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Mood Swings!


Brother Jeff
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I've been on meds again now for a couple of weeks but I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever get back to what is "normal" for me, which is coping pretty well most of the time with a major depression hitting maybe once a year and not lasting for more than a couple of weeks.

 

This bipolar depressive phase is the worst one in more than ten years, and probably just as bad as the one that got me diagnosed in 1998. I don't handle stress well anyway, but right now my ability to handle stress is pretty much zero. My anxiety levels are usually really high and I feel frazzled and have a lot of trouble focusing and getting things done. My moods are much more unstable than they usually are. I was EXTREMELY depressed last night to the point of wondering if I needed to go back to the hospital. Today I have felt better, but nowhere near normal.

 

I know I have to give the meds time to work, but so far I can't tell that the Lamictal is doing anything. It's certainly not stabilizing my moods or having an antidepressant effect, which is what I was told to expect.

 

As far as my thinking goes, well, there is a lot of shit that bothers me. I beat myself up far worse than anyone else does, and I know very well that my self-esteem is low and I have a lot of long-standing self-hatred going on. I just don't feel much hope of that ever changing. How can I possibly honestly get better when my self-esteem is so low? The one person I frequently can't stand to be around I can't get away from.

 

I wrote this last night on Facebook, but then decided not to post it there:

 

I feel so embarrassed and ashamed that my life has turned out the way it has. On the surface, it looks bad and I'm afraid of being judged as a pathetic loser who wasted his life. But that's the surface. While my peers have built their adult lives, I have been fighting just to survive. Just to achieve something close to the good mental health most people take for granted.

 

For whatever reason, I got stuck with the bad genetics that brought on the bipolar disorder and all the problems that come with it, including substance abuse. I am so envious of my sister and her very busy but "normal" life I could scream. She has achieved what most Americans would see as a successful life, but not me. I know the "why" of it -- mental illness that in large part I can't help -- but it doesn't really make it easier to accept. If this is my one shot at living life, then why did this hellish illness have to happen to me?

 

I have a trip to NYC planned for late July. I should be really excited about it, but for the most part I'm honestly dreading it. I want to see my friends there and hang out with them and have a good time, but the stress of it all -- the travel and all of the going and doing and activity that I'm not used to -- seems overwhelming right now. It's made worse by my wondering how I'm going to deal with the goddamn embarrassing, stupid, ridiculous, irrational social phobia I've been stuck with since I was a teenager. What little self-esteem I have gets destroyed every time I have to walk into a public restroom and can't manage to do something as simple as PEE. We will be going to sports events such as baseball games. Sounds fun, yes, but also terrifying when the time to go at least try to relieve myself comes. I'm far from being the only one saddled with this absurd phobia, but that knowledge doesn't help much:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paruresis

 

My friends in NYC know about my pee phobia and try to be understanding, but it's still embarrassing as hell because, rationally, I know how ridiculous it is.

 

Everybody else in my family is pretty much "normal", but not me. I get the severe mental illness and the absurd phobias and the life barely worth living... :vent:

 

That's all I can stand to post right now...

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Let me suggest that you don't accept labels from others without a healthy grain of salt. And in my experience, when I was at my lowest of low points, all the people who I thought were 'normal' were in retrospect, utterly delusional, sociopathic and full of 'it'. Every perspective is relative. Plenty of folks around the world would give you a thumbs up diagnosis - no better and no worse than any of your other troubled brothers and sisters in the human family. It just so happens that, despite what your TV and your doctor might tell you, America (if that is where you live) can be full of pretty depressing places and people these days. Hang tough guy. Drink plenty of water until you can't hold it, look for a quiet lavatory and go with it. Public restrooms are shots in the dark at best. Be careful out there.

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She has achieved what most Americans would see as a successful life, but not me.

I don't know about your sister, but most Americans that appear "successful" just had access to lots of credit cards and loans before the economy tanked. Today the reality is that many of these "successful" Americans are saddled with debt, living paycheck to paycheck to make minimum credit card and loan payments, possibly in foreclosure or struggling to make payments on houses that are now worth less than what they paid, and working more hours for less money than ever before. And these are people with good jobs that make good money. Although they might have a nice house and car, they are stressed out and can't sleep at night because they have created a life of slavery for themselves to service their debt. Sure they might be smiling when in public, they have no choice if they have kids. But they are stuck, the consequences of taking on so much debt never occurred to many people because "everyone was doing it". Unfortunately now they are slaves and likely will remain slaves until the day they die, just hoping and praying their job doesn't get outsourced or downsized in a company restructuring the next time the economy tanks.

 

This is no life to envy.

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It's made worse by my wondering how I'm going to deal with the goddamn embarrassing, stupid, ridiculous, irrational social phobia I've been stuck with since I was a teenager. What little self-esteem I have gets destroyed every time I have to walk into a public restroom and can't manage to do something as simple as PEE. We will be going to sports events such as baseball games. Sounds fun, yes, but also terrifying when the time to go at least try to relieve myself comes. I'm far from being the only one saddled with this absurd phobia, but that knowledge doesn't help much. My friends in NYC know about my pee phobia and try to be understanding, but it's still embarrassing as hell because, rationally, I know how ridiculous it is.

 

Hi, Jeff. Just curious if you've tried this, because it works for me if I'm having a problem. Use the stall. You can even sit down, calm yourself down, goof with your cell phone or whatever, and then you'll be able to do your business. Nobody is the wiser that you didn't take a #2.

 

What really gets me is when I have to take a random drug test, because I'm a truck driver. Then you've got some woman standing outside the door, listening for you to pee, then if you don't go right away, they are telling you to get out of the room, drink some water, and if you don't do it by closing time, then they have to turn in a report that you refused the drug test. I won't even walk into the place until I'm about ready to have a bladder explosion.

 

Hope you have a good and enjoyable trip!

 

 

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Bring it up with your doctor if you feel the meds you're taking are making you worse. Most people, especially those with bipolar, have to try a few meds before they get it right. If you don't say anything, the doc won't know.

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She has achieved what most Americans would see as a successful life, but not me.

I don't know about your sister, but most Americans that appear "successful" just had access to lots of credit cards and loans before the economy tanked. Today the reality is that many of these "successful" Americans are saddled with debt, living paycheck to paycheck to make minimum credit card and loan payments, possibly in foreclosure or struggling to make payments on houses that are now worth less than what they paid, and working more hours for less money than ever before. And these are people with good jobs that make good money. Although they might have a nice house and car, they are stressed out and can't sleep at night because they have created a life of slavery for themselves to service their debt. Sure they might be smiling when in public, they have no choice if they have kids. But they are stuck, the consequences of taking on so much debt never occurred to many people because "everyone was doing it". Unfortunately now they are slaves and likely will remain slaves until the day they die, just hoping and praying their job doesn't get outsourced or downsized in a company restructuring the next time the economy tanks.

 

This is no life to envy.

 

I see your point Mike, but it's still hard not to envy those who have "normal" lives and are able to support themselves, even if they are struggling with debt. But yeah, I wouldn't want that life of financial slavery, that's for sure...

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It's made worse by my wondering how I'm going to deal with the goddamn embarrassing, stupid, ridiculous, irrational social phobia I've been stuck with since I was a teenager. What little self-esteem I have gets destroyed every time I have to walk into a public restroom and can't manage to do something as simple as PEE. We will be going to sports events such as baseball games. Sounds fun, yes, but also terrifying when the time to go at least try to relieve myself comes. I'm far from being the only one saddled with this absurd phobia, but that knowledge doesn't help much. My friends in NYC know about my pee phobia and try to be understanding, but it's still embarrassing as hell because, rationally, I know how ridiculous it is.

 

Hi, Jeff. Just curious if you've tried this, because it works for me if I'm having a problem. Use the stall. You can even sit down, calm yourself down, goof with your cell phone or whatever, and then you'll be able to do your business. Nobody is the wiser that you didn't take a #2.

 

What really gets me is when I have to take a random drug test, because I'm a truck driver. Then you've got some woman standing outside the door, listening for you to pee, then if you don't go right away, they are telling you to get out of the room, drink some water, and if you don't do it by closing time, then they have to turn in a report that you refused the drug test. I won't even walk into the place until I'm about ready to have a bladder explosion.

 

Hope you have a good and enjoyable trip!

Hey Eugene, I have done that many times! It's often been the only way I could get my business done. In fact, I always use a stall even when I'm calm enough about it to pee into the toilet standing up. I don't even bother trying to use a urinal because I know it ain't gonna happen no matter how bad I want it to.

 

And yeah, observed drug tests suck! Been there before myself on more than one occasion... :eek:

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Bring it up with your doctor if you feel the meds you're taking are making you worse. Most people, especially those with bipolar, have to try a few meds before they get it right. If you don't say anything, the doc won't know.

I don't know that the meds are making me feel worse. It just seems like they haven't kicked in yet. But, many psychiatric drugs take time to build up to a therapeutic dose. So I'm not ready to throw in the towel with Lamictal yet. But I will discuss it with the doc next time I see her, which actually is on Wednesday afternoon.

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Bring it up with your doctor if you feel the meds you're taking are making you worse. Most people, especially those with bipolar, have to try a few meds before they get it right. If you don't say anything, the doc won't know.

I don't know that the meds are making me feel worse. It just seems like they haven't kicked in yet. But, many psychiatric drugs take time to build up to a therapeutic dose. So I'm not ready to throw in the towel with Lamictal yet. But I will discuss it with the doc next time I see her, which actually is on Wednesday afternoon.

 

Nah, don't give up on it, just keep the doc appraised. Maybe it will work for you, maybe it won't, but let the doc know what's up with you so you can get the best treatment, is all.

Good luck!

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