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How did you learn about the difference between your symptoms and your true personality ?

 

I have been experiencing mostly mixed episodes for a while now. With some recent medication changed and getting back on Saphris again I am starting to feel a bit better again. I do however still feel a bit ... Racy inside, like I should be up and doing something. I am also still having problems finding things I enjoy to stick with. Even watching TV, playing poker, basic hobbies I tend to enjoy. Yet I feel the urge to be more social and outgoing with no drive or desire to follow through. Basically small (minute compared to before) conflicts in what my mind is telling me.

 

Obvious there is still some mixed mood states here but NOT NEARLY as severe as they had been. Hell I would of given a million dollars the last month to feel like I feel now. Here is my biggest question. What helped teach you the difference between true personality traits and your illness ? I am trying to figure out if I am socially outgoing (was in sales) or socially baseline ... 

 

I used to be in sales but looking back I am guessing that was due to my mania at the time from being BP I ... 

 

The biggest cycle I go through is I build up a base of friendships. then I get into mixed moods (that are not as kind as the one explained above) or extremely depressed and isolate. I am not sure if I am truly socially outgoing when I am stable or if I am just average socially or an introvert as I can be at times as well. With so many personality trait changes with this illness (not just mood) it is very hard to tell WHO I AM. This is a pretty damn important part of recovery. The hard part is you can't tell until you are well. Coming out of this 18 month mixes episode when my meds are right I think I will have a better ideal though. 

 

Having just accepted my diagnosis last November - the toughest thing for me is I truly don't know a damn thing about myself. Even those closest don't. Because who I am as a person changes top to bottom with my illness, not just whether I am happy, sad, mad, or glad. I look forward to getting well so I have a better idea but if I get to a point where I am just basically a little more socially outgoing (but not as much as when I am manic or hypo) and have no mixed symptoms does that mean that is who I am ? It is then possible I am just slightly hypomanic. 

 

It's is so hard to tell this stuff and sure others deal with too - how have you learned more ? Therapy I am in, and sure it will help. I am also only a year into medications and accepting my diagnosis. always had euphoric mania before and thought I just got depressed and then I would be the super happy guy again, conquering the world. Eventually, as I got sober this turned into violent internal manic episodes (racing thoughts to make my head pop up) and agitation beyond belief. Then int mixed episodes as my treatment started up. AP are helping a good deal though

Edited by lanry78
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"I am who I am and that's all that I am."  Popeye the Sailor Man

 

All of it is me (with the possible exception of the things caused by the meds, as they are foreign to my body and myself, but even then I was the one who willing ingested them, knowing full well what the results would be).  A person may be having a really bad bout of the stomach flu, just feel positively awful.  But even in those feelings, that is who they are.  I use to wonder who the "real" me was and the answer is the same for anyone, the real you is the person who has the thoughts and feeling that you do, the person who makes the actions that you do.  Just because its really weird and strange and a whole lot of people don't understand it, that doesn't mean it isn't you.  

 

For me it was a relief, in that I no longer had to work to "find myself".

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I don't think I had bipolar symptoms until I was 21. So before that, for as long as I can remember, I was anxious and depressed. My "good" moods are still "meh" but not horrible or anything like that just. . . not very happy, I guess. But that may be because I'm thinking of "happy" as the FUN stage early in hypomania. the euphoric part, which isn't normal but it's the only HAPPY I have to go by, for the most part.

 

I know the reactive, irritable, angry person I am when hypomanic is NOT me. . . but this is a recent development. Had I been living with this illness for longer than 6 years, I might also agree that it is all me. But I remember NOT being bipolar. So maybe that's why I say it isn't me. I'm just generally non-reactive and laid back and just. . . pretty cool like that, I guess. Even if I'm happy while hypo, I don't want it because I'm also a fucking bitch, and that's not who I personally think I am.

 

But maybe it's best to accept that the illness is part of who I am and therefore the symptoms are manifestations of my personality. While I'm not USUALLY an irritable bitch, I CAN be an irritable bitch, and during those episodes, I can't really DO much about that because in those scenarios, that irritable bitch is who I am.

 

I tend to take "who I am" as what I'm like usually. But that tends to include my OTHER MI symptoms as well. Like, I'll accept that I'm sad and miserable as long as I'm not taking it out on anyone. And I'll accept that I have anxiety and I'm afraid of things too. The thing I'm having a hard time accepting is that I can be a very on edge, ranting, red-faced with veins bulging out and tension headache ridden time bomb as well. Ha ha.

 

So I don't know! I have no idea. I have struggled with this question myself, obviously.

 

I am bipolar, therefore, I am also a fucking time bomb on occasion, I guess. Whatever.

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I have had all the signs and symptoms of BP since I was 8 years old to be honest. I was a horribly tough child to raise. 

 

I had some stability between 14-15. Friends, work, all that good stuff. However I am 35 now. Remembering what life was truly like 20 years ago is very difficult and situations were different. I was a kid with no real responsibilities or serious stressors (although they might have seemed serious at the time.) 

 

Emperor, you gave me a great way to look at it. 

 

Take the symptoms I know are caused by my BP outbursts ... Remove them ... And that is a little closer at least to who I really am. Because my bipolar symptoms aren't always "ALL" there at the same time. They change, and frequently, very frequently.... 

 

Still a challenge. I want to define myself by who I want to be. I may not be able to be that person. That social guy who can hang with people for the night and be comfortable the rest of my life. Sure I have periods of that (and I am NOT hypo). That is where I get confused. This should mean I am that guy that can be socially comfortable but 95% of the time I am not. Is it because of all the other different BP symptoms or is it because even though I experience no other hypo symptoms, this is just the beginning of my hypo. 

 

This is just ONE aspect of my personality I am trying to understand - lol .. Let alone the rest :) 

 

Guess there is no easy answer to this except keep trying to learn daily.

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I don't ever remember a time that I wasn't depressed or hyper, either hypomanic or manic.  There is no "before MI".  So, I just am who I am but more stable.  I am having to learn some emotional life skills since my ability to read people was non-existent.  Also, I no longer scare people.  :/

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How did you learn about the difference between your symptoms and your true personality ?

 

- I used to be in sales but looking back I am guessing that was due to my mania at the time from being BP I ... 

 

- The biggest cycle I go through is I build up a base of friendships. then I get into mixed moods (that are not as kind as the one explained above) or extremely depressed and isolate. I am not sure if I am truly socially outgoing when I am stable or if I am just average socially or an introvert as I can be at times as well. With so many personality trait changes with this illness (not just mood) it is very hard to tell WHO I AM.

 

- the toughest thing for me is I truly don't know a damn thing about myself. Even those closest don't. Because who I am as a person changes top to bottom with my illness, not just whether I am happy, sad, mad, or glad.

 

Oh my goodness, I want to write a better reply to this so bad, because your post spoke to me so much... especially the parts I highlighted above...

 

All I can say, is this has been the most distressing, confusing and frightening part of the entire disorder - not knowing who the hell I am... I feel like I could be anybody, or that I should be somebody specific, or that I could be everybody all at once sometimes... it's the biggest barrier to me taking my required meds, because I'm always scared I'll all of a sudden "be a different person", and that everyone around me will notice...

 

Right now, everyone already notices my up-and-down-ness, my manic and depressed states - and they accept it as part of my personality... cause it is. But then I start taking Prozac or Lamotrigine or whatever, and worry that I start acting "different", it seems, and I freak out that everyone notices or will think differently of me, maybe not find me as interesting or easy to get along with... 

 

Gah... a million thoughts right now about identity, self-awareness and being okay with the way things are, however that may be.... 

 

If I end up with something better to say, I'll come back and add it....... for now, just wanted to send one of those "you are so not alone" replies... 

Edited by lostinthoughtandjaded
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