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Stable = apathy? Emotional = depressed?


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the only distinction for me is how "loud" the emotions are.  i don't become apathetic, but i don't feel so "deeply" either.  when i'm properly depressed, my negative emotions are out of proportion, when hypo my positive emotions are out of proportion.  there's no comparable "normal" to a mixed state for me. 

 

indicators for me have more to do with how i see the future:  depressed means i think the future holds nothing but more of the same pain and bad luck.  hypomania means i think the future is going to be great!  mixed states... there is only the NOW, no future (that sounds so mindful, doesn't it?  not the same kind of being in the "now", though).

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I've actually been drafting a blog post for another site about the entire concept of apathy. All it has done so far however is raised a ton of questions. For awhile I was thankful for the apathy b/c at least I wasn't suicidal or charging international vacations on my credit cards. Then I began to miss the emotion, like a life of flat was not really a life. Now I'm digging a lot deeper philosophically and am asking myself if I'm actually using my apathy as a defense mechanism. Do I hide behind the nothing so that the something can't hurt me? For example, not falling in love for fear of getting your heart broken... what if life in general breaks your heart? Isn't that worse (and really scary)? I think for me this state of mind isn't so much a med question but a therapy one...and possibly one for some more journaling. I'll keep you posted on any revelations. However, if I ever start a post or a thread with the sentence "I've just had the greatest epiphany"....ask me if I'm off my meds. That's usually the first sign. Good luck!

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I can relate to this, however I recently discovered that my "normal", which seemed to be 'fat effect' or kind of numb.. was really lingering mild depression. I always thought it was just 'normal' on meds, and eversince I stopped taking my AAP and just been taking anti-depressants (yes, I know, bad for bipolar) I've felt better. I actually have emotions now, I can be talkative and creative, and actually smile!

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I have a pretty flat affect from my meds. But to be honest, it took such a long time to find a combination that worked for me that a somewhat flat mood after 35 years of up and crashes was a relief to me.

While I don't smile at every cute baby that walks past me, I do think "cute baby" in my head. And that's about the same as me showing my emotions, because I'm one of those people who always has a conversation with herself inside her brain that is as real as any person to person one.

I tell my family I love them multiple times a day and look for ways to make their days special.

But anything that doesn't immediately impact me or my family gets none of my emotion wasted on it. That's where the "I don't give a fuck" apathy comes in.

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I've had apathy before as well, for me, it was just a different type of depression, one that I haven't felt before. Have you had any med changes all? Or are u completely off meds?

I hope you feel better soon. Once I had a new med change I felt much better. Apathy to me was much worse than a major depression.

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This is exactly what I was so worried about with meds...  and is why I resisted them for so long.

 

...however, I have recently found that if you are on the right balance of meds and have a doc that understands - stable does not have to equal dull.

 

 

 

My prescribed amount of Lithium is only enough to prevent me from going off the deep end, the doc said he has no problem with me still having some *mild* elevations...  especially as that is my 'normal' base state anyway.  I still didn't believe him fully... until the past 2 months when I had some of the most creative and consistent output in a long time.  I wasn't dulled - I was only prevented from bouncing around too much.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I can relate to the apathy, although for me it's definitely a form of depression. It happens when I'm depressed for so long that I just fall asleep to the world and esentially go into hibernation. I let people walk all over me and hurt me when I'm in this state, and I just don't care at all. Then when I start to transition into mania, all the emotions from people being jerks while I was depressed suddenly come out.

 

Well, that's a vastly oversimplified version, but it's kinda the truth. So yeah, for me, apathy indicates depression and emotionality indicates mania. And as for stability...what the heck is that? I know not of this mysterious "stability"...

Edited by starship_subaru
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Maybe you are doing what I used to do. Maybe you are subconsciously shutting down your emotions to help prevent the stronger emotions associated with a swing.? I don't know about you but I felt like I had to control getting too excited as much as too depressed. Majorly excited over nothing doesn't always translate to normal with peers.

 

The other option is that you are not stable when feeling the apathy of your stability. You may be dysthymic. Apathy is a symptom of depression. So is anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure. Depression does not have to be a big emotional thing for it to be there. It would not be exceptional for a bipolar person to spend more time in milder mood states than they realize.

 

As far as med head, it's usually a sign that your meds aren't working properly. Most people properly medicated experience a full range of emotions. To experience that, I had to settle down from the episode that got me diagnosed and get my meds right. But wait, there's more. I also had to learn to trust that my meds were going to hold me from extreme emotions so that I could learn to relax and just feel naturally. This definitely took time. My world now is much richer emotionally than it was before because I can let myself fully feel without fear of going off the deep end. (Keep in mind as you read the boards here, Crazyboards attracts people having problems with their illness or meds, not so much stable people out fully living a healthy life on meds.)

 

At any rate, you might find that your apathy or normalcy lifts with a stabilizer like Lamictal known for it's antidepressant qualities. There are a couple AAPs know for antidepressant effects, too. Just because you aren't in a major swing doesn't mean you can't benefit from stabilizers immediately. Feeling apathetic all the time sucks. It's better than depression but it's not fully living.

Edited by AnneMarie
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  • 1 month later...

Depression is apathy for me - exhaustion, lack of meaning, the world seeming flat. I'm not a particularly emotional person anyway, so I don't get upset or cry or anything.

 

I'm on lamictal and depakote now, and they don't make me flat at all. I'm cheerful, interested in things, engaged in the world, and very creative.

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