Not Doing Well At All. Also a Word on Mania.

The PTSD stopped gripping me today. I think. Now all that’s left is the bipolar, which of course got worse thanks to the PTSD triggered by Thanksgiving—and as it turned out, try as I might, I couldn’t overcome it to work through the holiday. I feel horrible and awful and really, really depressed. When I’m not going into mania of course, during which I’ll either feel paranoid or somewhat cheery but not prone to making the wisest of decisions.

I don’t understand bipolar. I really don’t understand how it interacts with the PTSD. I know that the lamictal is taking most of the edge off the bipolar even in these fretful times for me, when holidays trigger me left, right, and center. For instance, I don’t cycle as quickly… I just cycle slowly, and not as far from what may be considered the normal range of emotions and whatnot, but it’s significant enough to kill concentration and decision-making and well.

Life just really sucks.

And somehow I have to put my head together to fill out paperwork that will let me keep my job (much to the disdain of, well, my entire team, I’m sure). And right now I feel like jumping off a cliff, but kind of only metaphorically, not literally.

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of “I don’t know what the hell to do” at random points in time, like a panic when I’m manic, or like a horrible sinking feeling of doom when I’m depressed. It’s getting close to the point where I would seriously consider calling and talking to a friend, but you know, it’s like 2 fucking AM in the morning here, even if I’m going crazy.

And yes, I’m oncall, otherwise I’d be taking a knockout.

On the upside, I’m definitely having a better Thanksgiving bout than I’ve had in the past, and better than the hell I go through around and abouts my birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day… it’s just that it’s only relative. The cows help. The lights help. Correcting my diet due to intolerance to wheat, gluten, and dairy has helped me not go into puking fits as the stress of PTSD-co-morbid-with-bipolar knocks me down for six.

I just kind of wish that more people treated this kind of… instability… like they would treat cancer or bouts of physical disease. I don’t want this. I’m not faking this. And while it’s in my head, I can’t control it willingly all the time. Mind you, I know there are people who think that cancer is just a state of mind, so the gods only know why I expect any better out of mental illnesses like mine.

Hell, I wish I felt better about all this, too, and didn’t feel like society should just shoot me so that I stop being a burden to everybody.

Yeah, not doing very well at all.

You know, I really wish I was only dealing with either the PTSD or the bipolar (type I ((You’d think that Type I would be less severe than Type II, but oh no, no, no. It has to be more severe. It has to involve fucking delusions and hallucinations, manic episodes versus milder hypomania, and fucking hell, I’ve got all of the first three. I mean, good gods, the first two are actually psychosis-like, if not actually psychosis. Gods help me. Or maybe someone really should shoot me.)) ), but not both.

Oh. And a word on mania.

I hear a lot of people wish they had mania, because it sounds happier than depression, so presumably you’d (a) get a lot more work done, and (b) not kill yourself. I have even heard this from people who should know better, like professionals, including professional authors, whom I have always thought would at least try to understand how other people felt, but apparently such is not always the case.

Look, I don’t know how it is for everybody, I just know how it is for me, so perhaps it is possible that there are more cases of (a)/(b) than not, but here’s how it is for me:

(1) I do not always get a lot of work done. Sometimes the mania impedes my ability to concentrate, or it makes me believe I can do multiple big projects at once, which as some of you may know, that kind of multi-tasking really, really doesn’t end well. Also, hallucinations can occur during either my depressive or manic episodes, though obviously not all the time for me, but you know, they really don’t help.

(2) When I’ve been depressed, I’ve been suicidal. When I’ve been manic, I’ve also been suicidal. I just am more enthusiastic about it, and think it would be the best thing ever. But then again, this is kind of extreme. Welcome to my bipolar type I.

I think mania is a lot like getting drunk. Your inhibitions get loosened. This may be why some people either are or feel more creative; it’s like when you have great ideas when you’re falling asleep, or somewhere between lightly and moderately drunk. And then again, sometimes those ideas are not so great; for instance, instead of researching what it’s like to wander through a garbage dump without tetanus shots and bare feet, all to better get an understanding of what characters fleeing from some misbegotten scientific experiment in sewers or whatnot, you actually go out in the middle of the night and do it.

Or maybe, suddenly you realize that hey, you could totally ditch your agent and get better deals, without doing adequate research about what you’re about to embark upon! Because you, with your business acumen stemming from research in entirely different areas, will totally get by. Totally.

Or, during a time when you might not actually be up to it, you take on an interview anyways, because you feel just fine when, really, your inhibitions have been loosened to the point where you just let loose with sexist statements; and then you decide the best thing to do is to flounce away, and then your depressive cycle begins. Joy. ((Not that this is an excuse… or is it?… but… well, I really don’t know how else to put this. Like, I guess it’s kind of like taking cancer medication that throws your head out of whack. You still have those *-ist attitudes, you just don’t re-adjust when talking to other people, like interviewers or coworkers—like most people who are aware of things like this in their heads need to do—and then, well, you get things like the recent Stephen-Fry-Gate. It’s not blameless, but at the same time, good gods, it’s a severe disability one’s operating at.))

Or suddenly anything else you’re co-morbid with (PTSD, or psychosis) suddenly gets a much stronger influence due to the fact that you now are rather too confident in your ability to handles such things in, for instance, the face of triggers.

Or that, instead of trying to snatch what little sleep you can, that now is a perfect time to blog a rather long entry.

The worst part is that this is somewhere in the realm between choice and non-choice. If one’s very self-aware, some of the time one can Stepford Smile one’s way out of it; but some of the time, no matter how self-aware one may be, it gets you anyways.

I guess someone could wish for hypomania instead, but I don’t think one really gets to choose. One might as well wish for mild psychosis so they can experience tripping during the day time. It just isn’t very wise and ignores what can happen, and sometimes I think it’s easy to belittle the struggles of people who end up with the short end of the stick. ((Or sometimes the medium-length sticks; I’ve seen, and you’ve seen, cases of people in the public eye who seem to have been “blessed” with milder bipolar or whatever, and yet been pushed over the edge, sometimes severely enough to be hospitalized, due to circumstances like, oh, significant others suddenly dying. It surprises me and scares me that such a thing might, one day, happen to me—and I may not be able to avoid it.))

Um, and now I’m going to try to calm down a little.

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9 thoughts on “Not Doing Well At All. Also a Word on Mania.

  1. Hey.

    I’ve been dealing with severe depression & anxiety for the last year or so and been in pretty active anxiety for five years. It’s a picnic compared to what you’re going through but I thought I’d just reach out and say I’m sorry you’re in such pain. Wish I could do more to help and often for me it’s great to just know someone is out there thinking positive thoughts about me. Be well.

  2. Hello! I’m sorry to hear you are going through all of this. I just found out this year that I have very much in common with people who have bipolar (II), but I am not severe enough to actually get that diagnosis, I suppose.

    I tried Lamictal along with Zoloft, and it made me so anxious and manic that I was becoming unwittingly self destructive. I was spending all of my money and then some on business ideas and profit making schemes (of my own creation–not the infomercial type–somehow I thought that made a big difference!). I was craving whiskey everyday, though I managed to resist drinking. I couldn’t sleep. I went on two and three hour long motor-mouth rants about how pointless/hopeless/crazy/great/wonderful/depressing/etc. things are. I would cycle through sad, morbid, depressing thoughts into angry, spiteful, vengeful thoughts, then into mellow, mild, happy thoughts. Then usually I’d start over again by realizing how futile and pointless the happy thoughts were. : (

    Once I went off of Lamictal that sort of thing cleared up quite a bit. Of course I’m not insinuating that’s what’s causing your issues; I just thought I’d share my experience with it.

    I hope things start to get better (sorry that sounds so trite! I don’t really know any phrases that will not sound cliche in this situation…). I’m sending positive thoughts your way, for what it’s worth.

    Laura

  3. Chang,

    *hugs* I’m thinking positive thoughts about you as well.

    Laura,

    Medication works differently for everybody, psych medication as much or perhaps more. We apparently have opposite reactions to Lamictal. I know folks with bipolar I for whom Lamictal has worked, and bipolar II for whom Lamictal has worked, but also folks with both for which Lamictal just makes it worse. It’s a personal thing.

    Personally speaking, Zoloft and other anti-depressants turn my mania up to 11 and are considered pretty much no go land for me. This reaction happens to some people with bipolar I or bipolar II, but not to others. Go figure.

    Natalie L.,

    *hugs* Thank you.

  4. By the way, everybody who’s planning to comment/comment again: the discussion of medication is a dead topic on this thread now. And really, it’s a dead topic across the blog. Please don’t bring it up again. This blog is my personal blog, not a forum for PTSD or bipolar. Thanks.

  5. I was please to see you’d posted, until I read the whole thing and realized it’s not a case of ‘well enough to post’ so much as ‘sick enough that can’t refrain from posting’. Sending you best wishes and sympathies.

    For what it’s worth, your description of mania sounds a lot like other people’s descriptions of theirs, especially the part about “Sometimes the mania impedes my ability to concentrate, or it makes me believe I can do multiple big projects at once, which as some of you may know, that kind of multi-tasking really, really doesn’t end well.”

    When other people say that sounds good, I think they’re practicing highly motivated selective listening. Like when someone says, “Oh, I wish I had flu/anorexia/cancer! It would be so nice to lose weight!” Mainly it shows they’re so preoccupied with their own problems they can’t really register yours.

    I am glad to hear that this Thanksgiving was not quite as bad as previous years were. Improvement is good. Yay for the Overherd!

    • *hugs* oh Wogglebug, I’m so sorry that for some reason my blog’s spam filter caught your post, and I’ve been very lax about dealing with comments. I’ll do my best to be better about all this.

      Thank you for your support. We can only hope to look further to good days.

  6. I’ve been lurking through the last six months, cheering for you with the good things, worrying about you with the bad things, and this post moves me to comment. I’m (only) bipolar II, so I don’t understand everything, but I was nodding along with most of it. The attitude of society towards mental illness just drives me even more crazy than I already am. I’ve trained most of my friends that “think happy thoughts and your depression will magically get better” is NOT HELPFUL, but I think some of them only do it because I ask and not because they really get it.

    Anyway, hang in there as best you can, and know there’s somebody out here quietly rooting for you.

    -kat

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