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Describing What it is Like To Have BP


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Hiya-

A non-MI friend is fascinated by BP and asked me what it "feels like" to have it. I've been bipolar my whole life and I can tell her from that vantage, but I obviously can't compare it to feeling non-bipolar, unless the times in between episodes are really "normal". That is all I have to compare episodes to, just these "normal" times in between.

I can tell her the symptoms, like when I'm going into a mania this happens or a depression that happens, or mania and depression feel this and that way, but what does it feel like to be bipolar? I"m a bit stuck on that.

Sometimes it doesn't feel like anything is wrong or out of the ordinary. My meds hold and I may feel like I can't even cry or express normal emotion (normal for me is on the emotional side, like a lot of bipolars) because i'm so locked-down. that feels like shite because i feel the stir and i want to get it out but i can't bring it up. it is frustrating.

mania is flying high, like i'm always right, invinsible, beautiful, smart, and the world is mine. it feels, non-stop, like the DJ is playing all of my favorite music and I can't get off the dance floor (I love dancing). i have the psychotic thoughts that i am just about super-human and have supernatural powers.

in depression i have the paranoia that everyone is out to get me (this also happens in normal periods but gets worse in depressions). usually it makes the depression worse because i get stuck in thought loops that no one and nothing is on my side and the whole world is against me, and i'm alone without help in the world. depression is about obsession and thought-loops of a dark nature. i also lack energy to clean and wear clothes, so i wear pyjamas and my house goes to hell. i have no interest in going out or seeing my friends. i might drink alone.

in mixed episodes i have the dark thoughts of self-harm and the energy of mania to be dangerous. those are the worst times because in mania i'm just a high child and partying all the time (and getting fired, but not dangerous to myself except in my irresponsible behavior), and in depression i'm too busy worrying about people hating me and sitting in my pyjamas to kill myself.

do you have any other insights? how would you also describe our experience?

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I'm not sure what to add, [blLoon, since your post pretty much hit it right on the mark from me.

I characterize my own hypomanias as a sense of drive... often one that I feel very physically... as if some inner force (strangely, resting in the vicinity of my diaphragm) is pushing me upwards and forwards to get out and go do something. It's a general feeling of being "hyper" (most people should be able to understand what this is). But, it's being hyper 24/7... hyper and happy, or hyper and irritable. I was like this for almost 5 months straight in 2005.

(Of course, my family and I thought that this was my *normal* mood, as that was the first time in my life I'd been pulled out of depression.)

As for depression, this one is REALLY hard to explain to those who are genuinely the happy-bubbly-valley girl/boy personalities all of the time. Such as my aunt and the older cousin of the two here in Georgia. (At least the cousin accepts it and she's willing to deal, but the aunt is still having some issues figuring it out, but I digress.)

I think the best way to explain the big D to the unintiated would be to compare it to fatigue. A huge component of my D is in fact a psychogenic fatigue. (I've been fatigued in hypomania, but those times were clearly due to neurological attacks and not in any way linked to a change in mood.) Also, almost everybody experiences the blues, and it's easy to compare depression to a 24/7, weeks or months-long case of the blues.

And, if they try to convince you that "meditation" *cough* aunt *cough* is the way to pull yourself out of depression, you may wish to slip a few tablets of reserpine (serotonin depleter, like an anti-SSRI) into their drink daily for a few weeks.* ;)

*Note that this may land you in legal trouble.

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My best analogy for depression is that it's like trying to go on, and on, and on, far beyond what could be reasonably asked of any human being. You're fighting a fight, but you have no supplies. They never get to you. Everyone else gets supplies, and wonders why you're doing so badly since (they believe, falsely) you have the same supplies they do. You think eventually someone will see and make it stop, but no one ever does, even when you tell them. And you never get to stop.

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it is interesting, HF, that you feel the drive of hypo physically around your diaphram. That could explain the weird cycling rampage!

(my neighbors are playing weird Celtic music at top volume now. Should I kill them?)

Fatigue is also a good way to put it. Just saying that I like to sit in my pjs and am a sloth isn't as well-stated, because it describes a behavior and not a feeling.

Meditation is for sure the cure, prefixed by prayer! If only we had the "inner strength" to cope!

My friend is really curious and open-minded about it though and doesn't think we're full of it, which is good. I don't think she needs anything in her drink. She seems to have some kind of anxiety disorder and wants to get help for that.

So, a drive, even a physical drive, and then the feelings of fatigue. For me it is also a mental speeding and slowing. I can think faster than during when my ADD is bad and then slow down to "duh" levels pretty quickly if I'm depressed. But then again, normal levels aren't that quick either! ;)

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