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Saturday, 18 August 2012

(Bipolar) Mood Swings and Misinformation

TO SKIP to the main part, ignore the first three paragraphs...

I KEEP having recurring dreams about me on the first day of university and instead of signing up for lectures, checking out the library, shopping for books, I am down town, armed with the name of a contact I don't really know, and I'm on a quest to score gear. The entire dream consists of the never-ending rigmarole you go through in a strange town to get drugs off someone you don't know. Sometimes, when the dream gets completely ridiculous, I end up in a succession of increasingly lilliputian shops until I'm eventually curling into a ball to fit into a wendy-house-sized haberdashers. The dream ends and I've wasted day one of a supposed new life without ever getting my hands on any gear.

I woke up feeling panicky with thoughts of death. I'm not clinically "depressed" (well I don't think so). I've just been in a strange mood for days.

After a week with exceedingly poor sleep and barely any appetite at all ~ when it took all afternoon to polish off a plate of pasta ~ and me getting repeated bursts of manic or hypomanic excitement, my sleep and appetite have come back with avengeance.

Bugerlugs has come back from a mystical break in North Wales to constant depression. Like me she gets a lot of mood "issues". She sounds like she's bipolar, or at least cyclothymic. (Cyclothymia entails constant shifts between hypomania (that is: mild mania ~ no psychosis) and depression that doesn't meet the full criteria for a "depressive episode". I'm not a doctor, but if a person feels truly dreadful for days on end, especially if their sleep and/or appetite is affected, it probably is clinical depression, in which case she might be bipolar, type 2.

The difference between bipolar depression and the "normal" type is that a bipolar person cannot just pop antidepressants, which can cause the mood to switch poles or to cycle rapidly. Antidepressants are only ever used for bipolar disorder in conjunction with a mood stabilizer.

The self-help books and sites dedicated to bipolar problems will often mention that the condition typically goes undiagnosed for an average decade or more ~ and then proceed to spout the very generalizations and misleading statements that have long helped such a situation thrive!

For example, many sufferers dislike the term "bipolar" ~ encouraging, as it does, the idea that the illness is somehow a fluctuation between extreme happiness and sadness.

Mania actually means "excitement". Although they do typically feel "high", manic people are usually agitated and irritable as well, especially as the mania gets more severe. Euphoria and depression often intermingle or alternate speedily so that a severely manic person might laugh, cry and rage within the space of a few minutes ~ like a bad drunk.

There is such a huge range of feelings and behaviours associated with (hypo)mania ~ from increased energy, enthusiasm and creativity at the mild end of the spectrum to frenzied overactivity with incoherent thought and speech and delusions and hallucinations at the other that it is hard to generalize at all.

In the textbook form of the illness, mania and depression may follow one another, lasting months each, but there are usually years of normal (or nearly normal) moods between episodes. An average sufferer has "only" eight episodes in a lifetime.

But bipolar conditions can take rapid cycling forms with periods of high, low or mixed moods lasting only days or hours or minutes. Rapid cycling is more common in women, and more common still in people with substance abuse issues. Many if not most of the bipolar bloggers out there are rapid cyclers. Presumably the more of the time you experience manic-depressive symptoms, the more intertwined the illness will be with your own identity. Hence the preponderance of rapid-cycling bipolar bloggers.

It's fashionable to label the condition a "brain disorder", as if as separate from one's Self as diabetes or heart disease. But in many respects a disorder of moods must be a disorder of Self. We are our moods, after all. Descartes could more accurately have phrased his dictum: "I feel therefore I am..."

Not everyone with manic-depressive illness seems to want to present themselves this way. Anna Grace, for instance, prefers to portray herself as an Addict ~ even at the cost of attracting Haters ~ and even though she sticks loyally to her methadone, not touching street drugs for months at a time. Her bipolar problems are compounded by ADHD and a Borderline Personality Disorder, which make her mood symptoms even more unstable.

Originally I had wanted to post something to dispel the misleading generalizations about mood disorder that seem to congregate online. I'm not sure I have managed this.

Really, I wanted to write about moodswings as they affected other people; I'm bored of talking about myself.

What more is there to say about the type of "mental illness" where just about everything you think, feel, say or do can be construed as a "symptom"?

(Probably so much more, if the truth be told, that if I continued writing without stopping, I could die of old age in forty years' time with half the subject still not covered!)

So I will close the Subject here...

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It has been boiling hot here in London. The weather Picture-Perfect. I hope you're all having a GREAT WEEKEND...



Illustrated: Bugerlugs is a breeer of Roborovski Hamsters; Anna Grace in the Rubik's Cube of time...



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GIVE ME ALL YOUR LUVIN' ~ MADONNA FT. NICKI MINAJ & M.I.A




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7 comments:

bugerlugs63 said...

I get that dream too . . . I'm not on my first day of Uni, but I am supposed to be somewhere else (possibly with the kids) so I am hurrying and getting nowhere . . from person to person, through bars and places . . almost scoring, even seeing others smoking it and little packages ready for the taking. . . but never quite getting hold of any . . . How bizarre!
I won't comment on the BP or MD, as I've had enough "mental talk" for one day at mine ;-)
Love as always x x x

karl said...

I get a dream where I have to hand in an essay that I haven't started by the next day but I can't start writing untill I've scored.

jade said...

hello gleds! I've made my rounds of blogs this weekend and left comments... saved you for last my dear! ;-) I've enjoyed your 'mental' posts as they have helped some with understanding my friend Miss Tina. I'm not sure if she is bipoler but IS very paranoid scizo. always asking if I heard something because she had trouble determine if things she hears are real or not. oh and ALWAYS thinking people have stole from her! love her like crazy but she can be difficult to deal with at times! This quack of a doc she sees gives her 30 mg addarl (sp) which makes thing 100× worse I believe. last thing in world my paranoid Miss Tina needs is SPEED!!! ugh
anyway standing out here in my yard a bit some ways south of Detroit faceing east and waveing like a maniac in your direction! :-) hope you had a good weekend! mine is winding down now, trying to get prepared for the nasty work week ahead... gotta spend my five days in hell in order to be able to have my Friday night - Sunday night escape!

jade said...

hello gleds! I've made my rounds of blogs this weekend and left comments... saved you for last my dear! ;-) I've enjoyed your 'mental' posts as they have helped some with understanding my friend Miss Tina. I'm not sure if she is bipoler but IS very paranoid scizo. always asking if I heard something because she had trouble determine if things she hears are real or not. oh and ALWAYS thinking people have stole from her! love her like crazy but she can be difficult to deal with at times! This quack of a doc she sees gives her 30 mg addarl (sp) which makes thing 100× worse I believe. last thing in world my paranoid Miss Tina needs is SPEED!!! ugh
anyway standing out here in my yard a bit some ways south of Detroit faceing east and waveing like a maniac in your direction! :-) hope you had a good weekend! mine is winding down now, trying to get prepared for the nasty work week ahead... gotta spend my five days in hell in order to be able to have my Friday night - Sunday night escape!

jade said...

Damn that posted TWICE! I'm sorry ! idk how I did that but I tryed to remove one and cant! idk how to remove a comments on this stupid phone. :-( maybe have to see the whole blog on the computer to remove comments? ok well if I have time tomorrow I'll stop by the library computers and see if I can figure it out. sorry again!

Bev said...

Stud Buck XoXOXO.I will go and see my lucky star post. Thank you for thinking of me you sweet babeeeeeeeee!XOXO

Anna Young said...

Love you darling. Sorry I can't stock by and catch up, I'm on vacation in northern Wisconsin with almost the entire Young side of the family. I have to drive an hour one way to get my methadone in Wausaw WI. I don't get back until Tuesday. I'll have pics. I love u dearly cyber hubby.
xx
Anna Grace