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Greetings and Salutations

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So, apparently I can't sleep. Just watching a movie and Googling random things, per usual. I was wondering about links between insomnia and bi-polar, which lead me to this crazy place! (Pun intended.) I spent a little while lurking, and decided to introduce myself. Here I am.

Here are the basics. I'm 24, single child of two messily divorced parents, going to college for a second degree, living with my long-term boyfriend, dealing with financial stresses, and just feeling pretty god-damn crazy. No mental illness in the family that I'm aware of, but that doesn't mean it isn't there (I could make a case for either of my parents being bi-polar, or both, but I have no actual knowledge this is true).

Here's why I'm here. It's really simple. I just feel like an effing crazy person, and I'm not sure how to deal anymore. My moods vary so much from one day to the next, I'm not even sure who I AM anymore. I can't say when I first started noticing it. Probably a few years ago, when I went off to college and (again) lived with a significant other. I definitely had mood swings before that, but I never thought they were abnormal. Then again, if I've had a condition since day one, I'd probably assume that's just how life worked. I've had questions for a while, but due to my lack of health insurance, haven't been able to contact anyone on a professional level. I've been blaming it on birth control and hormones for quite some time, but I'm not sure if I can make that argument with confidence anymore. Basically, I'm concerned that I might be bi-polar, or something similar. I really have no idea. That's what I'm here to try to figure out.

Here some symptoms/worries I've had for most of my life:

  • Self-criticism: To be honest, I've never really liked myself. I pick apart everything about myself and ALWAYS focus on the negative instead of the positive. I was picked on a lot in school, and was definitely a nerd, geek, outcast, etc. Blame it partly on awkwardness, partly on poor social skills, and partly on whatever else you want. I have no idea if this is something to worry about or not, but I'm laying it all out on the table!
  • Shyness: I've ALWAYS had trouble making friends, and besides my boyfriend have no actual friends on record. I'm not a people person, and I have a very hard time connecting with people until I start seeing them on a regular basis (and event then, if I don't feel a "connection," it's almost impossible for me to speak up). I freeze. I don't know what to say. I have to talk myself into calling someone on the telephone (other than my mom, or my significant other). Put simply, it's always seemed so much easier for other people.They say, "Just go out and make some friends! Talk to people!" They have no idea how horrifying it is to me.
  • Slight OCD: Sometimes I catch myself having the urge to touch all the buttons on the TV remote, or touch my fingers together in a certain order. These are random occurrences that don't really affect my life significantly, but I've always found it odd. I'm not sure if all people do this or if it's just me. I also just fidget a lot. I play with my hair, shake my foot, etc.
  • Neediness: In relationships, including my current one (even though I'm trying to work on it), I feel INCREDIBLY dependent on my significant other. Before we lived together, I was a mess if I didn't see or talk to my boyfriend at least once a day. Now, I freak out if he goes out to see his friends without me, tries to have some alone-time, or even goes to bed without me. Recently, he's been working after a long stint of unemployment. Going from having him around all the time to having him around a few hours a day is messing with my head. I cry about it sometimes, especially if he's running late and/or forgets to text or call throughout the day/on his way home. Even though I love him to death and have absolutely NO reason to distrust him, I also make up awful scenarios in my head about him cheating with co-workers and other ridiculous things (see: irrational thoughts).
  • Super-high sex drive: Sorry for TMI, but it's true. I never feel OUT of the mood, generally. I'm up for it all the time, and if we don't do it at least once every 1-2 days, it's a serious problem for me. I start to believe that he doesn't love me or find me attractive anymore, even though I know in my heart of hearts that that's the furthest thing from the truth (again, see: irrational thoughts).

Here are some more recent developments:
  • Irrational thoughts: This is the main reason I'm here. I've been experiencing this off and on for years (usually more-so when I'm in a relationship, for whatever reason). I begin thinking horrible things about myself, my significant other, or life in general. Something small just sets me off, and I can't take it anymore. Something that wouldn't bother me if I was in a different mood. Or if I am in a good mood, it shakes me out of it. First, it's like I'm filled with rage for no good reason. I can see myself acting irrationally, but can't talk myself down from it. It's like I'm going to explode if I don't smash something (usually don't, but that's what I feel like doing). It's like my head clouds up and I can't think straight, no matter how hard I try. Then, for whatever reason, the clouds lift and I feel like myself again. Then I feel sadness and guilt. Sadness because I don't understand what's happening to me, and why I can't stop it. Guilt because I'm usually lashing out at the person nearest to me, even if they had nothing to do with the situation (not doing this purposefully - just can't keep all my anger inside, and it has to go somewhere). This can happen multiple times in one day, or over a period of a few days. It really depends. This is also sometimes followed by a feeling of general numbness. Can't feel anything good or bad, just going through the motions. Sometimes talking about it can help snap me out of it a little, sometimes not. This is generally when I feel like a robot, or on "autopilot" if you will.
  • Self-Injury: Sometimes, when I get upset, I can't help it. I don't WANT to do it. But, it feels like the only release. If I feel anxious, it helps calm me down. I don't totally understand it, and sometimes I do it without even thinking. I find myself digging my fingernails into my palms, for instance. I haven't cut myself or considered suicide (I DO NOT want to die), but semi-recently, I dug my nails so deep into my left bicep that I now have scars. I remember doing the same thing once or twice a few years ago, but it didn't hurt or affect me as badly. This recent time was the first time I've ever REALLY hurt myself intentionally, and it scared the shit out of me. I didn't know I was that person, you know? I promised my boyfriend I wouldn't do it again, but it's difficult to stop myself sometimes when I feel like I need to calm down. Nothing else is quite the same. I like the pain. It actually feels good, in a weird way. Then, afterward, I hate myself for it. Hard to describe, and ultra-spooky to me.
  • Changes in appetite: Sometimes I can go without eating all day, or maybe even for two days (until I start feeling numbness in my fingers). Admittedly, I do have a goal to lose weight and don't feel too bad if I go a day without food because seeing the scale goes down makes me feel good (see: self-criticism). But, some days my appetite is just literally gone. Other days I eat like a freaking horse.
  • Changes in sleep patterns: Most nights I sleep, but hardly ever FEEL tired anymore. This is weird because usually I'm always the first one falling asleep. Sleep usually comes from just laying there until I get bored enough to doze off. Other nights, (rarely) I give up and go watch TV or something. This is more common if I'm feeling anxious or upset, but not always. Tonight, for instance, I feel fine for the most part. My eyes are heavy and I'm even yawning, but I just can't actually close my eyes and shut off my brain because it doesn't believe I want/need to sleep.
  • Trouble concentrating: This comes and goes, but has been happening more frequently lately. In fact, I'm sure I've forgotten a few things I was going to say in this post by now. Basically, I lose my train of thought much more quickly than normal. I forget extremely common words and phrases. I stop mid-sentence because I forget what I was saying. I have to ask for instructions multiple times at work, because I forget what my supervisor told me just a few seconds earlier. I read the same line over and over again.
  • "Manic" episodes: I hesitate to call them that, because I'm not sure if that's what they really are. But generally, whenever I get upset, I start cleaning my house like a crazy person. Literally can't stop unless my boyfriend stands in front of me and holds me back. Cleaning is pretty out of character for me (sad to say), so that in itself should be a symptom. Basically, I feel that I have to keep moving. I feel that constantly moving will help me somehow escape my own crazy, irrational thoughts. What I really feel like doing is either SI, or just running out the door until I can't run anymore. But, I feel incredibly guilty after SI. And, running isn't really a great choice either (exercise is also not in my repertoire, and it's very cold outside).
  • Shortness of breath: In general, especially when I'm feeling anxious, I just feel like I can't breathe. I feel like an elephant, or some other large animal, is sitting on my chest. Deep breaths don't help, it's like I can never catch my breath. Even now, when I feel fine. Not something I normally have to deal with.
  • CRAZY PMS: Enough said. ALL of this is worse during that time of the month.

Sorry for the short novel. I used to be a writer, so I feel the need to explain everything extremely well. This list, especially the second part, is starting to ruin my life. It's taking an emotional toll on my relationship (even though he's a dear: completely understanding and already offering to go to the doctor with me). Even the most understanding person can only take so much, you know? I can see it's a burden on him, even if he never says anything negative. I've felt a lot of this off and on, and like I said, blamed it on hormones. And maybe it is. But I can't help but feel that there's something bigger going on. I went on anti-depressants once before (Lexapro, and later Wellbutrin in addition to it). Lexapro worked wonderfully at first, but started making me feel like an awful robot after a bit. So, they added Wellbutrin, but it made me feel even more robot-like. So, I tapered them and stopped a few years ago, and haven't been on anything except birth control since. Very recently (three months ago - after these symptoms started showing up), I stopped using the Nuvaring. I thought it would be better to go off birth control completely to see what I'm like with a clean slate. So far, about the same if not a little worse.

Part of me wants it to be bi-polar, so I have something to blame it on. I also tend to make things out worse than they actually are (I think I'm the only person in the world who actually LIKES being ill for the attention), and I want to make sure I'm not just self-diagnosing. Everything here is as honest as I knew how to be, because I'm honestly looking for help :). I want to feel like myself again, but I don't even know if I know who I am to begin with. Maybe I've just been this way for so long that I've never known anything different. I really have no idea.

Anyhow, thanks if you read this all the way through! You should get a gold star or something :). Anyway, any advice or help narrowing down my list of troublesome options would be awesome, but not sure if I'm actually supposed to ask anything here since this is just an intro board. So for now I guess this is just, "Hello!"


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Thanks for the welcome guys, and no worries about not reading my insanely long post... if you have the time to go through it at some point, I'd love some insight. If not, that's 100% understandable! I was working through some of my own thoughts while I was writing that, and making that list for myself just as much as anyone else. I don't have a therapist or psychiatrist at the moment, but when I do have health insurance and am able to set something up, I want to have something written down to help me organize my thoughts. I'll hop onto one of the other boards and post the Reader's Digest version of this later today perhaps :).

Thanks again and looking forward to getting to know folks on the forum better!!


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Hi. Welcome to CB. Make yourself at home. There is a lot of info on the boards. You are most definitely invited to post your questions. We have blogs and chat, too, so when you get a chance, check them out. Mods and Admins are around to help. Feel free to PM one if you have questions.

No one here can diagnose you. We are not qualified and there is no way you could post sufficient information in this form. What we can do is provide a little insight from out own experiences. What you can do that will help you most is to go check out your student services. Counselling is often offered as are medical services. This could be a very affordable way for you to get professional care.

I skimmed your intro and have to say it doesn't strike me as bipolar. A lot sounds like it's more about self-consciousness and potential anxiety. But this is the way I am reading which might not be the way you meant to be conveying. I could be right or I could be wrong, so take it for what it is worth.

Just for education, not self-diagnosing, this is what DSM IV gives as criteria for bipolar mania. (DSM is the manual used by psychiatric folks to diagnose mental illnesses.) There is another form that doesn't include psychosis or functional impairment to where you can't work, but it too is pretty severe. You have to meet these criteria for a bipolar diagnosis.Like I said, I am not advocating that you self-diagnose. That is a horrible idea. I'm just trying to give you a little info on the diagnosis that you named. Also, if you google, you will find better information by spelling bipolar correctly as one word. The results are of limited value, however, Diagnoses are only meaningful when they are aides to treatment. So, go check out your campus services. If there are none, then contact your county mental health department. There are community clinics for those with low income.

If you want, take a little time to parse your words and post again. There are people here with good info who shy away from long posts.

Anyway, welcome. I hope you feel at home and find the info that you want.

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Yay, I made it through the post of unusual size...Not so yay, I had to cheat and have my browser read it to me.

Welcome.  We have both crazy and boards here.

From what I've read some form of anxiety wouldn't surprise me...nor would depression.  I think Stacia has some good advice on counseling.

I also have to agree about the long post thing.

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Hello, Morgan!

I'm also new here, and my intro post was also lengthy! Haha, so I felt obligated to read all the way through yours.

I have to say I can definitely relate to being really needy in relationships and/or lashing out for no reason. I love my boyfriend to death and trust him completely, but sometimes the tiniest things will set me off yelling at him, and then when I come down I start crying and apologizing like mad. Sometimes I won't even yell, I'll just feel angry, and next time we talk I start apologizing for just feeling angry... Yup. He's kind of learned to ride the waves, I think, but it still makes me feel horrible.

Anyway, as everyone else has said, welcome! Look forward to getting to know you and such.

-Beth :)

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