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Dangerous Impulsive Acts


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I have been doing personal research on early-onset BP, and suddently a certain childhood event occurred to me that I had forgotten about. Impulsive, potentially dangerous acts are a sign of mania, of course, but I've been wishy-washy about labeling my behavior as dangerous. Then I remembered this story:

When I was in seventh grade I was a latch-key kid, who took the bus home to the other side of town and was alone until my parents got out of work. I didn't have any friends that lived nearby because I hadn't grown up in the area.

I've always been an outdoorsy person, and love to walk alone in the woods. I'd often do this without express parental consent (my mother was paranoid of me getting mugged by non-existant mountain-man rapists) and make sure I was home before they were.

So one sunny day I headed out into the large patch of woods in the center of town, between highways. I knew the general mapping of it, and knew it would be private. Then I decided not to come back home.

It's a big gross swamp out there, sometimes up to knee-depth, but I trudged along singing to myself and thinking grand thoughts about the nature of God. At some point I got sick of being wet and thought I should head home, so I cut sideways out onto the highway. But I changed my mind, and went in the opposite direction keeping along the edge of the woods.

Eventually an old railroad track crosses the highway so I followed it. By now the sun was setting, and I stopped at a brook for a drink, because I was dying of thirst. I considered continuing to follow the train tracks to see where it would end up, but it got very dark further into the woods so I decided against it.

On my way back home, I stuck out my finger to hitch-hike. (I am 13 years old.) I got picked up by this kid who seriously couldn't have been out of high school, maybe early college, and he was stoned silly. He tried mumbling at me to get me to go to a party, but I said no thanks. (I hit puberty really early, so I was fully grown then - people would often ask what college I was going to. I'm sure he wasn't a pervert, I just think he thought I was older than I was.) He let me out on the other side of town, really no closer to home. (Later, I regretted not going to that party.)

On the way back, I bought a dozen donoughts for no reason. I ate one or two and ditched them in the woods.

Then I went home. My parents were obviously freaking out, since it was probably 9 at night now. I think I originally planned to be like, "Yeah, I went out, what of it??" and be all defiant, but when I walked through the door my mother said, "Where the hell have you been??" I was SO pissed that she was angry instead of worried that I told them I got lost in the woods and couldn't find my way back. (I know now, obivously, she WAS worried, but hey.)

At no point in time during this escapade did I feel fear. I am not afraid of the woods in the slightest (nor do I think there's reason to be), but it wasn't just that. No one knew where I was. I could have broken something in the swamp. I could have become dehydrated, or ill from drinking funky water. I could really have become lost. I don't believe in woodland-muggers, but hitch-hiking? Underage girl getting into a strange man's car??

The only points of anxiety were: "I hope I don't get in trouble", and "I hope I don't get caught". At one point a car honked at my while I was on the side of the highway, and I ran like hell and literally dove headfirst into the bushes so they wouldn't see me - in case it was family looking for me.

To this day they still think I was "lost in the woods".

I look back on this event in amazement. I can't even express my feelings about it, because I don't know what they are. But if that's not "feelings of invicibility", I don't know what is.

So yeah. Anybody else have any exciting tales of childhood heroism?

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I've got in cars with strangers, I've gone home with strangers, had sex with strangers, I've done the whole gamut of mixing drink and meds and blacking out and losing time and partying like a mad thing. As a kid I wandered outdoors lot, but my parents never gave a toss where I was tbh.

I got into therapy and discovered why I did that stuff and now I don't do it anymore.

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Unless there's something that's not coming through in your post - easily possible - it just feels like you are trying to make some big 'psychological' interpretation of NORMAL teenage behavior. Maybe it's because you were normally much more restricted in your behavior? It does sound like it could be a bit ADD in terms of 'losing track of time' etc. But not really if you didn't do the same thing at other times as well.

I think a person can read "impulsive and potentially dangerous" into almost any act aside from sitting on a couch in front of TV if sitting in front of a TV represented what they thought was normal and appropriate.

Are you having other issues now? (Other than "researching"?)

Be really careful in reading descriptions of various issues like BP etc. It's easy to find reflections of our own behavior, but - to trivialize an example - you could say "One day I just didn't feel like getting out of bed. I wonder if I'm depressed because that can be a symptom."

I don't personally see any reflection of a "symptom of mania" in anything you said. (Again, something may not be coming through.)

IF you do feel you have some significant issues you should definitely speak to a professional. School counselor? Your Doctor? Your parents if you feel a need for therapist.

I definitely don't want to sound like I'm dismissing the possibility that you have issues you need to talk about or deal with.

When I was in school I expressed interest in taking a bunch of psychological tests "just because I was interested." The psychologist who "scored" them contacted the school and said "I want to see that boy." Whether my requesting the tests really represented a "cry for help" or just accidental, it got me in touch with someone to discuss issues I'd never brought up but which turned out to be fairly serious.

Post more here about this experience and your current situation or, better, contact professional if you feel the need. The earlier you can deal with problems the better.

Best wishes

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When I was 7 years old, my evil aunt forgot to pick myself and my cousin (age 8) up from school. After an hour of waiting, we walked the three mile walk home. My cousin didn't have a key, so we had to squeeze through a small gap in the side yard chain link fence. My cousin opened the back garage door, and found the key to the inside of the hours. We stayed there for hours, eventually eating cereal for dinner. About 10pm, my parents came and found us. The daycare had called them when my aunt had forgotten to pick up my 3 year old cousin. Turns out my aunt was in a bar getting wasted.

To this day, I get scared when I loose track of my husband of children and am alone in a store - I'm still afraid of getting lost. And that incident happened 30 years ago.

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You do realize, I hope, that "early onset bipolar," is a pretty controversial construct, which some experts don't even believe exists at all. If you're considering a bipolar dx, I'm wondering why you're looking at random past events, rather than at your present life? Seems that might be more useful.

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Unless there's something that's not coming through in your post - easily possible - it just feels like you are trying to make some big 'psychological' interpretation of NORMAL teenage behavior. Maybe it's because you were normally much more restricted in your behavior? It does sound like it could be a bit ADD in terms of 'losing track of time' etc. But not really if you didn't do the same thing at other times as well.

It totally wasn't normal behavior for me at all. I was extremely restricted in my behavior, and typically neurotic about getting hurt, etc...until I'd have an impulse to do something unsafe, and poof, fear is gone.

This post wasn't meant to be a "look, this is proof!" post, just a story post. There's a vastly better list of "bipolar proof" than this random story - it just that I had forgotten about it, and it fascinated me, because I think it was a good example of one of my impulsive acts.

The primary reason for bipolar suspicion is that my therapist suggested it was a possibility. (There's other posts on the forum about my various problems and suspicions.)

(Also, as an amused note, you seem to think I'm still in high school...?)

You do realize, I hope, that "early onset bipolar," is a pretty controversial construct, which some experts don't even believe exists at all. If you're considering a bipolar dx, I'm wondering why you're looking at random past events, rather than at your present life? Seems that might be more useful.

I'm definitely not focusing on random past events - I've only just started glancing at the concept of early-onset,and happened to see a lot of correlation to my childhood, so it was on my mind.

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"(Also, as an amused note, you seem to think I'm still in high school...?)"

HS? Well, I guess that was a possible thought. I was thinking more "college age". Was it the "school counselor" comment? :)

I know it's easy to get in trouble making presumptions. My apologies. Prol'ly turns out ye'r 83! ;)

And I don't think you had any of your Dx info listed when you first posted so it looked like you were just trying to find associations. It didn't sound from your first post that you had done this because it was dangerous, only that that's what developed. Sorry if I misunderstood.

I suspect I also tend to downplay things I did as a kid that were dangerous in retrospect. Maybe part of that is just "a guy thing"?

Anyway, thanks for sharing more. Sometimes it IS hard to try to look backwards for connections and sometimes they do just pop into your head. Good to find patterns and then try to find the source.

Hope this site is helpful to you.

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I didn't read anything described by Yummy as dangerous or impulsive, but then again I grew up on 750 acres of eastern woodland (norte Americano) and 99% of what I did growing up would be considered dangerous by Oprah's... I mean "today's" standards.

I was dx'd BPII when I was 30 but my mom swears I was always like this. My mate disagrees and knows I still love chocolate while my mom swears I never did (that was my brother, jeebus!) so I sometimes wonder about mom's credibility, :). I remember all sorts of excessive outbursts and tantrums and so on, but even my bros agree that they were of a different quality and apparent source than those of my daughter, who actually does have a dx (child onset BPI). Bottom line, it's neato to wonder about our childhoods, but I dunno if it's typically that helpful in developing a current dx or not.

You do realize, I hope, that "early onset bipolar," is a pretty controversial construct, which some experts don't even believe exists at all.

:) Such "experts" need to come live at my house. Generally such people are full of shit. I've read about this "controversy" and concluded the proponents of denying the existence of early onset are akin to anthropogenic global warming... about as credible as my mom insisting I never loved chocolate. Mileage varies of course, but sheesh. I'd agree getting an accurate dx for a kid is complex, but there are significant indicators for it. Some of those are even the result of doing the science shit, KWIM. ;)

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If you are dx'd, over time you'll become clearer what hypomania is. As states today become more understood, you'll be able to look back an either recognize when the feelings started in your history. I mean, at some point they would start. Now, you probably aren't familiar enough to really recognize them. What you've written could be a sign or it could be ordinary youth reaching for a little freedom. It's not so much the what, it is the what was going on internally. Your internal description isn't ringing BP, but there's so much more to your life that it is impossible for anyone here to say what you experienced. If you think you may be bipolar, I'd focus more on the here and now while leaving the past to later.

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I liked your story, reminded me of some crazy adventures I've had wandering in the woods!

And by the way, I don't think its a problem at all to analyze something random from the past! Just as long as you don't try to overanalyze it, or hunt for problems in just plain old normal behavior, which I don't think you were doing.

Doing something impulsive as a teenager doesn't always fall under the category of oh, that's just normal "teenage rebellion." Maybe it was one of those "normal" rebellious moments for you, maybe it wasn't. And I'm not saying it was a sign of mania or anything, not trying to diagnose you! rolleyes.gif

Sorry I went into a little rant here, but I look back on some of my times and think, "If that was normal teenage rebellion, then everyone must turn out crazy!" haha

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I had a hypomanic episode that climaxed in me trying to meet someone on craigslist (also during the killer timeframe, so you're not alone shiny), then I got scammed. That triggered a deep depression. I had suicidal thoughts and almost drove myself to the hospital. This was several months before I started getting help, and well before the BP dx.

A usual sign of hypomania for me is taking random trips in my car (gets terrible gas mileage) with no thought of the cost. Any kind of drugs or alcohol available is usually fair game. I'm lucky I don't hang around people into hard drugs, or I guarantee I would've done some in the past during an episode.

It's really amazing how internally similar mania and depression can be, despite the obviously different signs. When you're manic, you feel invincible, like everything is planned out perfectly for you. I describe it as when Harry Potter took the Felix Felicis. All the impulsive acts don't seem dangerous at all until you come down. Same thing with depression,except the opposite. Everyone is against you, nothing is going to work out for you. And again, you can't see how dangerous your thoughts are, or how close you might've come to doing something stupid, until you snap out of it.

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HA!

Kay, granted, I only read about half of the thread..... but that thing about looking for someone on Craigslist at the same time as the Craigslist Killer got me thinking-

I have this fucked up 'dangerous' impulsive thing (ignoring the obvious anecdotes of sex, drugs and gunplay) where if- for example- the news talks about a killer using Craigslist to find his victims, all of a sudden I find myself thinking Craigslist holds some mystery or thing that I want and it's all I can do to talk myself out of hopping on Craigslist right then and there.

When the earthquake hit Haiti, I'm pretty sure my immediate thoughts were to hop on a plane and go check it out.

If there's some lysteria outbreak in Maple Leaf Foods, I have immediate urges to go buy a shitload of Maple Leaf products.

The urges are so strong, they surprise me. Like reverse advertising. Only I would feel compelled to buy a Toyota AFTER they put out a continent-wide recall on their brakes.

Umm... yeah....... sorry, you were saying? Right, right, walks through the woods and all that......

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Not sure if this had any effect on my current bipolar diagnosis but when I was about 7 years old I took an ?accidental overdose of my bedwetting tablets (tricyclic antidepressants). I ended up in ICU for a few days and was very unwell. I often wonder if this was in any related to my bipolar diagnosis. I often wonder if this was perhaps due to or even a contributing factor to my illness.

Carolyn xx

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Guest dread oh dreads

On the 3rd of this month...or the 4th...it's all blurry...

I OD'd on trileptal after having a dream that I OD'd. I woke up calmly. Looked at my husband sleeping beside me. Started thinking, OK so what should I take? I remembered the huge bottle of trileptal I had in my car. I put on my shoes, walked out to the car, got the bottle out of my dashboard, and went back inside and sat at the computer. I poured out a randome number of pills- 8. Took them, woke my husband up and told him what I'd done.

Still unsatisfied, when he went out of the room I took a handfull more.

This was the first time I've went to the hospital for being BPII and was admitted...thankfully they didn't admit me to the psych ward. But this was also the first time that I'd not only idealized suicide or overdosing in my mind but I ACTED upon those thoughts.

Now I'm battling depression knowing that it's an option now.

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On the 3rd of this month...or the 4th...it's all blurry...

I OD'd on trileptal after having a dream that I OD'd. I woke up calmly. Looked at my husband sleeping beside me. Started thinking, OK so what should I take? I remembered the huge bottle of trileptal I had in my car. I put on my shoes, walked out to the car, got the bottle out of my dashboard, and went back inside and sat at the computer. I poured out a randome number of pills- 8. Took them, woke my husband up and told him what I'd done.

Still unsatisfied, when he went out of the room I took a handfull more.

This was the first time I've went to the hospital for being BPII and was admitted...thankfully they didn't admit me to the psych ward. But this was also the first time that I'd not only idealized suicide or overdosing in my mind but I ACTED upon those thoughts.

Now I'm battling depression knowing that it's an option now.

Forgot to log in,...

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When I was 18 and had just finished my first semester at a university, which looking back was also my darkest, blackest, most soul-killing depression (this was the mid 80's, I don't know if I even knew the word "depressed" to describe how I felt, and it's really just in looking back and comparing that time period to the rest of my life that I really know the black hole I was in), I went back home to my parents' house for a few weeks, it was the summer. One night I had a dream about going to NYC, I woke up extremely excited and inspired, I KNEW that I had to go no matter what. I decided I should hitchhike there. My mom kept telling me that I would be "meat on the streets", but I thought she was being extremely uptight and paranoid. I also decided that I wanted this to be sort of a "vision quest" type of adventure, like a difficult conquest that I attained on my own, so I took no money (just some loose change), I put a few clothes in a handkerchief and tied it on stick (you know, hobo style), wore my boots and trenchcoat (punk rock, again, the 80's) and I asked my parents for a ride to the bus station (they lived rural), so I could at least get to a largish city to start my journey. Long story short, I didn't end up in NYC but I did hitchhike, ended up in Los Angeles instead (traveled three states over), and over the course of two weeks I saw Las Vegas for the first time, was attacked by a dog, stayed up a few nights on speed, wound those days down with some hits of acid, met the devil incarnate, was raped (while on acid, by the devil incarnate), and ended up on a bus bench holding my legs up to show the bottoms of my feet to all the cars going by (completely out of my mind by that point). What I really wish is that someone would have known that I wasn't thinking clearly, that it's not normal for an 18 year old to want to hitchhike to NYC. I've never told my mom about my depressions, rages and mood swings because I'm ashamed by them, but since it's all been getting so much worse this past year, I finally told her the other day. I reminded her about this incident, them driving me to the bus stop so I could hitchhike to NYC, and she doesn't remember it! She said "surely, if I'd have thought you were really going to do that I would have stopped you". Surely I wish she would have tried harder, though honestly there probably wouldn't have been anything they could do to stop me, I was hell bent......

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I totally missed anything about a craigslist killer. Now I have to go look it up. That's what I get for not reading the news. ;)

As for early onset BP, looking as far back as my memory will allow me (5th grade) I remember my moods changing about junior high school. That's when people around me started accusing me of taking drugs, which I have never done btw. If memory serves me, that's about the time my twin started acting strangely too. We used to spark of off each other and man the explosions were incredible.

Impulsive, dangerous acts? Yeah, I have too many to start going into (sometimes I'm amazed I'm still alive and disease free [er, so to speak]), but they very well could be a sign of early onset BP.

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