The other day I stumbled across this here forum, and was gob smacked to find the type of people that were to greet me there. This entire forum is seemingly devoted to Manic Depressives. And the relief I experienced in finding this, was like the Endomorphic reaction that I’m oh so used to.
I am finding this so hard to write down, let alone knowing that it’ll be submitted on the World Wide Web. Please bear with me, it may seem like endless ramblings but I assure you, read between the lines and you may find some meaning in all this.
For some time now (I have mentally documented the last 18 months but it may be longer) I have been extremely concerned for my well being. As I said, I’m not sure when this all started, but there must have been a particular point in time, mustn’t there?
This is my story: (The chronology of this may be a little obscured but it’s roughly as it happened)
For how ever long it had been, I had experienced severe depression, raging anger, utter despair, self worthlessness, all the usual things people just experience as part of life, right? Where I could I’d try not to show how I was feeling to society as a whole. I would talk to friends or colleagues occasionally, but I would always find it hard to open up entirely.
Talking helped, definitely. I was able to take a long look at my self, assess why it was I felt so low all the time. At the same time, I had access to people’s opinions of me. They hadn’t necessarily noticed how depressed I had been, but often noticed irregular patterns in mood. Saying that I’d go from one extreme to the other, seemingly at the flick of a switch. I took this on board and continued researching in to my situation.
It’s around here I can start putting some dates in to this troublesome tale. It was around February 2006 and I was experiencing the worst anger I’d known. It was weird because I was feeling relatively happy, not depressed or anything, but then certain situations would present themselves, and I’d almost have a panic attack, my heart would start to beat really fast, I’d feel like I’d lost complete control of everything around me, and flipped out. This happened perhaps once a week for 3 or 4 weeks. If it didn’t scare other it certainly scared me. I managed to cover it up, its stress, or its or that. People suggested anger management therapy, but I insisted I was fine. I somehow controlled it all. I taught my self to chill out in these situations, or where possible just avoid them. If the problem had been psychological then it was obviously easy to cure. Had it been something more it may still be around, manifesting it’s self as something else. Something else that is more to the point of this post and which I’ll hurry up and get to.
Perhaps a month or so of happiness followed, and then it early April I hit rock bottom. A complete state of depression. I didn’t know what to do. I thought I had gotten over all of this. I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. I wanted it to go away, or at the very least, I wanted to forget about it. For a short time, I felt that what I needed to do was take drugs. Not until you come into contact with a couple of people who choose this route do realise a) So many people are doing it, and b) So many people are ruining their lives. Luckily, maybe thanks to fate, or destiny, or what ever may be controlling me (because it certainly isn’t me), I never did drugs. I never touched the stuff, and I kind of feel proud. However, it was at this time that one night ( Saturday April 15th), somewhat drunkenly I started to poor my heart out to a friend. I made the comparison that my mental state, the way all the troubles in my life balanced out was just like… Manic Depression.
I used the term not as a diagnosis, it was just because of the way the two words contradict each other, and it’s seemed like every emotion I experienced contradicted what I was supposed to be feeling. I kind of came out of this depression (not sure how) and I tell you the phase of happiness that followed is one of the longest I can remember. Maybe 3 and half months of bliss. If you ask me why, I couldn’t honestly tell you but I could have a guess. When I so bluntly summed my life up, saying it was Manic Depression, it scared me. Labelling people seems so horrible. I’m not sure if it’s possible to be labelled in such a way that it’s a positive thing to everyone you meet. That sounds vain I know, but wars have been fought over as much.
Comes to mid August then, and I’m feeling down again. Mid summer blues? Something like that. Was getting a bit pissed of at this point. Really needed some answers. As the “storyteller” I feel that I need to explain what feeling down is to me: Feeling down is when my overall mood is that of depressed. I feel that life it’s self is pointless, that really as a human race we have absolutely no purpose, and if we do, then maybe it’s just me who’s pointless. Feeling down is - not wanting to get out of the bed in the morning, not because I’m “tired”, but because I didn’t want to wake up, ever. Feeling down is then also going out and about, acting like normal, pretending everything is fine. But the strangest thing is, whether it’s a result of the condition, or due to what I’m doing to myself by pretending I’m fine, often I will find that I am fine, more than fine. Absolutely forgetting that there’s anything wrong with me. Hyperactive seems derogatory, but that’s how I’d describe it. People honestly thought I was on drugs. The fact that when I got like this my pupils dilated quite severely heightened there beliefs. I swear that I still hadn’t taken drugs, even to this day. I don’t know why my pupils dilate like that, be it another result of the condition, or just something completely unrelated. However, as quickly as this hyperactive state will come the next I’ll be totally closed up and having problems with self confidence that were destroying friendships, which in turn damaged my self confidence… a never ending loop.
This up and down pattern continued for a while. Then I saw advertised on TV a documentary on Bipolar. Not only was interested in the topic for obvious personal reasons – that of needing to get some answers – I’m also a huge fan of Fry and so this was a must watch. So on Tuesday 19th September 2006 (and the subsequent Tuesday, the 26th) I sat, I watched, and I (could have) screamed. Finally, this looked like sense, the people in the documentary, what they experienced, was so similar to what I experienced, it was like it was all just magically answered. Bipolar Disorder, Manic Depression, what ever you want to cool it, this was what was wrong with me. But you see nothings ever so simple. Although I then continued extensive research into Bipolar, I think I was in denial, I was lying to myself, I was interested in it, I wanted to prove or disprove that this was my problem, but all the time I’d never admit it. I was scared. Scared that if I was to seek diagnosis, and a doctor was to tell me that it’s not bipolar, that I’m back to square one. And scared that if I have bipolar, I’m on medication for life, I’m being labeled all the time by everyone, and how does this affect my job prospects. I was panicking, and although I thought I was coping, on 25th October (Wednesday the) I had a complete breakdown. I pushed away most of my friends, I didn’t want any one, I tried to disengage myself from the world as much as possible. The pills where there, just a reach away, but it was thanks to such a special friend, that I am now telling this. She managed to pull me through, make me realise how selfish I was being, how stupid I was being. I came out of this extreme low and was almost neutral for a while, a couple of slight upsets but to be honest loads of (supposedly) manic highs. And then December 13th (Wednesday,) something happened and I was in a down for the rest of December and most of January. That was when I had to find a new method. I pretended out right that there was nothing wrong with me. I was fine, it’s all psychological. This worked I suppose, for 3 or 4 weeks. Until we’re in the present. And I see this message board full of people talking about bipolar. It’s a wake up call. There are people out there that can help me, advise me, without making it so scary. I owe it to the friends that have tried to help me thus far.
And so, that’s it. That’s what I had to write. It’s there now, for people to analyse.
I do need your help. Anyone here who has been kind enough to read all this, could you please just tell me your opinion:
Do you think I have bipolar, I know it’s impossible for someone to just diagnose it like that, but does this sound like a reasonable explanation?
Is it advisable to come to terms with it sooner rather than later?
Are things like medication easy to get used to?
How much would this change my life making it official, I know it would certainly make me feel much better about things, but is there any negatives?
Any other information would be appreciated.
If anyone can give any help on all this then I would be eternally grateful.
18 months it’s taken me to start piecing it together; let’s just hope it doesn’t all end in pieces.