Bipolar as an adjective

A Bipolar journey is one of extremes, one of differences, emotions, opposites.  To me, in my eyes it is a spectrum.  The spectrum of someone with Bipolar Disorder can be so vast that many times I feel like no two of us are alike.

Yet I know we are alike.  We have similarities. We follow similar patterns.  We do similar things.  But at the same time we are different.  We do things at different levels, different planes.

Bipolar Disorder consists of so much, it is complex in design.  It is not just the adjective that today’s society has made it out to be.  It is not the the descriptive word often used in every day speech to describe someone who has a mood swing caused my something small or a remark that made someone angry.  It is not just “oh he/she is so bipolar”.  It is not just a snappy mood, or getting angry, or teenage rebellion.

For me, it is many different things at many different times.  It is flying, soaring like a bird, free.  Yet is is Chaos and frustration, destruction and despair.

How can it be all of these things, good and bad, you ask?

Anyone diagnosed with Bipolar disorder understands what I mean when I say that.  You know what it is like to feel all of those things at different times and sometimes even at the same time.

I can describe my mania with good and bad words.  I can explain the euphoric feelings of the “good” mania and then in the same breath I can describe the chaos enriched mixtures of the “bad” mania.

I can explain how in a mania or hypomania induced state I was able to go weeks on as little as 20 hours  of sleep.  How I took my cupboard doors off all of my cupboards (I have a very very large kitchen), repainted inside and out, put all new hinges on them, re hung them and changed the color of the doors, and scrubbed the knobs then then replaced everything into my cupboards in 2 days or less, when I had never done anything like that before.

I can tell you I spent hours in a mania writing some of the best writing I have ever created.

I can tell you how I made raised garden beds and planted carrots, peas, beans, potatoes, and pumpkins and I wanted to raise chickens.

I can tell you that during mania I cannot stay still.  I clean, I cook and I move around my house doing things at alarming rates.

But I can also tell you that I had to keep shaking my leg and moving my hands just to sit to eat, just to check email, just to write. Because I had to move.

I can tell you that I drove around for hours to keep my kids from seeing how bad the mania was getting, even when I truly should not have been driving.  That a friend drove around with me for hours in order to try to keep me focused enough to be able to drive.  In order to keep me in check so to speak.

I can tell you I talked so fast that my husband and closest friends were unable to understand me.  That I jumped all over the place in my conversation that my conversation was not even able to be followed.

I can tell you that I couldn’t read a book because I couldn’t understand what I was reading…but I could research raising chickens for hours on end, or whatever else I was fixated on during that particular mania.

I can tell you that what starts as the fun life of the party mania always turns into more damaging mania.

The one where the paranoia creeps in, where people on cell phones, even complete strangers are out to get me, they are being devious and are plotting something against me.

The one where those two people sitting at the coffee shop table, whom I do not even know and are sharing a laugh over a memory are really (but of course only in my mind) laughing at me.  Making fun of me.

I can tell you about the heightened senses.  About the times when colors and lights are super vivid.  When my eyes hurt because everything around me is over sharp, over focused.  Or about the times when everything is loud, even the thoughts inside my head sound like thunder.  I can tell you about the times I am so perceptive I can almost feel the earth turning.

And those…..they are just the bits and pieces of the mania.  Just the tip of an iceberg.

I can also tell you about the depression.  Not just a passing sadness, but the deep dark hell hole of despair that I am unable to dig myself out of.

I can tell you about the times I want to go to sleep and never wake up, even though I didn’t want to actually die.

I can tell you about the times I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror because I hated, loathed and despised the person looking back.

I can tell you about the times I held blades or hot lighters to my skin just to feel.  Just to get a release.  About the times I pulled my hair or scratched my arms and legs while hiding because I needed to feel but I was unable to cut or burn at that particular moment in time.

I can tell you about the times I sat contemplating suicide.  Just seconds away from downing more meds than I even care to mention, or slicing a knife across my wrists, or jumping in front of a moving transport truck.

I can tell you about the actual suicide attempt, about the hospital stays when the mania or depression gets too bad.

I can tell you about the countless medications I have taken to try to tame the Bipolar Beast. 

I can tell you about the times I don’t want to get out of bed and the times I don’t want to even get into bed.  About the times I don’t want anyone to touch me and about the times I need someone to hold me tight, to hold me together because I am falling apart.

And these are just some of the things I can tell you.

There are mixed states and manias, depressions, medication changes, hospitalizations, complications to medications (scary ones), times I drink alcohol just to feel, times the anxiety is so bad I feel like I am dying and the times I actually feel crazy.

But even though all of these things are a part of me, a part of my disorder…..they are not all of me.   I am so much more.

I have periods of “normal” mood, no mania, no depression. Periods where I work and become a functional part of society.

For me Bipolar Disorder is a spectrum with extreme mania on one end and extreme depression on the other.  But in the middle of the two are milder forms of the mania, hypomania, milder forms of depression, mixed episodes and of course the “normal” periods.

Because I am not just made up of the adjective Bipolar that people like to use.  Bipolar disorder is so much more.  So the next time you say “I am so Bipolar”  or “She is so Bipolar” perhaps you should take a moment to read some information on what real Bipolar disorder is all about, because I am fairly certain you won’t use it as an adjective after that.

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Zoloft Crazy?

That moment when…

the depression is so bad you feel like you have failed everyone and everything and as much as you want to go to sleep and not wake up you have to keep on breathing.

Such was me a few weeks ago, me before coming off the Zoloft.

The Zoloft that made life worst.  The Zoloft that made me feel crazy.  The Zoloft that made me want to harm myself.  The Zoloft that made me put the breaks on while driving because I thought someone was crossing the road and when I blinked no one was there (among other stories), The Zoloft that made me dream dreams that I thought were real, absolute. The Zoloft that did not mix well with alcohol.  The Zoloft that did not let me sleep but yet made me feel like I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up. The Zoloft that made me paranoid.  The Zoloft that changed me.

Now I am off the Zoloft, and in just a couple of weeks I already feel a ton better, not ‘normal me’ better, but not Zoloft crazy.

Back one one of my old faithful medications, Tegertol.

Resuming medication

After 9 and 1/2 months med free……

Zoloft

New one for me.  I may have taken it for a short while when I was hospitalized back in 2012, but I am not completely sure as I was hospitalized for 5 and 1/2 weeks and went through so many med cocktails at that time and I was so sick I don’t know half of what was going on anyway.

I am a little nervous because it is a SSRI med and I am not currently on any mood stabilizers or anti psychotics to combat any form of mania that may or may not rear.  I cannot remember the last time I was on an Anti D without a stabilizer…..

But I would take the beginnings of mania any day over what I feel right now.

The beginning is always fun, wild…..but we all know where that ends up.

Drowning

I am underwater.  Looking up I can see a dim filtered light but I am unable to break the surface.  I am suffocating, water leaking into my lungs.  I am drowning. Sinking deeper and deeper beneath the surface.

I am only just admitting to myself that I am depressed.

It has been coming for a while, maybe it has even been here for a while.  But I would not admit that there was a problem.  I have been hiding it from everyone, including myself.

I don’t want to do anything, I don’t want to go anywhere and I am not sleeping well night time, and am tending to somewhat sleep in the late morning early afternoon, and even then its not good sleep.  I do not want to drag myself out of bed when I wake up.  Even when I am awake I just want to lay there and not do anything.

I feel like a failure of a mother and wife because I feel that the things my children are going to remember about me right now is the fact that I am doing these things. I should be more present.  I feel like a failure of a friend because I don’t give a shit if I go anywhere or do anything, I am letting the people closest to me down and I am so frustrated with myself.

I feel like a failure because I have went the past 9 months without medications and for the most part I was doing well.  Don’t get me wrong I am not naive, I know Bipolar disorder does not just disappear, that it would rear its ugly head at some point.

I look in the mirror and I hate the person I see.  I curse her.  She is nothing…. I am nothing.

How do I survive my own mind?

I am a survivor.  I have thought those words so many times during my life time. I have survived things that many have never had to endure.  And I say that knowing that there are people out there who have endured worst than me.

And my heart goes out to anyone who are struggling with any sort of struggle.

I have gotten back up, dusted myself off, screamed inside my head to “shut up and survive”.

I have not always been the kindest person to myself.

That was probably an understatement.

Actually no, that IS an understatement.

I am one of my biggest and harshest critics.  For everything.

For my writing.  For my coping skills.  For everything that is going on inside my “pretty little head”.  I criticize everything.  Every aspect of my being has been at one point or another picked apart and critiqued by me.

And it has been harsh….to say the least.

Somehow I have not only survived the things that life has thrown at me, but I have had to try to survive the way my mind picked the situation apart, bit by bit, layer by layer.

Surviving my own mind…..How does one even do that?

I am calm, yet I am frantic.

I am calm, yet I am frantic. Some of the manic madness from yesterday has subsided in some ways but heightened in others. My brain is a mess. My thoughts are chaos. But my speech has slowed down some, or when I catch myself speeding up I try to suppress it.

This, most often does not work. But still I try. This is a weird time. I normally do not have this much self-insight into what is going on with me when I begin to get manic. Lately I have been more in tune to my mental illness.

It has been over 3 years since my diagnosis. Maybe things have just fallen into a place where I can see it for some weird reason or another. Most times I am pretty far into a hypomanic or manic episode before I know. Looking back I can see it, because retrospect as you all know, can be a very powerful thing. Looking back I can almost always pinpoint the first signs, however subtle they are.

But last time and this time I have been more noticing of what is happening to my mind. I have noticed the speeding up sooner than I have in the past. I guess a large part of that is the no sleep thing that is going on with me right now.

I have no choice but to notice things because what else am I going to be doing all hours of the night? Except pick apart what is going on inside me and write, and then write some more. Or cleaning at 3:00AM can be a nice big flashing red light. Like some indicator beacon going off inside my head warning me of where this is headed.

Writing seems to be the only thing that is really keeping me grounded lately. From one extreme to the next. I cycled a lot faster this time than I have in a really long time. My mania back in March came and did not stay as long as some other times, but then I guess I was sick, and my doctor and I managed to manage it faster than the last time.

Then depression crept crashed in, instead of balance.

No nice little neat balanced mood before cycling back into mania or depression. Or at least not much balance before the switch.

This past month or so, probably closer to 8 weeks have brought more anxiety than I have had since 2013. I have no idea where it came from initially. But I guess I know with the family things we have going on, I can understand why it has stayed. It is every day now, no days break. I hate the feeling.

I feel like I want to check out of my body and brain for a day. Just crawl right out of my skin and not have to deal with what I am feeling. No tingly feeling just under the surface, getting stronger. No insomnia. No intrusive thoughts. No manic brain, where everything seems to be occupying the same space at the same time, all vying for my complete attention.

The only thing benefiting from my hypomania/mania right now, is my writing. And I am not even sure if that is benefiting or if it is just me believing that my manic writing is better than my every day writing. If it is because I tend to churn out more writing when I feel this way.

It’s almost like when manic and talking too much, I find myself posting to Facebook more often than I normally would, and I seem to not be able to help posting to my blog once I get something written.

Then I get nervous that I am irritating my readers because of my frequent posts. I then try to remind myself that my readers read my blog for a reason, because they can relate or they enjoy my writing or some other reason within themselves, which means I most likely am not irritating them as much as my mind tells me I am. So I try not to worry about that. But worrying is something I am good at, and I apologize if I am indeed irritating anyone.

The mania is keeping me completely drawn in to the writing. It is making feel like I really do have some sort of talent which in turn is making me want to publish so bad that it almost hurts.

And so begins the manic chore of researching publishers, types of publishers. Would I self-publish or otherwise? Do I even have enough manageable, coherent articles to even begin to think about this idea in a more possible way….or am I delusional in thinking I could even possibly bring my writings together in book form?

Is this some manic brain idea forcing me to start a project that I know I will not finish? Getting excited over the prospects only to have them dashed and squashed once I begin to get balanced again?

Sometimes I hate this part of this disorder. Because I get such good ideas, or maybe good is not the word I am looking for. They are intrusive ideas that I act on, only to completely abandon them once the balance comes back into play.

But mania is where all my good ideas are concocted.

Chaos

I am going to apologize for this post before I even get it written.

My mind is in chaos.  Constant buzzing, thoughts and doing.

I feel like there is no way I can stay still.  I am enjoying the productivity of the stuff that I am doing.  Things that have needed doing for quite some time, I have accomplished more in one day, today, then I have in a week.

I find myself wondering if this is the beginning.  Normally I do not notice it right away….it takes a while.  I also wonder what they heck are the chances of another mania so soon?!?!

This, if it is indeed the beginning is the part I like.  The productive part.  The flight of ideas part.  The, I am superwoman and I can do anything part.  This…..this is the part, the part before.  Well during, well the beginning.

I keep thinking, perhaps this is just a fantastic day, with some productivity, maybe its just that.  But then I see that my lap top is shaking on my lap as I am typing this because I cannot stop shaking my leg.  I stop.  Just long enough to start again.

Maybe tomorrow will be balanced?

I don’t even like to use the word manic until I know for sure, until someone finally points it out or it is that obvious that I cannot keep denying it.  I am more in tune now then I once was.  There have been many times I have not known until it got bad.  Bad, bad.

But the charts are telling me something…..my mood tracker charts.  I see the subtle signs.

The chaos within.  Trying to keep my voice steady, trying not to talk fast, I am loosing the ability to control it as much as I could earlier this morning even.

Lets talk sleep.  I have noticed the sleep schedule get a little off track lately, but then it picks back up. A 3 hour night here, and a 5-6 (broken, I do not sleep that long in a row) there.  Then in the past 26 hours I slept 1.  1 measly broken hour of sleep.

But do I need sleep?  Nope.  There is not an ounce of tiredness in my body.

Sleep, my friends, is overrated.

I ran.  Like literally, wtf is up with that.  I am a pretty big woman who is in probably the worst shape I have ever been in, or at least close to it.  And all I could think of was running.  So I ran.  Not far, not long, but I ran.  It is a start right?!

The self injury urges have been bad for a while, today they are off and on, not as bad as they were but still there in the back of my mind, taunting.

Metallica is playing in my headphones as my fingers are flying across the keyboard and the words are jumbled on the screen.   I went through a P!nk phase, now its Metallica.  I cannot seem to get enough of it lately and I am constantly writing while it is playing in my earphones.

Anxiety today and some irritability, nothing major on either front.

The irritability was mostly because I started a project and could not finish it for a particular reason because I did not have the necessary things here to complete it, which annoyed me.

Its still not bad, I still think maybe this will not get any worst than it is right now and perhaps it is nothing just a weird day….I dunno perhaps I am delusional in believe that too.