Everyone has good days and bad days and I am no different. Sometimes I'm moody so what. Used to I could manage the symptoms by
staying busy with work, mortgage, bills you know, life.
It seems that quality time with myself in recent years has blown this thing wide open now. There is no denying my symptoms to myself (or anyone that
knows me for that matter) and the psychiatrist has prescribed me some meds to go to sleep at night and "stabilize my moods".
Heres the thing though. I don't want to be "fixed". I like being manic when I'm manic. I don't want to take these meds. I don't want to gain a
bunch of weight, nausea, dry mouth, constipation, etc etc that all of these friggin meds seem to have. OK, so I will get rid of the depression/mania
and then have a whole other host of problems to deal with. I will also forever get to say bye bye to the only part of myself that I like. Which is my
frenemy the mania.
I have to unlearn many things that I have learned over the years to do these meds. I am going to have to radically change my lifestyle to adapt to
taking pills every day and actually sleeping at night. I have read so many horror stories of medication and people trying all kinds of pill cocktails
until they finally find one that works for them. Just thinking about doing all of this is too daunting for me. Just contemplating it alone saps the
energy out of me and wants to send me into a full blown panic attack if I think about it too much.
So maybe then I should just be alone. If I isolate myself, I won't have to worry about how I come off to everyone else. I won't have to worry
about what the hell they think of me because it will just be me. I can be free to be as depressed or manic as I feel like. My actions or inactions
won't hurt others
I don't know what to do and I am at a major crossroads. My family does not understand. I have nobody to talk to about this so I am reaching out to
ask my other dysfunctional family that is ATS.
I want to hear the good, bad and the ugly from any other manic depressives who know what I'm talking about. I really could use your input.