This is really just a recount of symptoms and life events (incomplete, of course, but I hope I remembered the important things). Have fun reading.

I've always been a touchy, moody person, for as far back as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories involve freaking out if my mother left me alone, and being incredibly possessive of her when she was around, and so on. I don't think I bonded normally with her. Some of my family say it was because *she* didn't bond normally with *me*, but whatever - I think my pattern of moodiness was evident really early, to anyone who cared to notice.

My parents didn't have the greatest relationship, and they split up (badly) when I was around 6. My father got into booze in a big way at this point, and my mother got into drugs in a big way. They were always into those sorts of things (both of them, and both sorts of things) before, but they really started abusing after the split up. What went on with my father didn't really bug me too much because I didn't live with him, but he was verbally abusive. My mother, OTOH, drove me nuts. She was mean, occasionally physically violent (nothing major, though), and she decided to bring home this total twit of a guy who was even more into drugs than she was. He didn't have a job or a home, and she took him in, and they've been together ever since. He didn't like kids, so needless to say, he and I didn't really get along very well. He never laid a finger on me, though. Truth is, he's quite the wimp. I could control him, but I was still very unhappy, especially since I actually had to negotiate with them to get them to stop doing drugs in front of me. OK, sob story over. On with the fun stuff.

I had a lot of anger issues. People used to say it was because of my circumstances, and maybe they were right to some extent, but the anger was more primitive than that, somehow. It was almost like it was a part of my personality, a part I didn't want. I couldn't always control it. I did things that I will never talk about here. Never, so please don't ask, since you'll just waste your time. It took me years to stop doing what I used to do, but I did eventually stop. But anyway, while it was still going on, my mother decided to take me to a therapist, thinking that something was wrong with me (well duh, yeah, something *was* wrong with me). The therapist then blamed me for my mother's stupid violence problems by saying things like "well if *you* just came home from a long day's work, and you found that such and such a chore hadn't been done, wouldn't *you* be upset?". I hated her (the therapist) so much that I wanted to rip her boobs off. Yes, those visits were *very* productive. What they accomplished was this: I never, ever, wanted to talk to a therapist again for as long as I lived, and I maintain this attitude. The other thing that was accomplished was that I never told her anything. The truth remained my secret for years. Such was the beginning of my anger management issues. Over time, as I alluded to earlier, I learned to control the problem, but it's still *there*. I've read that depakote (and hopefully it's cousins) are really good for eliminating this kind of problem. I hope it works for me.

OK, one symptom down. Next...

Fast forward to my early teens, the spring of grade 9 and summer of grade 10. Something happened to me. I can't explain it, except to say that suddenly, I found myself full of energy and feeling totally great. I felt like I could fly, almost. I was so energetic that I was able to do tons and tons of things on the same amount of sleep that I was getting before (I've never been one to go totally insomniac). I was out helping with the yardwork, biking everywhere, running, swimming, etc. I remember one time, my bike broke, but the other kids all had their bikes (and I must mention that it seems that I only ever maintain friendships when in some sort of manic state - enter depression and I won't speak to them anymore). They said they would put theirs away and walk so we could all walk together. I said that I was fine, that I would just run everywhere. ...and I did. Now, this is something I simply can't normally do. I'm not a runner. I have flat feet and asthma. Yet at that time in my life, I could run and run and run. It was awesome. After a while, though, I found that I had more energy than everyone else. They couldn't keep up with me. I took to taking long walks to work it off. That's when I started in with the alien thing that I've mentioned elsewhere. At first, it was just an idea that I toyed with, but after a while, I started believing it. I believed that they were watching me because I was a great undiscovered genius. I believed that they could hear my thoughts, so I was always organizing and presenting my thoughts in a way that I thought would show off to them how good I was. I would even explain everything that I was doing, so that they would understand. Also, during these long walks, I would feel like a party of friends was walking behind me, basking in my glory (muwahaha). I would do this mostly while on those long, lonesome walks, but also while at home. I wouldn't let anyone in on what was going on, though. If anyone interacted with me, I would seem quite normal, albeit restless/hyper. I was doing quite well in school at the time and I wasn't into any kind of trouble (I rebelled against my mother and swore to never do drugs or anything like that), so no one was concerned.

That lovely, wonderful mood went on for a good year. Then, in grade 11, I crashed and burned badly. The depression was so bad that I could barely function. I began to let my studies slide, I wouldn't interact with people, I would barely talk. All I wanted to do was sleep. I'm surprised I never got suicidal. That's one thing about me - I've never been a suicide risk, no matter how bad things have gotten. Maybe it's because I don't get psychotic while depressed (although I definitely suffer from delusions). I don't know. Well, that depression went on for 3 rotten stinking years. It was made worse by being on the birth control pill, which I just can't seem to tolerate (tried many brands, and they all either induce or make depression worse, or they give me migraines). People definitely knew something was wrong with me, at this time. I couldn't hide this one. I think I would have benefitted from a hospital stay at this point in my life, but I wouldn't open up to anyone at all, not even a therapist whom I phoned and freaked out to over the phone. That poor woman drove all the way out to my house, only to find me perfectly normal looking, saying "I'm fine." That was the first time I decided to try to get help, but I picked the wrong kind - I really can't be comfortable with therapists. I decided to try a pdoc, eventually. Got my doc to send me to one, only to find that I had the same problem - wouldn't tell her the whole story. So, no diagnosis.

At this point, I should mention something weird that was going on at the time (it happened in childhood too, but it was worse during this depression). I was experiencing odd seizure-like symptoms. Didn't know what they were. Thought I had epilepsy, so had myself checked out, but all was fine. Symptoms: I would sometimes just stare off into space, like I was having a petit-mal, but unlike petit-mal, I would be fully aware of everything that was going on. Also, sometimes I would snap into a weird state and do incredibly odd things. One time, I was holding a cup of tea while at a meeting of some sort. Suddenly, everyone just went away (out of my consciousness), and all there was was the tea. I forgot that I was holding onto it, so I dropped it. The burning sensation snapped me back to reality, although it took what seemed like minutes (in actual reality, it was probably only a second). This is just one example. I really thought I had epilepsy, but my current pdoc says that this is actually a symptom that other bipolars experience. Oh yeah, during this depression, I kept smelling men's cologne while lying in my bed. So maybe there was a bit of psychosis - dunno. It kind of freaked me out, but it was a nice cologne, so I didn't mind too much.

OK, fast forward to the end of my first major depressive phase. Whaddaya know, I jumped right back into a manic phase. This one was different, though. Basically, it was like the first one, only more intense. For the first (and thankfully only) time, voices actually spoke *to me*. I've heard voices before, and I've often heard music (that one goes back to childhood, even), but I had never had any voices actually speak *to* me. I became convinced that I was psychic. I even started seeing ghosts (sort of like shadows of animals in my peripheral vision). Like the first time, things were kind of good at first, but over time, they became bad. I got really stressed out this time - lots of anxiety, paranoia, lack of sleep (kept going out for long walks in the middle of the night to work off the energy), and I had this strong sense of dread, like I knew something bad was coming. It sucked to live like that. I was constantly nervous. Sadly, someone decided to break into my apartment and rob me blind, which only made things much much much worse.

Note that at this point in my life, I didn't think there was anything wrong with me. All I knew was that I was prone to depression.

After that robbery, I enrolled in karate classes. Those people honestly thought I was nuts. Put me in a situation where I'm being seriously physically active (it was a tough school, goju style, or something - can't remember anymore), and I get *very* hyper if in a manic state already. I think people found me annoying. I don't know for sure, but I remember their facial expressions, and they weren't very good. I also remember how I felt at the time: i was incredibly irritated with them all for not being energetic enough. Eventually, I engaged in some strange sexual behaviour with someone there, and then quit the class.

I'm not actually sure when this latest phase ended. I think it got mixed into some other stuff. I had a car accident, which I think launched me into a bit of a PTSD thing (nightmares and all). Then had repeated bouts of pneumonia. Somewhere in there, I crashed again, but I just can't remember when exactly. After that crash though, honestly... I think I started experiencing mixed episodes. My reason for thinking this is that since then, I haven't quite been able to put my finger on my mood. I seem to have elements of both depression and mania, or sometimes just severe anxiety. Honestly, I don't know what normal is, so I have no baseline for comparison.

Anyway, since then, over time, I've just gotten more and more irritable, which is something I just can't stand. Then, after having a tough pregnancy which, I think, launched me into one *bad* mixed phase, and after experiencing a little too much homocidal ideation for my liking, I decided that I wasn't in control anymore, and that things had gotten worse. I also decided that I probably *never was* in control. I decided to seek help. And here we are, up to date.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it, hehe. Actually, apologies for just going on about symptoms, but unlike most people here, I've kept myself totally out of the medical system all this time. so...I have no stories about hospital stays. No stories about drug abuse, either, since my mother's drug abuse completely turned me off of that sort of thing.

I've wondered, on occasion, if I actually suffer from schizoaffective disorder, but the pdoc seems pretty convinced it's bipolar. I am (now) willing to trust a professional's opinion and go with whatever drug regime she wants to try, and just see how things go. I've only had one visit with her, though, so we'll see how things pan out (and yeah the diagnosis was pretty fast, but I guess I have a pretty clear history). I will probably refuse therapy, though, if it's suggested, since I think it's pretty clear that negative transference is a real problem for me. She hasn't mentioned anything along those lines, though (I told her what happened, so she probably figured it out already). I can live with the psychoses and delusions and paranoia and so on, but I *can't stand* the anger/irritability thing. It makes me so mad that it makes me mad, hehe. So if she can at least help me with just that one thing, I'll be super happy. The End.

 

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