Category Archives: Moods

Mania or Depression or Ennui?

I’ve been thinking of going off my meds. Several people have discouraged me from doing it, citing deleterious side effects, including seizures and the inevitable crash. Several have insisted I do so only under a doctor’s supervision. One person reminded me of a med wash I did in the hospital a few years ago, when a doctor took me off all my meds in order to start me on new ones. That was miserable.

Somehow I still feel like I need to go off my meds. It IS something of a gut feeling with no rational logic to it (though my therapist says it is logical – see below). I know that there will be side effects initially. Yet I persist in this belief that it would be a good idea. I’m feeling agitated and frustrated and desperate for a change. I suppose I’m hoping that going off my meds will lead to a manic episode which would be different and life would be exciting again. I miss my old life. A lot.

I finally contacted my therapist, and he immediately called me back after a text. He said it DID sound logical, that in my quest to feel better – to feel like I used to – when I wasn’t on meds – I would rationally think Not being on meds made sense. So maybe I’m not crazy in my ideas? He encouraged me to call my psychiatrist. I explained that he didn’t know me yet after just one visit. He said it would still be a good idea.

So I called my psychiatrist finally. He thought I might be experiencing depression. I have been what I call “slightly depressed” – still functional, not in despair or suicidal, but still feeling lethargic, sad, unhappy with life. So maybe I am more depressed even with this agitation. I was thinking that maybe I was starting to experience some mania or dysphoric mania with the agitation. Or maybe ennui with my dissatisfaction with life and a need for more excitement (hence, inducing a manic episode). But maybe I’m just more depressed. Does it even matter what mood state I’m in?

Oh, and he insisted I stay on my meds. Right. As expected. Same as everyone.

My therapist helpfully returned me to my values and asked what action would be in line with them. This is a major tenet of ACT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, something that works for me. In my previous post I outlined a few of them, including Health and Independence. For the life of me, I can’t decide which action is more healthy: going off my meds to bring back the more meaningful life I had, or staying on my meds to treat bipolar and keep the life I have, as someone in treatment for life. And which would give me more independence? Not being on meds?

I know you all are going to tell me to stay on my meds or only to go off them with my doctor’s supervision. That’s what I tell everyone too. Stay in treatment! Maybe my meds aren’t working anymore and I need new ones. Maybe I’m in a mood state and I need to remind myself that it is not permanent, none of them have been, and I’ll cycle out of it eventually. I’m choking down the meds right now. I don’t have to. The choice is mine. I don’t know what is in line with my values or even which I fear more, the side effects or staying the way I am.

Resistance

I completely resisted therapy today. I almost walked out even. Who know that probing my thought would lead to such resistance! The song in my head – well, the half line from a song – grew more insistent. I wanted to get up and walk out. I had answers in my head that I couldn’t talk myself into saying aloud. I tried to sidle up to my thought and I still couldn’t do it. Good grief! It was just a thought!

I don’t even know exactly what the thought was now. I think it was that I felt resigned that I would go into depression from this slightly depressed place, and that I would be a slave to moods forever. (I want to be manic or at least psychotic, or both. I’m annoyed by this depression. I don’t see stability coming any time soon, if ever.) My therapist had me give a mood, age and gender to the thought. So I decided the thought that I was resigned to being depressed and would be slave to my moods forever was frustrated and pissed off and scared, and that she looked like a 23-year-old me. I couldn’t figure out what she wanted me to say to her. I did figure out – but couldn’t say aloud – that she wanted me to hug her. What’s that about? The song in my head – excuse me, half line of a song – grew more insistent.

My therapist invited me to let whatever thought – including walking out – be accepted and heard so that we weren’t denying her feelings. He asked if the song was a sort of defense mechanism, albeit unconscious. I said maybe, made sense. I still didn’t want to talk.

I wish I could go back and not be resistant. But it was what it was. I’m trying to figure out what so much resistance was about. Part of it was that I didn’t want him to write in his notes about walking out or that I was resistant. What should I care what he writes? Besides, I was trying to mind read, and that doesn’t lead anywhere.

So now I’m supposed to put a hash mark down every time I don’t feel depressed. Just to see that I’m not depressed ALL the time, I guess. I can see through the assignments…

Bipolar Me

I wrote about whether decisions were made by me, or by bipolar, a few days ago here. I was conflicted about my own decision-making over the years, especially by those decisions I now know to be poor ones. Today I came to new insight with the help of a wise one. I decided to let myself off the hook and let decisions made by bipolar moods stand as they are. If I was manic, I was manic, and the decision is from bipolar. There is a “bipolar me” that has been working in the background basically my whole life. As my mood fluctuated – regularly – I made decisions and experienced life with this persona. Bipolar me did crazy things and poor things, and sometimes there was good that came out of it. And sometimes not. But there is a bipolar me that is in ascendancy most of the time. There is no “me” and “bipolar.” There is bipolar me.

I’m just getting to understand a little bit about this bipolar me. She, if there is a gender, tries to make decisions with her gut, which doesn’t work most of the time. Though it is the seat of compassion and the infamous “gut instinct” that people tout, I can’t trust it. It has brought me heartache and mistakes, and it has led bipolar me to get close to suicide, oh, at least a few dozen times. My brain I can’t trust as it is sick with broken neurotransmitters and lies to me daily, often through gut instinct. But my chest, where my heart and lungs lie, has brought me out of danger with reason and with a survival instinct. It reminds me that all bodies and consciousnesses strive to stay alive. I can trust that. I know that my heart and lungs will work until my dying breath – hopefully later rather than sooner (when I’m thinking from my chest and not from my gut, which says the opposite at least once a day).

My goal is to understand bipolar me as a sentient being. What does it mean that I am bipolar All.The.Time. and have been for decades? What does that mean for making decisions into the future, i.e., can my gut and brain be retaught or retrusted when stability is finally reached?

So cheers to bipolar me! Now I have an answer to who has been responsible for my life. It’s bipolar me. And sometimes the mood has pushed me into unhealthy decisions, and sometimes I’ve thought with my chest and made better ones. But I’ve been bipolar the whole time, and that’s who I am.

Unsettled

My mood is off today. I’m a bit depressed and showing physical symptoms of anxiety, such as grinding my jaw and tapping my feet. I’m thinking more about suicide but no intent, thank goodness. I was even annoyed while getting my hair done today.

I haven’t been feeling that great, though I thought I had a couple stable days. Then today happened, and it was Friday all over again with a lower mood. I even thought of calling my therapist, but what would I say? I’m feeling a little depressed as well as anxious and irritable; help me? What would he be able to tell me?

I guess I could have used a friend to talk to. Which I don’t have here. I have people from church that have said I could call them, yet I don’t feel ready to do that, maybe because I’m hesitant to reach out whenever this happens. I could have called friends from Chicago too, but again I resist reaching out. That probably warrants its own blog post…

I’m not sure what would help me feel better.

A Sick Brain?

A lot is going on in my head right now. Regret over decisions made, decisions I’m (wrongly?) chalking up to bipolar moods, calling it a sick brain that has led me to where I am today. All of this was refuted, well, by my therapist today.

Cultivating curiosity in my past because of prompts from a book has led me to judgment rather than increased curiosity or empathy, or even self-compassion. It’s as though all I can see is young me making decisions that may have been influenced by bipolar or just by youth. Can’t tell. I see a little bit older me trying out discernment but now questioning the decisions I made based on careful deliberations and consultation, and instead see only bipolar. I see current me managing bipolar as my whole life.

Not a lot of optimism here, folks.

I think more slowly and make fewer connections than I used to. I don’t think my intuition is working anymore, since diagnosis. I can’t trust what my brain is doing, throwing out mood states and lies one day, and then out of nowhere I get a month of stability for the first time EVER, only to have it ripped away by med changes again. I’m told that having trouble thinking can partly be a side effect of meds. OK. It can partly be aging. Not that I’m old, just entering middle age actually. I guess I’m ok with that? I haven’t heard that as a “symptom” of aging at this stage. I definitely have had trouble thinking ever since a hysterectomy led to menopause brain, but nothing as drastic as after falling precipitously from the manic episode into a suicidal depression that led to a bipolar diagnosis.

Nothing leads to saying I have a sick brain. But isn’t that what bipolar disorder is? Neurons are firing when they shouldn’t or not firing when they should, both of which affect mood states and functioning – and thinking. Medically I have a sick brain, and I’ve had one for 20+ years. My mood states have fluctuated regularly. How can I trust that _I_ made the decisions all through my life, and not bipolar mood state me? And if it was bipolar me, do I hold myself accountable for those decisions, or discount them as bipolar brain?

None of this was adequately answered for me today. My therapist, I think, tried to get me to understand that I am not a bipolar brain, though we joked at the beginning that you can think you’re in control and then – boom! – your brain says it is. So which is it? Is it an existential _I_ making the decisions, or a medically sick brain decidedly influencing the decisions?

We didn’t get as far as answering that question. He did encourage me to be curious about the good that came out of the decisions and not just question and judge the decisions. I still can’t be sure it wasn’t a sick brain that made them.

Anxiety Schmanxiety

My anxiety from the last week’s venture into too much socializing never went away. It’s worse right now as I’m in the middle of a med change as well. Sigh. It’s my life with bipolar to always be in a med change. And mood switches. Both of which lead to increased anxiety. No wonder I’m always anxious. I’m so much more anxious right now. My thoughts are jumbled too. Racing, but jumbled too. My prn only works to a small degree. Sigh.

My therapist wants me to relax. I told him I don’t know how. I’ve always been on edge, even as a child. Always oriented to the next thing, never resting on my laurels. Maybe for a few minutes, but always focused on what the next hurdle or life event would be. That’s what I’m doing now. I’m over anticipating a manic August. I get them every other year or so, and this is a manic year, if all goes according to history. I’m scared shitless. I could just as easily stabilize with the new meds and be fine. Or I could go off the deep end with delusions and lying and risky behavior. Both are probable in my mind. I’m doing way too much future-telling whether a stable one or a manic one. And don’t forget I could go against type and end up depressed. My moods do what they will. I have no control over them. The only constant is anxiety through it all.

Anxiety Schmanxiety. I just looked at a new apartment complex near my family’s house. A first floor one-bedroom is ridiculous! It’s more expensive than the luxury apartments a mile away. But I really won’t know how much I have to spend until I know what if anything I owe in taxes for 2018, and therefore, what I need to set aside in 2019. Anxiety schmanxiety. So my mom recommended we wait until after Christmas season and then see where everything stands. Tax season would start and then I would know more. So I guess I’m in my family’s house for the long haul at this point. I guess that’s ok. Not what I expected, but I guess what I need. That time frame gives me time to get into cooking more for myself and getting back into healthy routines. I haven’t worked out this week. Just haven’t felt up to it. But I need that structure.

Please let me know if my posts make sense together, or if just each paragraph makes sense, or if even each paragraph seems scattered. My therapist and I were analyzing artwork that was indicative of a jumbled mind. I want to know if my writing is jumbled too. I feel it is.

A Hopeful Few Days

Well, I’m still depressed. But the anxiety has a reason! I saw a new psychiatrist last night. His theory is that I get more anxious when my mood changes. And since I’ve had so many mood changes over the last many years, that would produce more anxiety. And the times that I went in to the hospital with anxiety that led to suicidal ideation, I was having mood changes. So, besides social anxiety over the past several days, I am in a mood change. Which I thought. I didn’t start feeling depressed until I had been anxious for a couple days. Then there was some suicidal thinking, but nothing to worry about. Just thoughts.

He also increased my antipsychotic, is thinking of increasing one of my anti-convulsants, and stopped my anti-depressant which will just add to my anxiety he said. I agree, but it seemed to be the drug that worked to make me stable the last month. He said it may have brought me out of a depression, but ultimately won’t work to keep me out of one. Since it costs so much any way, I’ll go with him. He also wants me to consider an injection of an antipsychotic that lasts a month at a time. It’s a drug I’ve been on before with disastrous weight gain and very little if any effect on my mood. But the injection is very different he said. The research I did seemed like it would still cause weight gain. Having just passed the 30 lbs lost mark, I don’t really want to make it Harder to lose weight! But I’ll think about it.

I left thinking there were treatment options and that he had my best self in mind. I can like and trust him with my mental health.

Today I saw a new spiritual director. I haven’t seen anyone formally in close to 10 years I think. A pastor acted as one informally but more as a spiritual friend, which technically is what a spiritual director is… I shared with her the torn identity I have between my ordination history and nurture, and the new place I am, which is not feeding me as well as I hoped. I talked. She listened. She heard that I very much wanted to act on the great compassion I felt for the world. She heard that I was searching for who I am. These are things that I have discussed with my therapist ad nauseaum, but not in those exact words. It’s great when the two people you share your innermost life with are on the same page!

I’ve lost a sense of my contemplative side and of who I am and want to be in the world. I’m running in different directions trying to find places to volunteer only to have doors and windows slammed in my face, all saying not now. I guess it’s time to figure out who I am. I’ve made drastic choices to get help by moving here. By not having to think about some aspects of living because I don’t live alone, I have the opportunity to figure out who I am, even if I’m not stable. And I’m not. I’m depressed again. At least I know the feeling. I can summon some energy to act human.