Friday, June 18, 2010

On Being Crazy

So I briefly touched on the fact that I had a manic phase last week when I posted about my trip to Lava Hot Springs.

Which got me thinking. I have never on this blog been able to just come out and say what exactly is wrong with me. I think I've been a bit ashamed of it, a little embarrassed, a little bit afraid of what people might think. Which is stupid, now that I think about it.

At this point I think you guys all know me well enough to understand more about mental illness than I've given you credit for in the past. You all know that:

1. It isn't my fault. It's a combination of faulty genetics and lots of crap I went through. Mostly it's the genetics, though.
2. My soul isn't "defective". I have a beautiful soul, and it's whole and very special.
3. I can lead a relatively normal life as long as I take my medicine. People would never know there was anything wrong unless I told them. And I generally don't tell people who don't need to know. But telling people things is what the internet is for, so here we are.

Besides, the antiquated views on mental illness are...well, antiquated. I'm not posessed by demons, I promise.

So here it is:

I have Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Disorder usually fits into one of two categories, named Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2. I have a rare form that doesn't really fit into either category. To put it into perspective, it's about as serious as Schizophrenia. In addition to Bipolar Disorder, I have Clinical Depression, an anxiety disorder, and a few OCDish tendencies (but I like the last one because it makes me do everything with mathematical patterns and I am ridiculously good at coming up with organizational systems).

I take pills 3 times a day. 3 medications (or 4 if I have a panic attack), 5 pills, some taken morning, noon, and night. I'm also on a continuous dose of birth control that prevents periods completely so I don't have to worry about the whole PMS thing (thank heaven...).

I love my manic phases because I feel FABULOUS. I feel like I have so much energy. My moods soar. I get so much done. I go out and do things and actually enjoy life for a few days (not that I don't enjoy life in general, it's just a really intense enjoyment I'm talking about here).

I hate my manic phases because when it ends, it ENDS. Abruptly. And I crash below my baseline. My medications usually keep me at a good baseline, which makes me feel pretty good every day. But after a manic phase, I just...can't. It's hard to explain. This is why it's a good thing that I only have 1 or 2 of these a year.

So Friday night I felt fabulous and I got home around 2:00 a.m. and went to sleep, and by the next morning I had crashed. I woke up and didn't want to do anything. I just wanted to lie on the couch all day and eat junk and be lazy, and so that's what I did. And I ate half of a chocolate silk pie and too much ice cream along with it. Sunday was similar, but I made myself get up and do some yard work. I'm slowly climbing back up out of this hole, but I still feel lethargic and blah. That's really the only way to describe it. Blah. And poor Scott has to put up with me being down on everything and moody and sleepy.

At least I'm not being a jerk this time.

The thing about being below my baseline is that it feels like I could fall further at any moment. It's like I'm on the edge of a cliff. I'm on solid ground, yes, but my toes are hanging off the edge and all it would take would be just a little push from anything, really, and down I would go. Fortunately, my antidepressant makes the cliff a lot shorter. (Thank you Mim for the awesome analogy.)

Fortunately, I have a weekend that starts at 3:00 this afternoon, and I can just chill out and by next week I will have gotten plenty of sleep and my moods will be back to normal.


Kim said...

I'm glad you're sharing this stuff now. You're very brave to do it.

I suffer from clinical depression and anxiety, so while I don't know how the manic highs feel, I know how the lows feel. And the inbetweens.

You're right--you do have a beautiful soul.

Anna W said...

You're a doll. I'm so glad we're bloggy friends!

magnolia said...

i'm glad you feel OK sharing this. my mother was bipolar as well, only she never got the treatment. that was... yeah.

sometimes i worry that i've got the same tendencies. so far in my life, the ups and downs haven't been too detrimental, just annoying. but rarely, i get concerned.

and i second the soul part! :)

Anna W said...

It was the most amazing thing when Mim got treated, which lead to me getting treated, since nobody had been able to diagnose us for years and years. I owe my entire relationship with Mim to Lamictal.

RB said...

I love title of this post. Your honesty is great!

Anna W said...

Thanks! It took a long time for me to become that honest with myself.