The Hidden Masquerades & Mutuality.

My story is about a friendship I formed two years ago, it seems like much longer. We were two sad little girls sitting all alone with attachment issues.

One of my many nights of drinking, excessive drinking. ‘Classily’ indulging in two bottles of wine to myself, past the point of inebriation. Tonight was new, it was her house. She was this small eccentric ball of fun, like a small child chasing the butterflies. She was beautiful, so comfortable and alluring in her uniqueness. In my own way I was fascinated and mesmerised by how she drew people to her. I didn’t realise then the underlying toll that she was putting on herself by being part of this social gathering, by pretending to fit in.

Social_anxiety_by_FallenRox

The hours slowly passed and I was drunker(I wonder how that was even possible), thinking that I might make a pass at her but undecided if she was interested. It wasn’t what I expected when I walked into the dark room where she had been sitting, quietly isolating herself from the others with tears falling down her face. All my intentions quickly dissipated, this was different, this was real. Her body shook, physically racked by her emotions. I sat across from her, waiting for her to speak, uncertain if I should embrace her. Through the tears and jumbled words I found out that today was her dad’s birthday, her dad who had willingly taken his own life, like my own had.

I understood too well the pain that the selfish action causes to those around them. I asked her about him, trying to calm her breathing, I later confided in her something that only a handful of my closest friends new, the inner workings of person who also suffered from the abandonment of one’s parent, the build of attachment and trust issues. The deaths created foundations for our negative mental health. In her, I saw myself, I was the quieter subtly version of her, but we were still the same. Our friendship grew on the mutual hurt created by our parents. No one else understood in its entirety, no one could relate.

Her anxiety ruled her every day, not always able to leave the house. She would sit under all the covers on her bed, waiting for the day to be over, finding some comfort in the warmth. Her heart would start beating so fast, the quick panic written on her face, I could rarely calm her. The simplest of things would make her over-analyse, layer and layer of potential bad would fill her thoughts. The triggers making her fight the waves of nausea and the shaking confusion that would afflict her. I couldn’t make her panic go away, she was immune to the calm voices around her, the panic amplifying. I loved her and I still love her, she is a beautiful person that is slowly finding stability now, being more comfortable and happy for the first time in a year. I saw her the other day, the difference was overwhelming. In my own way I was the extremely proud mother.

1381394_839421942734750_954659834668011364_nMy pocket rocket.

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Alice & Her Attempt At Leaving Wonderland.

It’s been cold in your shadow, my shadow. Never having sunshine on my face, your face. I have always been content to let you shine, to let me shine. I always walked a step behind myself. I was the one with all the strength, a beautiful face without a name for so long, a beautiful smile that hid the pain.

Having an epiphany when two facets of yourself become one, the one the world knows and the quiet self-conscious one inside, the one who stared out of the windows of life, not participating, merely watching and wondering why I couldn’t be both.

(Featured image: Girl walking up hill – by me 🙂 )

My new thoughts consist of pretending that I’m the normal person in the crowd, my boyfriend has found out the truth though, he has seen my scars, he holds me, asking me if I’m alright. The quick answer of “yes” always ready. Last night I told him I was fine, that I was bipolar and that it doesn’t affect me. These are the nice lies that I also tell to myself. He tells me that my scars and disorder hasn’t pushed him away, but I always wonder. It’s nice to know that someone doesn’t see me for my scars. My quick smiles use to hide the sadness in my eyes, but now they are simply smiles. I won’t cut tonight, in my mind that chapter is slowly getting closed.

I don’t need the balance that I found in the blade and the simple ritualistic movements. The never-ending perplexity of non-suicidal self-injury. My happiness and depression making me question what really separates the genius from the madman? New ideas and thought processes are created by people living on the edge instead of the norm. I’m stumped that Bipolar Disorder keeps on getting referred to as a ‘beast of an illness’, it is what it is, you make the most of it, the negatives are only what you make of them. Someone once told me that I’m a ‘beautiful tragedy’, it made me completely disheartened, this happened even before my diagnosis, this was an asterism (a manner of deriding another), these conflicting words made me realise that the only real tragedy was them and their ignorant concept of beauty. At that point in life I was incapable of helping or ‘fixing’ myself, yet people asked me to fix their problems…ironic.

There wasn’t any room left for tears. I’m not that person anymore, thankfully. It’s become silly and trivial, I’m 22 and bored with the useless criticisms from myself and others, life is simply too short. Feeling ‘happiness’ has allowed me to no longer feel like the abandoned shipwreck, finding deep inside a small seed of happiness that I could allow to grow. There seems to be constantly different peaks in my life where at times I feel like I’m running an emergency room without morphine. I’m actually happier than I’ve been in over a year, I’m slowly replacing all my excessive black clothing with the colours that I had squashed to the back of my wardrobe, with the purpose of never finding them or needing them again. People start to get in a cycle where they stop believing in the possibility of being happy because the darkness becomes so consuming and comforting. wonderland_by_lacza-d4x7o6f

The World Is His Oyster: Talking About ADHD

To be perfectly honest I don’t know much about ADHD, one of my close friends was recently diagnosed at 21 years old. He wondered how he got to that age with no one noticing, in a way he was let down by both the schooling system and his family. If he has gotten to where he is today completely on his own he believes that it has made him a stronger person. My friend is now taking Ritalin, feeling clear headed for the first time ever, his anxiety is gone, all he sees now is the potential of the world and how it has become (to a degree) limitless. As he was confessing his mental illness to me, I started to think that I had never seen him so happy, he couldn’t keep the smile off this face, and he even had more confidence when he was speaking then in all the years I’ve known him.

My friend had originally only gone to the doctors for help with his anxiety, the doctor diagnosing him as also depressed when he wasn’t, the antidepressants his doctor prescribed him did nothing. He was later sent to a psychiatrist and diagnosed with ADHD, I’ve never met someone who is so happy to be diagnosed. He just keeps saying “if I got that far without being diagnosed, I wonder what I could do now, considering I can actually focus and pay attention”. He had already completed an IT course at Tafe and was climbing the career ladder at his work but he is now considering psychology. He is a really smart person, no one realised though. My friend’s ADHD was left unrecognised for so long because he didn’t exhibit hyperactivity, it is apparently extremely common for adults to get diagnosed with ADHD without hyperactivity as it wasn’t recognised when they were children and adolescents. The world has truly become his oyster.

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The Anti-Grinch.

There are so many people posting that they hate Christmas, I love Christmas, the inner child in me loves the concept and I still get presents from Santa even at 22. I get to see my extended family that I only get to see once a year because I work crappy hours and they always seem genuinely happy to see me, with only the occasional comment about all the black clothing I wear. Happy holidays x

#foxysanta

Here in Australia Christmas is hot and Santa is extremely fat 😉

The Blame Game: Antidepressants Cause Bipolar Disorder?!

Previously the older anti-depressants were notorious for triggering or precipitating (hypo)manic episodes in Bipolar patients, newer antidepressants such as SSRIs, bupropion and venlafaxine, do not appear as likely to precipitate mania. Both the mood stabilisers lamotrigine (Lamictal) and Topiramate (Topamax) don’t carry a risk of inducing mania.  In the DSM-IV and DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) stipulates that diagnosing a person with Bipolar Disorder has to fit these criteria:

Criteria F: The episode is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g. a drug of abuse, a medication, other treatment).
Note: A full hypomanic episode that emerges during antidepressant treatment (e.g. medication, electroconvulsive therapy) but persists at a fully syndromal level beyond the physiological effect of that treatment is sufficient evidence of a hypomanic episode diagnosis(My note: most* antidepressants other than Prozac are out of your system in a week). However, caution is indicated so that one or two symptoms (particularly in creased irritability, edginess, or agitation following antidepressant use) are not taken as sufficient for diagnosis of a hypomanic episode, not necessarily indicative of a bipolar diathesis.

Very sneaky phrasing of words.

It has been asserted that antidepressants can act as triggers for (hypo)manic episodes in people who have a higher likelihood of Bipolar Disorder (depression, history & environmental factors etc.). It has been argued that having a (hypo)manic reaction to an antidepressant is not necessarily a symptom of Bipolar Disorder, arguing it’s a manic reaction to the antidepressant. This form of argument can only be assessed by being aware of what antidepressant you’re taking, newer antidepressants have very little chance of inducing mania (rare side effect : <0.1% chance mostly). I had initially blamed the antidepressant for causing my ‘bipolar symptoms’, this has now been changed, I was on Mirtazapine (given to me because of a family history of Bipolar I – this antidepressant had the <0.1% chance of inducing hypomania, agitation, aggression, risk taking, confidence, confusion and insomnia. All of which I experienced long after the antidepressant had left my system).

Symptoms of (hypo)mania need to persist after the life of the antidepressant: A manic reaction to antidepressants is not a symptom of bipolar, it’s a manic reaction to antidepressants. Therefore people who have a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder who have a manic reaction to anti-depressants, doesn’t consequently mean that it’s Bipolar Disorder.  Symptoms of bipolar (hypo)mania are sometimes about being more irritable, edge and agitated, but these symptoms don’t mean it’s bipolar, they are generally symptoms of the antidepressant or its withdrawal. Sometimes it’s about surviving psychiatry. A test study about the activation of (hypo)mania states that it occurred approximately 0.2% (3/1299 patients) of Remeron-treated patients in US studies. Although the incidence of mania/hypomania was very low during treatment with mirtazapine, it should be used carefully in patients with a history of mania/hypomania.

The following symptoms, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania, have been reported in people treated with (older)antidepressants for major depressive disorder. Before being prescribed antidepressants your doctor should be aware of your medical history or family history of psychiatric disorders (e.g., bipolar/manic-depressive disorder), history or family history of suicide attempts. To be diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder the new DSM-V has included the criteria that the person has to not only have the presence of elated or irritable mood but also the association of these symptoms with increased energy/activity.

Personal analysis: I’m not sure if I had suffered from hypomania before, every summer I would work out excessively and sleep little, this was only for the past 2years, but after Remeron (Mirtazapine) everything changed. My research was carried out on the premise of proving my psychiatrist wrong in my diagnosis. I had slowly put together my argument until I had looked up my antidepressant and the time it takes to leave my body. I now have to acknowledge that I no longer have an argument; my hypomania lasted well after the antidepressant had left my system and later returned when my mood stabiliser dose was reduced so that I could change medications. If anyone else has doubts about their diagnosis it is well worth the research into the causation of your (hypo)manic episode, if it was from an antidepressant find out how long your episode lasted and the time is takes for the antidepressant to leave your body.

Blame_by_umbra_rockchick

To make up for this realization is the knowledge that I had an awesome day in Luna Park at Sydney, here is some snaps 🙂

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Two Introverts Sitting In A Tree.

Don’t underestimate the ineloquent man. He had been quiet all night; slowly his bottles of beer started to empty, he turns to me, knowing full well that we are very much the same. The alcohol making his shyness dissipate. He opens his mouth, brash yet philosophical words spill out, the words making perfect sense. Our repartee goes on; the party doesn’t notice our quiet isolation within the circle, keeping to ourselves. We don’t feel recharged by participating in the social gathering, preferring the company of one person like ourselves or on our own. The silence is nearly always welcomed. Everyone else is exchanging the niceties and frivolous conversations about the drama that seems to rule their lives, sometimes it’s nice to just forget about the drama. Our conversation is on the analysis of why society is slowly trying to force people to become extroverts in order to succeed in life.

Introvert_by_MeSHa3eLThe discussion becomes more heated, no one notices, everyone keeps downing their drinks, mine remains untouched as I sit on the edge of my chair exchanging worldviews with the most unassuming and unobtrusive yet knowledgeable person I’ve met in a long while, the surprise is most welcome. At the end of the night before the party proceeds to head to the clubs I ask him why he chose me to talk to. He responded by saying that he had watched me, noticing how I waited in the group watching and hearing everyone, yet contributing nothing, knowing full well that their conversations and accepted social niceties held absolutely no appeal to me and himself, our shared mutual interests made us feel sociable that night, yet we hadn’t been.

For all the noise that the other people were making, we had become unaware; we had mutually forsaken everyone’s company for our own. Our facade of participating in the group conversations lasted the night, our pretence of caring about the conversations of the group came to an end. My night was exactly what I needed. I was pleasantly surprised that I had underestimated the seemingly unremarkable man that I hadn’t given a second glance. He had used words with great meaning, yet I had originally rejected this potential as a conversationalist due to his inarticulate speech, I’m happy to say I was very wrong and won’t be making the same mistake in the future.

introvert_by_evanira-d42fhak