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"self-destruct" phases


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First of all, Hello, I've never started my own topic here on the BP board before, but have posted around since we all have so much in common (being a unipolar depressive, and just MI in general-- fun club!)--

but now, I'm thinking maybe we all have TOO MUCH in common

(if you know what I mean)

Breaking News on the 'Meg'sFantasticBrain'-Front:

I've just been remembering this stuff recently and I'm realizing that a couple of what I call my 'self-destruct' phases may have been a little more out there than the runofthemill depression.

It's kinda scary to think about..but then I didn't realize there was anything wrong with taking off in my car in the middle of the night, getting some fast-food, taking a couple shots of vodka, and winding up sleeping in my car in the parking lot of a Wal-mart 40miles outside of town before waking up at 5am and driving home for 6am.

"I couldn't sleep, so I went for a drive" (my excuse if anyone noticed) became my life-- I couldn't wait to finish the regular day so I could just driveanddrive and scream at the top of my lungs and binge eat for relief. I took 'drives' like that several nights a week for months and never told anybody. It's a wonder I'm alive really...it's been more than a year and I hadn't even thought about any of that until yesterday. My pdoc therefore has no idea about all that either.

  • My next 'self-destruct' phase-- I took up stealing. BAD BAD BAD (I know.) but at the time, no guilty concience, no adrenaline, no restraint or self-control. I couldn't go to any stores without taking things. I'd get home and empty my bag and pockets and see stuff that I didn't even really remember taking.

  • Or the whole summer that I had to avoid the highway because it was all I could do not to drive myself off the bridge before my exit. Like physically restraining myself and making my muscles ache.

I never even thought about this stuff when in my regular sleeping 20hoursaday depression. THAT was causing more of an obvious problem to everyone around me and impacting my life, so that's what I sought treatment for. I think that I just completely ignored the so-restless-crawling-out-of-my-skin-screaming part of me that would take over sometimes because it was so easy to ignore since nobody knows about it.

am trying to pin down when these 'phases' were so I can clue the pdoc in to this embarassing crap of mine (which I'm not looking forward to..I feel like it's so 'out of character' that people won't even believe me.)

even though it doesn't feel real to me at all,

I should probably start accepting its existance, huh?

((sigh)) thanks for letting me confess. this is getting kinda unsettling - I mean, I know that I wanted to think about my DX, but I didn't actually believe that I'd find anything to worry about. maybe it has nothing to do with the dx, it's just the way I dealt with the depression? ahh. I don't know.

m

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Sounds a bit like what I call my "drive-by mixed episodes" cause , fortunately, they come and go pretty quick. But definately mixed episodes. Please tell your pdoc about this ASAP--this is not just your run of the mill depression, in my opinion.

Miserable feeling, I know--but talk to your pdoc TOMORROW!!

china

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Sounds a bit like what I call my "drive-by mixed episodes" cause , fortunately, they come and go pretty quick. But definately mixed episodes. Please tell your pdoc about this ASAP--this is not just your run of the mill depression, in my opinion.

Miserable feeling, I know--but talk to your pdoc TOMORROW!!

mixed episodes, huh? I don't really know much about BP (or BPII for that matter)..so should research more I guess. I just wanted to clarify right away that I'm not feeling like this *now*...I'm still okay, the lamictal has done wonders for me and I've been pretty stable (erring on the side of the bedridden depressed me when I do fluctuate) so I have an appointment in 2 weeks to speak with the pdoc. as far as I know, I think I'll keep that appointment, since I'm not having an emergency or anything-- but I wanted to be prepared to tell him all this, it's like after a year of seeing him I'm going to come in and give him a completely different patient. don't even know how to bring it up ;) or answer the question why I haven't brought it up before.

bleh. thanks for the response and concern, china, I'll be lookin around the internet

m

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Can you think of any strategies to deal with these episodes? I see that for a while you have had them in place (bingeing, driving, avoiding certain roads) but I assuming they are not ideal. It would be interesting what triggered these episodes off, and if there was anything else you could do perhaps a bit before it gets to the skin crawling screaming stage, to head them off?

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I was an active alcoholic from my teenage years into my early 20's. So I put alot of my bizarre behavior off to that. Then being sober, I focused on the depressions when I was depressed. I didn't put any thought into my extremely "happy" and active times (or the men, etc). So I sought treatment for depression on and off with different doctors. Finally I had a doctor I had seen for awhile and went into a manic episode.

I was diagnosed with BP I when I was 31. For years, memories kept coming up of manic behavior I had that now made sense. I had a lot of weird driving behavior--as fast and dangerously as I could figuring if God wanted me that he would take me. I too had to restrain myself from driving myself into telephone poles or trees. Of course, the list could go on and on.

It's good that you are remembering these episodes and definitely important to tell your doctor. It's good to get an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible.

Thanks for sharing.

Oreo

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You can always print out what you wrote here-and just hand it to him/her. I, too, find myself beeing "chipper, cheery, and perky" when I have a doc apt, which is NEVER how I feel--so I have started bringing in my journal, blog from here, etc. I do much bettter communicating with someone in writing--and this seems to work for me.

Give it a try!

china

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Wow. I do that, too. The driving that is. I guess I've never heard anyone talk about it before. It got to the point that my friend started coming with me just to make sure I didn't drive over the border. Then she eventually took my keys. I understand what you mean by trying to not drive off a bridge. Its physically painful. I feel you.

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It would be interesting what triggered these episodes off, and if there was anything else you could do perhaps a bit before it gets to the skin crawling screaming stage, to head them off?

I didn't really notice at the time that it was very odd/scary behavior- it's just how I 'dealt' with things at the time, you know? So I have no idea what would 'trigger' it because it was just such a part of daily life...would peter out..then back in again...IDK. That's what I'm trying to pin down. I haven't done the driving/binging stuff in more than a year (in fact, have lost 40lbs! I've gained a lot over the past 5 years or so of depression crap.), and I am 100% sure that I won't cut anymore (my other old standby).

But I agree that I need to find some better ways to deal with this when it comes up again, last time it was almost physically painful not to be moving and running and banging my head against the wall, all while being exhausted and forcing myself to stay in my room. damn, yep, I need some better coping ideas, lol. I just convinced myself.

It's good that you are remembering these episodes and definitely important to tell your doctor. It's good to get an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible.

hey oreo,

thanks for sharing, it's awful how much you had to go through to get to the "oh, duh!-- crap." point, I've heard a lot of CBer's stories about being misdiagnosed, etc. and how much they had to endure to get to the point they're at now. Actually, I think that's the main reason that I started thinking about my own dx/treatment-- because of the personal stories of you all, so thank you thank you.

You can always print out what you wrote here-and just hand it to him/her.

thanks china,

I've tried that, and he makes me read it aloud to him (ugh! worse!) but I will still bring the written stuff with me to make sure I don't sell myself short (seems like a lot of us do that with the pdocs by accident, huh?). That way it can go in his file too, so he won't have to make sense of my chaotic-memory-ramblings all at once. good call.

I try not to get too attached to specific diagnoses.

More like try to treat the most debilitating symptoms you are having that interfere with your daily life.

I know what you're saying, and I agree that the label isn't nearly as important as making sure you survive daytoday life, but I'm actually at the point now that I'm pretty stable (the best I've been since like, age 11.) and all we've been treating are the "most debilitating symptoms you are having that interfere with your daily life"-- the cant.get.out.of.bed.to.save.my.life. depression is kinda in remission right now, so I figured it'd be a good time to take a look at my mental health *overall* and since I'm not in crisis mode, maybe we can look at it more objectively and come up with a solid game plan (if not dx) for next time I need some help.

am I making sense? am very wordy.

although the bedridden depression had the biggest consequences in my life because other people could *see* the problem, I think that risking my life several times a week should be noted--I don't want to have to be in a car wreck or something (therefore would interfere with daily life) for me to bring them up.

Wow. I do that, too. The driving that is. I guess I've never heard anyone talk about it before. It got to the point that my friend started coming with me just to make sure I didn't drive over the border. Then she eventually took my keys. I understand what you mean by trying to not drive off a bridge. Its physically painful. I feel you.

thanks jbella--

I haven't heard much about the driving thing until now either-- it's a good thing we both had good friends around (mine never took my keys, but they cornered me in my room one day for a "talk" and sent my butt packing to a counselor. one night they had noticed that I was gone at like 11pm...and I didn't get back until 6am--- they were pissed at me-- that's what got me to stop the driving thing, I didn't want to make them worry about me.)

the bridge thing is scary.

now *that* I've never heard someone talk about (thank you. it sucks, but thanks.)

;) (next part may therefore be triggering for you, so watch out, k?)

I don't get it because drowning is one of my biggest fears and even when I was little, I made sure I knew what to do if we went off the bridge in the car-- how to get out. I remember asking the fireman when he came to visit in 2nd grade.

I think what made it so hard to stop my arms from doing it was that it would take so little.

just a little flick of the wrist.

just whoops to the right a bit, step on the gas, and be done with it (no turning back either).

ughh. I shouldn't talk about it in detail I think. triggery. bleh.

AAAANYWAY-- LONGEST. REPLY. EVER.

thank you all for responding, as scary as this stuff is to bring up, it feels a lot better to not be carrying all of these memories like a huge secret anymore (and I'm sure more are here somewhere. I know y'all will be waiting on the edge of your seats for the next megscapade!)

:)

m

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Meg, the one thing that I find really interesting about your post is that you are taking Lamictal, which is usually prescribed as a mood stabilizer - I didn't know (that doesn't really mean a lot) that it was used in treating unipolar depression - maybe your pdoc is already on to you?

Do you know who dx'd me? My gp - he handed me a checklist when I told him that I was "in a funk" and couldn't get out of it like I normally could. I went through the checklist and he said, "um, yeah, you have BP, probably BP2". I think the fact that my mom is undiagnosed (although, I've never seen her suffer the depression part) and spends most of her time in the manic phase of the disorder prevented me from seeing that there was anything ever wrong with me.

I come from a long line of family members that drive like maniacs...agressive, fast, angry. Imagine my surprise when I found out that this was part of my disorder and not just a learned behavior (not that the nurturing of it didn't help it along).

It's ok to be scared - you're going to be embarking on a new (ish) road....it seems like the Lamictal is already helping you steady these feelings. Being here on CB will certainly offer you tons of support too. Being BP is not as bad as it's cracked up to be ;) .

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new : I missed taking my Lamictal (and other meds- wellbutrin, and zoloft) for almost two whole days (v.bad. I am totally aware of this, bad meg!) and MAN did I FEEL IT today.

electric jumping out of skin feeling, not being able to finish an entire sentance or make any sense at all to my roommate:

"what if I..oh I bet..I need to..MAN I can't finish one..wonder if it's..not one sentance, huh?..I sound crazy, right?..I wonder if..I should....know what sarah?...I'm dumb for..duh, I should have...I wonder if I can...oh I bet..maybe I should...."

all mixed in with me kinda uncomfortable laughing about how ridiculous it was that I couldn't even finish a thought or sentance, I laughed it off but was so speedy inside my body even though I wasn't moving, you know? I remembered to dial in my refills, but it took 3 calls to hit the right buttons and enter the right number..my roommates actually were like "here meg, let me do that for you" because they could see how hard it was. so. embarassing. ack. I just said I was really sleep-deprived.

it's been six hours or so since I took all my meds (the adderall too to help slow down my thoughts) and I'm feeling about 90% better than just this afternoon.

maybe this BP thing is real? IDK. I should probably move up my pdoc appointment. and I will be amazingly good with keeping up on meds, I promise.

eep!

thanks for any responses!

m

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Meg, the one thing that I find really interesting about your post is that you are taking Lamictal, which is usually prescribed as a mood stabilizer - I didn't know (that doesn't really mean a lot) that it was used in treating unipolar depression - maybe your pdoc is already on to you?

I would agree with you, if it was my pdoc's idea to prescribe a mood-stablizer-- but it was mine. I brought up the idea of them being used to treat treatment-resistant depression and he liked the idea.

I guess that he wouldn't have rxed it if he didn't think it would help me specifically, but I don't think that the mood-stabilizing effects were what he was thinking of (of course, I can't be sure until I talk to him).

It's ok to be scared - you're going to be embarking on a new (ish) road....it seems like the Lamictal is already helping you steady these feelings. Being here on CB will certainly offer you tons of support too. Being BP is not as bad as it's cracked up to be ;) .

Thanks dangergirl,

Lamical is helping a lot, but I'm worried that it'll come back and I won't be prepared, you know? I am so lucky to have CB, you all help ground me a LOT.

I don't want to say I'm BP yet, but it's looking that way, yes?

whew. good to get opinions/advice/etc. responses are helping a lot :)

m

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Your destructive phases do sound a lot like mixed eps, at least how I experience them. I've just started on Lamictal but not on enough yet to make a difference, and am experiencing similar things right now. I think it sounds like a really good idea to have a talk with your Pdoc, and if he/she doesn't think you have BP then maybe get a second opinion, as they may be too set in their way of thinking of you as a unipolar depressive to consider that dx. Good luck ;)

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Hi Meg,

Interesting examples.

I have to firmly say that what you described has nothing to do with depression. They fit the description of manias or mixed state (combination of mania and depression).

It is important to discuss this with your pdoc at your next appointment. Besides printing out your post, one other thing that might be helpful is to sit down and list chronologically as many of these episodes as you remember, looking for a pattern. Being on Lamictal is fortunate if you are starting to see that your moods are more stable. Yes, skipping Lamictal can me you feel really crappy.

I highly recommend buying or reading The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide by Miklowitz. Also, Dr. Jim Phelps has a website dedicated to Bipolar II, but it still has good info on Bipolar Disorder: http://www.psycheducation.org

Welcome! a.m.

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Hey All!

Good thread. I think I'm going to print it out and give it to my pdoc. I always seem even keel when with her, but that's a short visit (once/month) and I feel that, after almost 4 years I am supposed to be able to get through these stages. Apparently, not so. What comes first? Sleep disturbances and disturbing behavior or Upright animated adventures or disturbing behavior? Tick...Tick...Tick... Then the drive off, drive into, wish that :inserttruckbussuvhere: would just wipe me out... thoughts Ugh.. Gotta keep moving, though, right?

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