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About Rabbity9

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  1. Two years ago, I was in a relationship with a guy who was very nice to me. He was definitely the best boyfriend I'd ever had at the time. He seemed to really enjoy doting on me, complimenting me, etc., and it was pleasant enough to be around him, but I couldn't help feeling like something was missing. We didn't communicate easily, and humor was part of that. We'd laugh at the same TV shows and stuff, but when it came to our own conversations, something just didn't click. I felt ungrateful because he was really so sweet, and I never quite felt like I deserved the affection. I figured that it takes time to really connect with someone, but it didn't seem to improve. Eventually, I decided that I couldn't keep existing in that relationship, and took the painful step of breaking up with him. Six months later, I met my husband, who I clicked with almost immediately, and we make each other laugh all the time. Now, I'm not saying that you should definitely break up with this guy. He sounds like a genuinely good person, and having someone who knows how to help you during anxiety attacks is a major pro, in my opinion. But if you can't see a future with him, that's also not a great sign. It almost sounds like you feel obligated to stay with him because he's kind to you. That's kind of how I felt with my ex. If that's the case, that's not really fair to either of you.
  2. God Do I Need Help

    One of the first things I told my Pdoc was that I would not do well with a medication that made me gain weight. I have a history of disordered eating, and while I'm mostly okay with my bigger (healthy but not my firm and trim ideal) body now, I would not do well with a medication that made me gain weight. He wanted to start me on depakote, but changed it to lamictal because it's more weight neutral. Make sure your pdoc is on the up and up. Generic lamictal is dirt cheap, so a less scrupulous doc might avoid it. That said, I do also take seroquel. I was immediately worried about my research, which told me that it could lead to muscle weakness and weight gain. I am also athletic (rock climbing and trail running is how I learned to accept my body as muscular and strong, rather than waifishly thin.) My pdoc gave me the scrip and told me "I think this will help dial back your irritability, but if you don't like the side effects, you can just stop taking it. We'll check in at your next appointment.
  3. I haven't found any issues with having bipolar on my medical record. When I meet a new provider and tell them what meds I'm on, they just say "uh huh" and write it down, then ask "and are those working for you?" I've only had my own insurance under Obamacare rules where you can't be discriminated against for preexisting conditions, though. I do genuinely fear what might happen to healthcare in the US. I might lose coverage or have to pay a shitload more if some assholes in DC decide that profits are more important than people like us. I can say that my diagnosis and subsequent medications have made my life so, so much easier. I resisted it for a long time. I was diagnosed with depression at 11, took meds for it on and off, unsuccessfully. For about ten years, I noticed mood swings, but denied that I could have bipolar because they didn't seem "crazy" enough. I started getting more obviously hypomanic episodes when I was about 28. It still took me a year to admit it and go get help. mostly because my now husband, who also has bipolar, told me "you are manic right now and you should call my psychiatrist." I've been taking lamictal and seroquel and I honestly don't think I'd be able to handle my life without them. I couldn't even handle a full time job before.
  4. I think you're right. I also think that it's not an inherently insulting question. I know quite a few people with bipolar diagnoses. They aren't necessarily on these boards, because they just take their meds and live normally and don't feel compelled to spend a lot of time thinking about it, (like some of us, me included, who find it's more of a constant presence) If someone asked them "do you think you're in control of your bipolar disorder" they'd say "uh, yeah, I haven't had an episode for like five years. I take my meds and I feel mostly good. Sad when things are sad, happy when things are happy." Ultimately, I think it's a good question. Therapists ask uncomfortable questions because your response is important. Do you control your illness, or does your illness control you? I couldn't answer it with "yes" or "no," personally.
  5. I think we can find each other. My future husband has bipolar, and helped me get diagnosed. I started reading books about bipolar to learn about him, but wound up recognizing a lot of my own patterns. I had a hypomanic episode shortly after we started dating, and he recognized it and compassionately encouraged me to see a psychiatrist. Since I'd more or less realized that I probably had bipolar at that point, I accepted his assessment. The rest is history. There are things that are good. We both take the same lamictal dose, so we can borrow pills when the other is running low because of dumb insurance plans. Very convenient. We can also pretty easily recognize when the other is kinda raw due to mild mood swings, and hold serious discussions later, when we're both feeling better.
  6. I think you can talk about the meaning of a semicolon tattoo without delving into your personal struggles too much. It's about pausing to think about your situation, what matters, how to react, etc. Most people can relate to that.
  7. As an art therapist, this is a fucking brilliant idea. It's not exactly art therapy since it's not happening under the guidance of an art therapist, but it is definitely using your creativity for therapeutic purposes! (Semantics, yes, but if you used a foam roller to help you with a physical ailment, without the guidance of a physical therapist, would you call that self-massage physical therapy?)
  8. No issues with BCP for me. If anything, I think they help, because one of the wonderful side effects of birth control is that it often reduces PMS symptoms, which can include mood dysregulation even for women without a mood disorder. They also give me a lot of peace of mind because I really do not want an unplanned pregnancy with the meds I'm on.
  9. I agree with others who've said that you should probably try therapy. It seems that a lot of things you've experienced are still weighing very heavily on you. Meds can help a lot, but they can't do everything. They can help correct the chemical balance in your brain, but they won't erase your negative thoughts. Therapy can help you feel better about yourself so that you are able to see your assets and help you connect better to others. It is okay to not be "normal" without meds. There is no shame in it. People take medications to make themselves "normal" all the time. Someone with diabetes needs meds to make their insulin response normal, and someone with a mental illness might need meds to make their brain chemistry normal. Lots and lots of people are living more normal lives in many ways thanks to modern medicine. I can say that meds have helped me a lot. I sleep better, take care of myself better, and can focus on the things I need to do rather than my latest mental crisis. I think that meds (once you find some that work) and therapy can definitely help you achieve what you're hoping. I'm recently 30 too. I have a masters degree and am working in my field, but I'm now probably going to go back for another bachelors just to make a lateral career move. I was considered very bright and talented as a kid and some might say that I'm not living up to my potential but guess what? I'm still figuring things out and that's okay. Starting treatment for bipolar has helped a LOT. Instead of making an attempt at progress in my life before giving up due to depression, I am now able to make gradual progress over time. I wish I'd started earlier. I might have excelled in school rather than just getting by, for example. And, regarding hair loss, it's really not the worst thing. I understand why you'd want to avoid it, of course, but I do know a number of good looking men who are losing their hair pretty young, and it really doesn't take away from their looks at all, in my opinion. Most just wear their hair short. Not bald, just pretty close cropped. If you're dating women your own age, many aren't going to be bothered by hair loss at all. It's just a thing that happens to a lot (really, a lot) of men.
  10. I find that a lot of anti-med advocates don't understand what the experience is like, dealing with these disorders. A guy I grew up with recently posted an article on Facebook, and I've seen it pop up a few times since. It was entitled "Rethinking Mental Illness: Are We Drugging Our Prophets and Healers?" I won't link it here, but it's easy to find. It made me pretty angry. The author, a "self-love advocate," seems to have experienced some mental illness, herself, and thinks that it gives her great insight into the world. As such, she has written a general summary of all the erroneous thinking one can have due to romanticizing mental illness. It holds up the idea that people with psychosis should be "supported rather than medicated" without giving answers as to how they might be supported. I work in a psychiatric hospital, so I know well that many people who are not medicated for their hallucinations end up homeless. The author also claims that because people in treatment still commit suicide, that treatment doesn't work, and then they have the gall to suggest that "treatment might have prevented some suicides" in the instance of people like Sylvia Plath, but that it would also rob society of their creative gifts. I find that thinking so ungodly selfish. To say that someone in pain should remain that way to preserve their creative output. Again, this article was written by someone who has experienced mental illness, but the people who happily share and spread such articles tend to just be ignorant hippies who are really into alternative medicine and think all meds are evil because of "big pharma." They have no personal experience with serious mental illness, so they think because they can bust through a bit of a slump with hot yoga, that everyone can. I used exercise, yoga, nutrition, all that stuff, and while I can't deny that it is helpful, it's only helpful when you're already at a decent baseline. Daily yoga and a nutrition-focused vegan diet did not stop me from getting suicidally depressed a few times a year. At the time I also kind of romanticized depression, likely because of the bullshit idea that it makes you more creative and insightful. I know now that it doesn't. I get jack shit done when I'm depressed. I'm not going to be writing great poetry, or really doing anything but the bare minimum to function in between thoughts about dying. I do not feel less creative on meds. Quite the opposite. My mind tends to race too fast to settle on any ideas long enough to conceptualize when I'm hypomanic, and depression is just a dull cloud of doom. This is so apt. How does denying the effectiveness of meds in improving people's lives helping stigma? Isn't it just saying that people who rely on meds didn't "try hard enough" to treat or cure their illness naturally, whatever that means?
  11. You might want to check out Carrie Fisher's book "Shockaholic." She talks pretty candidly about her experience getting ECT to treat her bipolar depression. There's also a fair amount of celebrity stories which might not interest you too much, but they're generally funny and it's a quick read regardless. The ECT stuff was by far the most interesting to me, since you don't hear too many first hand accounts about it. It's still a pretty rare procedure. Carrie got it several times and considered it a maintenance treatment, and had an overall positive view of it, although with some serious side effects, mostly short-term memory issues.
  12. Alcohol

    Alcohol actually helps me feel more stable, which I know is bad. I was self medicating with it a lot before getting diagnosed and starting proper meds. When that happened, I kinda magically started drinking a lot less. I thought I might have alcoholism because I was drinking enough to feel sedated most nights, but it was so easy to cut back once I started seroquel that I know I was just using it to get to a point where I could sleep.
  13. Yeah, definitely. I think it's normal to question things. What you describe sounds exactly like hypomania, and even though I've had similar phases (mine are shorter though, I'm one of those rapid cyclers) I still sometimes feel like I must be making it up. That I was just happy and why should I think that being happy is a symptom? I do not question that I experience depression. That is reeeeally obvious. I have phases where just getting out of bed feels like a marathon and all I see in my future is a black hole of misery, so I can't deny that. I think the thing that keeps me okay with my diagnosis is the meds that finally work. I tried antidepressants in the past, and they were either ineffective or baaadd news. Mood stabilizers and aaps, on the other hand, seem to work rather splendidly. I am not totally stable, but I have also made it through half a year without my typical winter misery, start of spring wild phase and subsequent crash back into misery. Sometimes it helps to think of diagnosis as just a thing that helps you figure out what will help make you better. Like, maybe I don't actually have bipolar, but the meds that help bipolar seem to help me, so this label is okay.
  14. Tic disorders?

    Ho. Ly. Shit. I have never looked at the Yale Tic Scale before and apparently have more tic behaviors than I thought. For instance, "evening up" which is feeling like your body has to be even. I just thought I was really bad at relaxing, because I constantly have to adjust because my body does not feel symmetrical. I've always thought of the ticing as a minor annoyance but the more I look into it, the more I think treating it could substantially improve my life. I get bad headaches that are probably from the weird facial tensing. Man, our brains and bodies are weird.
  15. I don't really enjoy working at all. Working sucks, some jobs suck less. I have friends that genuinely enjoy their work and feel fulfilled and motivated by it, but that is not me. That will never be me. Unless living a pleasant life can possibly be a job. The closest I might ever get to a job I truly enjoy would be a well paid lifestyle blogger, where I make good enough money to afford modest comforts and occasional travel, financed by writing about the climbing trip I just took, or the muffins I just baked, or the adventures I have with my cat. Clearly, I have interests, but none of them are lucrative. I work with troubled kids and I like a lot about it. They’re hilarious and I love it when they have their own accomplishments. I generally feel like what I do matters. But given the choice, I’d rather not work at all. My only career goal now is to get into teaching so that I can have vacations built into my schedule. I am well aware of the problems facing teachers, especially in the U.S., but I currently work in non-profit mental health so it’d be more or less a lateral move into another underpaid job working amidst bureaucratic bullshit with problem children but with the aforementioned vacations. I want to do shit like go backpacking and that just doesn’t happen when I have to save up PTO at a rate of about one day per month. Plus, I think I could possibly help more kids as a teacher because I am able to recognize when a "problem" kid is hurting and needs help, rather than seeing them as an annoyance. That might be the closest to career ambition I have.