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is this a manic episode?


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Does this sound like mania to anyone? I need to know if this is worth bringing up to my pdoc.


I've recently made a correlation between an episode when I was 17-18 years old with my current mental illness. I am currently 22 and turning 23 in a few weeks.

I NEVER connected the two but now that I think about it... wow. I ALWAYS thought the first sign of mental illness in me was depression but I think that my first episode was manic.

When I was 17, I met a guy online after months of being obsessed about finding some guy online to call mine. We talked over the course of the year and it was purely obsessional on my part. I wasn't sleeping very much, I was late to classes because I was getting on the school computers to see if he had sent me a new message...I wasn't doing my homework and my grades were slipping even more than they had in the past.. closer to me being 18 my mother decided to look through my phone. Oh boy. She found some NASTY texts between internet guy and myself and she was infuriated. At this point, it was almost set in stone that internet guy was going to come up to visit me so we could finally meet in person and after months of talking with parents they finally agreed to let him come up to see me. Than she found those texts and she decided not to let him come up anymore. I was SO angry that I took my finger nails and dug them deep into my right arm, peeling back a layer of flesh, two length-wise scratches, from wrist near to inner elbow. My mother thought I had gone completely psychotic for doing this over some guy I didn't even know in person. 

When I finally turned 18 a month later and was graduating high school, I decided I was going to have internet guy fly up to pick me up and I was going to moved back to his place all the way across the country! He flew up, met the parents, it went sorta smoothly. Than come graduation ceremony day. I called to tell the school I would not be attending my own fucking high school graduation. I let everyone down... my dad and stepmom and step-sisters flew over to see me graduate... my grandparents took a train from across the country to see me graduate... and I didn't fucking go to it. But at this point in time I was completely deluded and obsessed over this internet guy. I wasn't thinking clearly. I didn't see the whole picture. I didn't care that I just let everyone who loved and cared about me down. I had tunnel vision. 

Later on, when my mom went to drop internet guy off at his hotel, I jumped out of the car and ran because she wouldn't let me stay with him. I stayed in his hotel. I was 18. She couldn't stop me. Noone could. Later that night, I lost my virginity to him. Unprotected. I didn't care.

I flew back to his place with him all the way across the country. Everything started falling apart after a month or so. He was abusive and I was still delusional and obsessed and felt stuck. I did a lot of stupid things while I was living with this piece of shit. I started becoming depressed. The depression kept worsening and worsening and I was completely isolated from the world.

Edited by mochi
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You might want to tell your pdoc about it but in all honesty, no one here can tell you if that is mania or not. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between a teenager making really poor choices and not having a fully developed frontal lobe vs some sort of MI. To me, this sounds like the poor choices thing but like I said, no one here can tell you for sure.

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I'm (perpetually) confused about the fuzzy line between "poor choices" and "(hypo)mania red flags".  There are things that never occurred to me to tell p/tdoc but when told to other CB'ers they said "woah, sounds kinda manic, go tell pdoc".  Then there's other stuff that felt more immediately serious but p/tdoc barely blinked at it and didn't explain why.

 

Can anyone be a bit more specific about why Mochi's description of her experience doesn't sound particularly manic?

 

I don't intend to imply that anyone is wrong, I'm genuinely confused and unclear about the reasoning and the cues supporting that reasoning.

 

In my case, asking p/tdoc was not enlightening at all.  And his perpetual withholding of Dx is not helping efforts to recognize or address relevant problematic behaviors.  (or feel allowed to somewhat relax worries or shift mindset about things that could be considered subclinical lower priorities)

 

Anyway, this is Mochi's thread.  I just described that stuff to explain why I'm interested in the responses to her question.

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I can only speak for myself, but what defines a red flag to me (as opposed to a bad choice) is doing something completely out of character for myself.  I'm usually a tight-ass with money (for example), but all of the sudden, I NEED that $250 makeup brush set from Sephora.  I can justify the hell out of that to myself, but objectively, I would never spend that kind of money on something like that.  Someone who is really in to makeup and/or has the money for that sort of thing might buy it.

 

And that's why no one here can really say "omg, that's manic!" because we don't know  mochi's history and patterns of behavior (nor are we doctors).  There are people who flit from relationship to relationship (even crazy, unstable ones that are abusive).  There are all sorts of causes for that kind of behavior.  Maybe the person has insecurity issues and feels like they need to be needed.  Maybe the person is just afraid to be alone.  Maybe they were just "young and dumb" and didn't know any better.  Maybe they were manic and hypersexual.  There's any number of possibilities.  Also up for consideration is whether it was just a one time thing or if it's a pattern of behavior, etc., etc.

 

I'd say (hypo)manic red flags become that way because if you look at a long enough span of time, you tend to repeat the same behaviors when in a mood episode.  Everyone is different in this regard.  For instance, not everyone who is manic racks up $10,000 in credit card debt.  Not everyone who is manic is hypersexual.  That's why they formed the criteria for a manic episode and you have to have so many of those qualities for a specific length of time.

 

To the OP, if you're behaving in a way that seems out of character for you, then it's always worth bringing up to your doctors.  It's also a really good idea to kind of chart out your moods and behavioral things you've done over a period of time.  It took a couple of years of therapy for me for my doctor to see a cycle.  About every two years, I'd just get weird and do a bunch of weird shit.  In my mind, I always had a reason for it that was separate from my mood, but when you keep repeating the same stupid shit over and over again for no apparent reason, then you kind of have to wonder.  It was also always followed by a period of depression (but again, in my mind, I was just feeling bad over all the stupid shit I just got done doing).  In my mind, that's why it's important to relay this information to the people who are treating you.  They are an objective third party who is trained to look for symptoms and patterns of behavior.

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There's any number of possibilities.  Also up for consideration is whether it was just a one time thing or if it's a pattern of behavior, etc., etc.

 

I'd say (hypo)manic red flags become that way because if you look at a long enough span of time, you tend to repeat the same behaviors when in a mood episode.  Everyone is different in this regard.  For instance, not everyone who is manic racks up $10,000 in credit card debt.  Not everyone who is manic is hypersexual.  That's why they formed the criteria for a manic episode and you have to have so many of those qualities for a specific length of time.

Yes, I am very aware of the crucial aspect of correlation to personal "baseline" history and patterns.  Which is why I get confused when people immediately say "nope, doesn't sound manic" without asking anything about an OP's "normal" range of behavior.  Its specifically that leap that makes me feel like I missed something along the way.

 

If behavior pattern is the main key, then I feel better about understanding the issue.

 

To the OP, I agree with meganhalley about paying attention to out-of-character and repetitive behaviors in the experience you described.  Your description caught my attention because I did something similar (and EXTREMELY out-of-character for me) at a similar age.  As I've gotten older, the significance of incidents like that keeps changing in relation to the rest of my life events.  I had actually nearly forgotten/dismissed that particular incident and not thought about it for years until someone last year asked me questions that shook up the way I'd let a lot of assumptions settle out until then.  Unfortunately recently I lost insurance coverage which interrupted some proposed med changes and cut off a newfound stronger commitment to therapy.  Since this is on your mind right now, go ask your docs and work through whatever you can while you have the opportunity.

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