Dear Readers and Friends,
While I usually only post once a day, this morning when I awakened I realized that today I need to post a second time. I had intended to spend the next few days focusing on Writing to Heal, but after dreaming about a few blogs I'd read last night (I sometimes dream about things that are bothering me or causing some level of discomfort or concern), and about my response to Periwinkle's comment from yesterday, I've decided to address a few other issues.
So, here goes. First, I need to tell you that my experience with bipolarity is different than others I've read about, and from many of the bloggers I read. Initially I was diagnosed as "atypical bipolar II," but it's quite possible that was a misdiagnosis. Prior to taking medication, I had never experienced a hypomania or mania. My current therapist and I believe I was probably misdiagnosed.
Subsequently, I did experience a lot of bipolar symptoms, but they were medication-induced. So, while I know how awful it is to rapid cycle, now that I'm off most medication, I don't experience it any longer. And while I know what it feels like to act in an erratic manner, and feel overly emotional or grandiose, I no longer have those symptoms as well. While I have experienced intense anger over inconsequential remarks, that, too has gone--with the medication that caused it. And, of course, there is so much more.
The reason I tell you this is because when people write to me about behavioral patterns they are exhibiting, while I may know what it feels to act that way, it isn't something I ever experienced before I starting taking medication. So, it's not a part of my biochemical make-up. And since I wasn't diagnosed or medicated until I was 43, I lived most of my life without exhibiting any of these patterns.
In an odd way, my experience gives me a somewhat unique perspective. In a way, I know what it's like to manifest an entire array of bipolar behavior without truly being bipolar. What this means is that I view other's behavior as somewhat of an outsider.
Having said that, I'd like to share a few additional thoughts. 1. Periwinkle, I hope I didn't hurt your feelings when I responded to yesterday's comment. From my perspective, the behavior you're describing is a "bit off." But, I truly believe we can all change our behavioral patterns. As far as I'm concerned, the problem with bipolar treatment is that the focus on medication is far too great, and there is a lack of focus on therapy, understanding behavioral patterns and changing them, keeping mood charts to see whether medication is improving our condition or causing it, and so much more. And I do believe--that finding an insightful therapist--can make a huge difference in our lives, and I'll post about this later this week.
2. Wendy, I'm not sure if your moods changed as significantly before you began taking medication. But when I read yesterday's post, I wanted to say, "It's very painful to switch moods every few days, and it suggests to me that your medication isn't working as it should." I also believe there are other methods of controlling moods so that you don't just cycle from depression to hypomania and back. The most thoroughly researched treatments are yoga and meditation, and there has been a lot of research confirming their value, and I'll post about it later this week.
3. Catatonic Kid, I believe that post traumatic stress is a huge issue, and one that hasn't been researched enough in terms of its relationship to bipolarity. I'm glad you're writing about it this week.
4. Marja, I believe that depression so skews our life view that it's very difficult to feel competent and capable even when we know we are. I've often wondered if self-hypnosis could help us deal with this, and I'm going to research this topic further.
5. Gianna, As always, I'm thinking about you and hoping your recovery is going well.
6. Tamara, I'm thinking about you as you take time off to deal with your loss of Wyatt,* and to "recharge your batteries."
7. Nancie, I'm thinking about how exhausted you've been, and I'm hoping you're feeling much better.
8. Katie, I'm glad you're feeling so much better after a lengthy depression, and a tough time dealing with Sophie's* illness.
9. Emma, I'm so glad we've become online friends, and I've been praying for you and Molly.*
10. Mariposa, I know you're doing fine, but I decided I should mention how glad I am that we've become online friends. Your comments are always so heartening for me. Ditto for Paula Joy, who's moved on to other things, but was so thoughtful when I was feeling depressed. And welcome to Florida Sue, and welcome back to KJ.
For everyone who reads my blog, I realize how exhausting and devastating it can be to deal with bipolar symptoms--particularly ones that don't go away. I spent years trying to cope with this behavior--even if it was medication-induced. And while a lot of it has disappeared along with the medication that caused it, some of it has remained--to a much lesser degree.
And I certainly know what it feels like to cope with depressive episodes because I've been working at that for 40 years--25 of which were undiagnosed.
Ever since I started writing this blog, I see a great value in sharing our experiences with each other, seeking advice, and sharing techniques that work and those that don't. I believe it's very important to know that whatever we're feeling, we're not alone. And however difficult things seem, they do improve--with time, treatment, insight, and a lot of hard work. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who's struggling to find wellness!
P.S. The names with an asterisk are all people-dogs as Annie used to call them.