Hi Blog, me again.
So far, today has been a good day. Life is good. I’m not sure why I used to pretend to be depressed. But my husband said something about me not being able to remember my past moods very accurately. He thinks that I need a way to remind myself that I tend to believe that however I feel right now in this moment is how I have always felt and always will feel. So, I’m going to try to use writing on you, Blog, to convince future me that things change.
Dear future me,
Apparently, the past, present and future are not all one in the same. xoxo.
I have actually learned that this is a hallmark of depression and anxiety. Sort of like when Janis Joplin said “Tomorrow never happens man, It’s all the same fucking day.” (side note: last year, I thought it would be a good idea to stencil this quote over my bed as inspiration. thankfully, i was too depressed to get out of the bed and buy paint.)
This is also a problem whenever I go to my therapist or psychiatrist, I’m only able to easily talk about how I feel that day. So, Blog, I hope you don’t mind me using you today to also try to gather some thoughts that I’d like to share with my psychiatrist when I see her. It’s kinda important so if I can get all of my thoughts down, I’ll be able to hand this to her when I see her.
Here goes…So, um, this is awkward, where do I start… maybe with a cartoon:
I’ve been considering that I probably have Bipolar II. My understanding is that this is just like regular Bipolar, only half as exciting.
Here’s why i think this: as far as I can remember (and maybe that’s only today…), the following have always been characteristic for me:
- major depressive periods
- I tend to need more sleep than most people or else I get very hyper or very spaced out and unfocused.
- I have always had alternating periods of mental dullness and extreme creativity (I thought that this was normal until reading that it was a symptom)
- In the last three months, I have had two hypomanic periods. One which I think was induced by antibiotics but could have been induced by the lack of sleep,illness and stress of losing my job. The second was just induced by having a great week and slowly getting less sleep than usual and waking up in the middle of the night lots with my kids because I thought I could take on more but I took on too much. During these periods, my mood and urges and thoughts felt very very familiar to my feelings during adolecence. Intrusive thoughts and paranoia were rampant. I did not trust myself to be alone with my children or drive my car. I would hug the wall on the subway platform because I was working hard to resist tempation.
- In these periods of extreme creativity, (this year and what I can remember of adolescence) I usually need far less sleep (and stay up all night being creative),don’t eat much and my speech is often louder and more rapid than usual, and is often full of puns, plays on words, and irrelevancies.
- Impulsive activities are usually organized, are not bizarre, and do not resultin the level of impairment that is characteristic of a Manic Episode.
- For example, recently purchasing prescription glasses online in ten minutes without verifying my prescription or face size; extreme home organizing andpurging; as a teenager, I was often planning and starting (but never finishing) some exciting fundraising endeavor, screenplay or social initiative intended to inspire everyone I know and generally save the world.
ok. that’s why I think what I think. now what? Maybe I should see how this theory fits in with some real research outside of my head…
From the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders:
Diagnostic criteria for Bipolar II Disorder
A. Presence or history of one or more Major Depressive Episodes (✓).
B. Presence or history of at least one Hypomanic Episode (✓).
C. There has never been a Manic Episode or a Mixed Episode (✓(true, as far as I can remember).
D. The mood symptoms in Criteria A and B are not better accounted for by Schizoaffective Disorder or another Psychotic Disorder.(✓)
E. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social,occupation, or other important areas of functioning. (✓✓)
yikes… this is getting scary… let’s continue, shall we?
One or more hypomanic episodes and one or more major depressive episode. However, a bipolar II diagnosis is not a guarantee that they will not eventually suffer from such an episode in the future. Hypomanic episodes do not go to the full extremes of mania (and are without psychosis), and this can make bipolar II more difficult to diagnose, since the hypomanic episodes may simply appear as a period of successful high productivity and is reported less frequently than a distressing, crippling depression.
So, in conclusion, when I list it all out, it seems pretty likely that my diagnosis is accurate. I’m actually not surprised or scared by this. And I don’t think that changing my medication right now would be a good idea. I just like to know what I’m dealing with so that I know how normal or not normal my feelings really are.
Because how else will I know what is normal, unless my psychiatrist tells me. 😉
« do i really need to say here that I’m not a doctor or a therapist and this is just my self diagnosis, not meant to diagnose you, your dog or your mother. no? I didn’t think so either. »