Wry Exchange


Bipolar-I’ve been cheated!
04-21-08, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Depression | Tags: , ,

From the advice column Annie’s Mailbox:
Dear Annie, I was so grateful to see that you mentioned angry moods and increased energy as episodes of mania in bipolar disorder.
I was diagnosed with depression in college and, despite various medications throughout the years, continued to struggle with extreme anger and an inability to sit still. I self-medicated with alcohol. I never considered my moods abnormal, so I never elaborated upon them in therapy. A suicide attempt prompted a trip to a new psychiatrist. I accidentally arrived an hour early, and by the time I saw the doctor, I literally could not sit still.
When the doctor diagnosed me as bipolar, I was shocked. I had depressive episodes, but never happy ones. It is really important to understand that the opposite of the “low” in bipolar is not necessarily “happy.” It could be excessive energy or anger. The diagnosis saved my life, my marriage and my friendships. I finally realized other people were not experiencing the same mood swings. I only wish I could get back the 20 years of not knowing. —Looking Forward in North Carolina
Dear N.C.: We’re sorry it took so long for you to get a proper diagnosis, but please know your letter will surely help others. Thank you.

 Wry here.  Well, that’s me.  I generally describe myself as depressed, not bipolar.  I wouldn’t mind being bipolar if I had the super-happy or really energetic moments.  I think it would balance the lows.  Instead, I get really pissy (my psychiatrist told me I should see a urologist for that.) or have racing, obsessive thoughts.  There are times when I get unreasonably angry, and can’t think straight.  I have to be alone for a while to calm myself.
I’ve been on 75mg of Effexor for 3 months now.  I think that’s a good trial to see how it works.  I saw my psychiatrist this week, and told him I didn’t think it was all that great.  He said many people take 300mg daily.  I’m going to try 150mg for a while.  I usually improve with Springtime.  He also mentioned the strong drugsmeds like Lithium.  Uh, no thanks.  They all have huge side effects, and I don’t think I need to take something that strong.  I’ll go back to the damn Wellbutrin first!

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3 Comments so far
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I used to have a horrible temper, throwing things, fists through walls. Haven’t had to deal with it for about 8 years though with the right meds. Though I am going through a horrible med change right now, manic through the roof, but the happy kind. Anti-depressants aren’t always the best idea for bipolars – they can make you manic (they do that to me at least) Wish you could experience this type. Would love you to check out my new blog – astramillie at wordpress.

Comment by astramillie

Bipolar isn’t that easy to nail down as exactly one pattern of mood. The manic side of it is rarely any more “fun” than the depressive side, either for the person experiencing it or those around them. At best for me, it’s at least a time of almost “relief” at just not feeling like I’m living in the middle of a dense gray cloud of depression for a while. I admit having the increased energy phases has some upsides at times, the house does benefit from serious, intense cleaning and projects put off during a more challenging down phase get dusted off and taken care of. The problem is it rarely stops with a burst of energy and productivity, it keeps cruising into the world is in a vast conspiracy to be as stupid, lazy, and as irritating as possible just so it can piss me off. I gauge it by numbers. If one or two people are constantly on my last nerve, that could be normal. When the mere existence of anyone in my general vicinity intensely offends me, then it dawns on me that the dark side of mania has come to visit and time to take some action. Of course, my family notices the swings a lot sooner than I do. My husband, son and I have agreed to a ‘code language’ of sorts when they sense the mood swings are getting more intense or I’m being unreasonable. This helps me recognize it a bit sooner. One humorous moment of this though came when one day I retorted to my husband “Don’t you understand the difference between bipolar and PMS?!” He said “Not so much, they both start out a lot alike and both require me to run for cover. But at least the PMS has some predictability to it. Do you think it’s going to disappear eventually?” It is only because I love him so much that he still lives. 🙂

About the medicine…at best for me it is the equivalent of ibuprofen taking enough of the edge off a strong pain without making it go away entirely. After years of playing drug cocktail roulette, I finally just decided that “good enough” instead of “normal” was going to have to be enough. As you say, the side effects of so many of the drugs are worse than the illness. Some like Depakote or Risperadol can also have effects that you can be stuck with even if you stop taking them. As for Wellbutrin…it seems if I even walk past a bottle of that stuff, I flip into mania that is unbelievable. Knowing how different drugs effect my bipolar has been as important to know as what foods or drugs to which I am intensely allergic. When I’ve moved and had to change doctors, they all have wanted to “adjust” or “give a trial” to the latest pet drug therapy of theirs or want to just see if some previously failed drug won’t be ok this time. Uh…NO. If it is the best thing going these days, Dr. dear, you try it on yourself. I’m satisfied with what I’ve got for now. One benefit of being more comfortable with myself and my mood swings…I am quite content being on great terms with my inner bitch and let her out to play now and then when needed. 🙂

Keep chugging along Wry!

Comment by ARHostmom

I’d like the manic side just once to understand it, and to really deep clean the house. 🙂
I joke sometimes that “I hate people”, and I prefer staying home alone with just my husband and dogs. I hate socializing,it really stresses me out. I know I should get out more, but it’s difficult.
I’ve always been a bitch, ain’t no one ever gonna mistake me for a nice person. The kids don’t believe me, so I tell them not to say anything and ruin my reputation.
Thank you for your comment. I appreciate it.

Comment by Wry




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