Thursday, 2 August 2012

Borderline, Bipolar and Schizophrenia Among Friends

THERE'S NOT a lot to say [he says at the beginning of quite a long post], except  my mood has plummeted drastically, so that today I've felt unwell most of the day.

I went to see my friend Pinky and she got me to lay down in her bed. I was doing everything to play the sick act, bar wearing pajamas and a Victorian nightcap. O, and no thermometer poking out of my mouth. I nearly purchased a funky digital one in cobalt blue on monday because I was having a manic time. But, fortuitously, ssomething came between me and my money. I still spent "120 on Monday on next to nothing at all. I even plunked down money on Madonna videos that no shop in London appeared to have in stock. Why HMV wouldn't stock Madonna ~ the biggest-selling music act still alive ~ I've not a clue. O yeah and the two biggest record shops in London, Tower Records Piccadilly and the Virgin Megastore Oxford Street have both closed down. ~ And I'm meant to be the crazy one here.

Pinky says my mental "illness" is mostly bipolar mania and says that when I'm hyper I do not realize how high I actually am. She also appears to think I have far more manic episodes than I think I do. So do other people. That's why Mother Hubbard insisted I was bipolar a good ten years before I actually attained the diagnosis ["schizoaffective bipolar ~ differential diagnosis: bipolar 1 disorder"]. Even the Psycho-Iatrist in the old drugs clinic asked whether I was hypomanic when I was plainly "normal". Just because I was chatting away in an over-familiar way. The fact is, I have manic aspects to my ordinary personality ~ a tendency to hyperactivity, leapfrogging ideas and ultrafluent thought.

What gets me most, though, is the assumption by so very many people tht my depressed self is somehow my real and actual self when ~ solipsistic narcissism aside ~ my True Self is only truly manifest in the brilliant vehemence of Mania.

By the way I'm really glad not to be Bipolar Type 2 because most of those (on average) spend 40 times more days depressed than hypomanic. And in many (but by no means all) of the cases ~ especially at the trendier end of the spectrum ~ their borderline hypomania would be no different at all from my Proper Normal Self On Parole from my consistently lingering dysthymia. (That's a posh way of pointing out that one's baseline default mood is actually subsyndromal depression...)!

I felt so ill this morning it took two hours to heave and haul myself out of bed and to push and prod myself a-down the road and down to Pinxx's... and all the rest of it. I really felt lousy. That's why I've not managed to compose myself enough to post anything subsequent to my Manic in the Night extravaganza. I was thinking about my "mental illness" and how it's a "psychotic condition" and a "severe mood disorder" and more to the point, a severe manifestation of a severe mood disorder anyhow, and how just thinking about this could completely do my head in because I'm living with a condition that never truly lets up and that it's considered dangerous, bizarre, unpredictable and obscene and degrading by our Society in General and how I do not want to Live Like This in fact I so frequently don't want to go on living that on my lower days I estimate my odds of Death By Suicide at 85%, with a 10% chance of Death By Firing Squad In Time of War; 5% likelihood of the distant eventuality of Old Age taking me...

Pinky and I got into an intense conflab about "what did I think truly was wrong with her" ~ a lady I sued to consider the most mentally messed-up person I had met, with a treble diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, Paranoid Schizophrenia (which means a psychotic state with fixed and complex delusions; many other psychotic states can feature paranoia ~ severe depression, bipolar disorder, delusional disorder, PTSD, or even Paranoid Personality Disorder... plus she has in the past suffered from severe psychotic depresion (ie she has schizoaffective disorder, but her symptoms are markedly different from mine. For one thing she is the Major Depressive subtype. Schizoaffectives are also often differentiated, for research purposes, into schizophrenic and affective (primarily mood-disordered) subtypes. Meaning she is the schizophrenic subtype of depressive schizoaffective disorder; I'm the affective subtype of bipolar schizoaffective disorder. Her symptoms are mostly schizophrenic whereas mine are mostly manic. Of course I spend far more of the time depressed than manic, but, like I say, my depression is far more likely to be taken as a manifestation of my true self; wheresa when I am manic, the energy just shines out of me, I cannot hide it and, moreover, never have any compunction to do so! Pinky's mood swings are nearly all "Borderline"-related. In fact most of her problems and most of her recent hospitalizations appear to me to be consequences of her personality disorder and not the (far more severe) psychotic illness she has lived with for about twenty years now.

One thing I have learned about Personality Disorders over my years as a junkie (personality-disorderd individuals being far more likely to develop severe drug problems than "ordinary" people)... is that their behaviour often seems inexplicable to outsiders. Even though personality disorders are usually considered "milder" than true mental illnesses (an excuse doctors frequently use not to treat personality-disordered individuals, no matter how desperate, how crisis-ridden they may be...)

In fact, I had managed to "self-medicate" away my chronic, crushing depression so successfully that the mental health professionals at my drug clinic, after more than four hours of interviews, became obsessed with the notion that I, too, might have an underlying Personality Disorder ~ and I was awarded the task of looking them all up and trying to pinpoint which I might be.

The psych nurse, who should really be working as a clinical psychologist ~ that's far more up her street than titration nursing, her normal rôle, seemed infatuated by the idea that I should be on Cluster C, the anxiety cluster, which would make me Avoidant, Dependent or Obsessive-Compulsive. I've only picked up Avoidant characteristics in recent years, have never been Dependent (in this context it means upon other people ~ anyone who knows me knows I'm INDEPENDENT! And I'm nowhere near OCD enough to have that personality disorder.

The only ones I matched were Borderline ~ because I'm highly emotional, but extremely UNimpulsive ~ ie going totally against type in that respect. And although I do get the urge to self-harm, I've not indulged in such behaviour for years. I also have some characteristics of Schizotypal, although I don't consider myself aloof or cold. I do coin many of my own words, am a believeer in "magic" (ie spirituality and psychic powers and so on. And like both Borderlines and Schizotypals have long been prone to depersoalization and derealization (feeling that the Self and World are Unreal) and psychic or psychotic-like experiences. Apart from drugs (which don't "count") physical illness and severe STress have been far more likely than anything else to bring these on.

O and by the way, if you have a "major mental illness" that better accounts for your symptoms than a Personality Disorder then that's your diagnosis. Because I could also, while I'm manic, be diagnosed ADHD by someone who didn't know better ~ because I fulfill all the diagnostic criteria. But when you realize manic people are by definition severely hyperactive and that distractability and inattention is a big part of the bipolar "high" then things should become sparklingly clear. Plus the medication for ADHD, which takes the form of "uppers" sometimes even literal "Speed" (Adderall, which Anna Grace is on, is literally amphetamine ~ ¾ dexamphetamine (the righthand molecule) and ¼ levoamphetamine (the lefthand molecule). Speed being the absolute last thing a person who already feels hyped up, high and grandiloquent, should go near. The reason why some bipolars do take stimulant drugs, by the way, far from "evening out hypomania" as Stephen Fry once claimed, is to intensify the bipolar high. manic states are nothing if not labile: the mood as likely to switch to agitated or irritable fury as states of ecstatic exaltation. Hence the perceived need for drugs in some people. The absolute last thing I'd want when I'm already on a natural high that can outstrip drugged states in every single way is something that's going to make me even higher and possibly flip me out. No, the only nonprescribed drug I've ever felt the need for when manic is Valium!

One last thing what about this poor 16 year-old Chinese swimmer, who pings so fast through the water she actually outdid the male 50 metres freestyle champion when setting her World Record.

And how disingenuous of the American coach John Leonard to describe her feats of excellence as "disturbing" and to allege the poor girl was somehow cheating.

Her name, by the Way, Ye Shi Wen 葉詩文 (叶诗文 in simplified characters), means Leaf Poetry Text!

Have a lovely Bipolar Day, Everbody... What's Left of It...

Illustrated: Susanna Kaysen was misdiagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and confined to a mental hospital for a year and a half in the 1960s after self-harming and a suicide attempt; she was played in the film Girl Interrupted by Winona Ryder... Chinese wonderwoman Leaf Poetry Text in the pool and with her


generic zyprexa said...

Bipolar disorder is very common now a days. Patients suffering from bipolar disorder become unmanageable. We need to take care of them..

Bev said...

I dont know about all the different types of personalitys but why is it they dont sound so good?Cant an obsesive personality be a good thing?I love the movie Three Faces of Eve but I like Joan Woodward when she is Eve Black the fun loving one.Did you see that movie?What did you think of it?and I love her hubby because he plays the role so good .

Gledwood said...

I thought the names of personality disorders sounded like insults, too. It's like saying the very nature of your self is disordered. Not a very good thing. I think in earlier days the label "personality disorder" was an excuse for doctors not to treat you.

I don't know the 3 Faces of Eve, but I know someone who said she had multiple personalities in the past. It's pretty rare over here. Not a diagnosis you see on TV talk shows or anything. Which is weird. How can one thing be so much more prevelent in one country than another?

ps it looks like I was high when I wrote this ~ (not even realizing it) ... ukh!

Anonymous said...

Love the post but my eye's ain't that strong now that i'm an old Bipolar---Bigger letter's for the blind guy

Gledwood said...

Just go into the bottom right-hand corner where you'll see a percentage sign and amp it up to 150% or so! If I put it all in giant text my posts will seem neverending... I know how you feel though. I'm only 40 and I still can't read small print like I used to...

Gledwood said...

Madinsanecrazy: you're a guy? Why did I think you were a woman? People think I'm female too. Especially since the antipsychotics made me start changing sex... so don't worry about it.
By the way I did look for some profile for more information about you, but could not find it anywhere? Don't Wordpress do "profiles"..?

Gledwood said...

I know why!
I thought you were a young woman, because the Madinsanecrazy.Wordpress.com blog portrait shows a young woman!
PS did you just change the name to Bipolar Truth?

Gledwood said...

8:45pm Saturday and I'm feeling hypomanic AGAIN!

Bev said...

Are there any orderly and neat personalitys or are they all disorderly?