The ‘Poster Patient’ of Bipolar Disorder.

When you’re considered the ‘poster patient’ of Bipolar disorder…

I see all my doctors at regular intervals and I take medication daily. That’s the simple side of things, the easy routine and foundations that you are required to build. Depression and hypomania have accompanied me at different interludes, always waiting backstage for the next show to begin. I see myself as so dysfunctional. So haphazard and incapable of maintaining all the demons in check. I’m writing this post because I see myself as all those things, maintaining complete control of my emotions and rhythm is beyond my control, yet my psychologist insists that I’m a ‘poster patient’ for Bipolar Disorder, my ability to be functional when everything has turned on its head. I was so confused when she originally said this. I know my dysfunction, mismanagement and self-sabotage run deep, hence my confusion to the compliment. She referred to how she used me as an example to other patients about what can be achieved. The facts that she presented were right: I have completed a university degree and I am half way through another, I do have a full time job (I work full time as a secondary teacher), exercise, eat regularly and maintain some semblance of social interactions with friends. It hadn’t hit me that this is what is considered to make me less dysfunctional. My moods don’t generally have repercussions on my life, they are damn high mountains to climb over in order to find solace again, but the hike and lightheadedness of the ‘mood mountain’ doesn’t necessarily interfere with my outer world.

I don’t see these facts as things which make me more managed. I am dysfunctional. My ability to manage my life doesn’t make me any less so. As my depression deepened a few weeks ago, I started to have regular suicidal ideations again. Obviously the recognition that the severity of my depression was getting worse, I acted. I wanted to flip the switch. Anything had to be better than those tendencies, those ideations. I have done a lot of research into the vitamin 5-HTP, simply put it can potentially alter the levels of serotonin in your brain which can result in a hypomanic episode. High is much better than being low. Until you’re high….

Then it’s hell, again.

Without going into specific details of my episode, 5-HTP worked by flipping the switch. The worst part about flipping the switch is when you remember how horrible it is to actually be hypomanic at times. My memory had conveniently let myself forget. My mind has the useful ability to allow me to forget how bad things have been at both ends of my imaginary scale, the thermostat of my mind. It’s a protection mechanism, allowing me to move on and forget the consequences of all my subsequent moods. I took 5-HTP for three days before stopping when my head started to *whoosh*. I find everyone’s interpretation of ‘racing thoughts’ to be different, but then again, each episode I have had resulted in ‘racing thoughts’ which were different from previous occurrences. I see these in the following categories: Actual racing thoughts, when you have too many ideas at once – excitement usually accompanies this variation. Then there is the static or *white noise* head background pressure ‘racing thoughts’ which is usually accompanied by irritation and finally there is *whooshing*, when there isn’t an exact thought but your mind is just doing the simple cycle of the washing machine with your ears blocked, accompanied by a bit of depersonalization. It sounds absolutely nuts. Which it is.

I was never meant to be this broken, popping pills, waiting for the next mountain to climb.

At least I know that I can climb and conquer.

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6 thoughts on “The ‘Poster Patient’ of Bipolar Disorder.”

  1. My depressed mind is forever telling me hypomania and mania were nice but then I get there and rediscover the truth that it’s not. The very early stages may be but the rest isn’t. I need to find a way to remind myself of this. Thank you for your posts and honestly. I’m hopefully returning to uni next year and wondered do you have any advice?

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    1. It’s convenient how our mind allows us to forget. I found that university was the worst thing for my mental health, I was always much more functional with full time work. I would always try and get my meds on track before going back each semester and don’t be afraid of applying for disability provisions to make it easier to get extensions, because at the end of the day we don’t cope with stress like other students. Good luck with uni next year, hope it all goes well 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Totally relate to the “white noise” I tend to live there, I think of it being in a trench. U don’t want to pop your head up but you have to move some time. Then you get carried away either up or down. Normally a short up and a large down. Another great post by the way x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey azz1275 🙂
      Its always so hard to describe the personal interpretation of racing thoughts and then what’s classified as them. I really don’t like the white noise one, it reminds me of fog and being stuck in the static you see on tv, the trench is an interesting way to see it – the constant bombardment of noise or the eerie muteness that comes with being underground. Being bipolar is like going up a short ( or in some cases high) hike and then jumping off the cliff into the ocean at the end, the depth of the ocean taking you further down. 😦

      Like

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