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