Tag Archives: happiness

Three Months of Freedom. I’m Back.

It’s been three months without thinking about Bipolar Disorder. Three months ago my psychiatrist started to think that I could potentially be Borderline Personality Disorder comorbid with Bipolar Disorder, it’s taken me two months to even acknowledge this. Borderline Personality Disorder can often co-occur with Bipolar disorder, having numerous overlapping symptoms. My psychiatrist sees the disorders linked in some people, existing on a mood spectrum where they interconnect. I’m against this analysis, I was mad, I’m still a bit mad. I slowly began to take myself off my medication. I cancelled all my other upcoming appointments, in my mind it was a big f*** off to mental health. I was good, I was on university holidays, no stress, nothing to trigger mood instabilities, and it was nice. University went back 4weeks ago, so I took myself back to the doctors, my psychologist, in contrast to my psychiatrist she doesn’t believe I’m BPD, but reaffirmed her belief that I need to monitor my moods and stay on top of my emotions. My psychologist forced the importance of Bipolar Disorder awareness back into the forefront of my mind. I’m still medication free, but the reality of mental illness is scary.

For anyone else who is or potentially has both Bipolar Disorder & Borderline Personality Disorder.

Development/Nature of the Illness:

Borderline personality disorder is a type of “personality disorder” which essentially means that it is a developmental condition – something that has evolved through the entire development of a person’s emotional/behavioural infrastructure.

Bipolar disorder is an illness that presents acutely or sub acutely (less than acute) sometime in a person’s life and is not, at least as we define it now, a condition that is part of a person’s core personality structure.

Course/Presentation of Symptoms:

Borderline symptoms are present as a person’s baseline– their difficulties with mood regulation and impulsivity, their ups and downs, are part of their life all the time. They are always up and down.

Bipolar symptoms present in episodes that must be a change from the person’s baseline – that is part of the diagnostic definition. Their episodes of depression or mania are a change from who they are when they are feeling well.

So the most annoying part of all of this: HOW CAN I BE BOTH! Uh… Having to exist on a spectrum with both, I don’t exhibit all symptoms of either.

Would love to hear from other people’s experiences.

Hope everyone has been well and happy. Love Alice.

*image by ahermin

Dear Sleep: You Suck. Love Alice. (Happiness And Other Stuff, You’re Still Cool)

Are you coffee or vodka? Maybe you’re both. Happiness, hormones and sleep. 

Swallowing my sleep chemical cocktail, wishing it was wine. The booze was better than this tablet induced hangover. My elusive sleep plagued by parasomnia.

1 tablet
Nothing.

2 tablets
Nothing.

3 tablets
Nothing.

4 tablets
Sleep.

On the bright-side I’ve taken a proactive approach towards a healthier lifestyle…minus the drugs, but other than that I’ve been exercising and eating right. Fighting the bulge of medication, 1kg at a time. Life is better, the positives out weighing any negatives. I know I complain a lot about medication, but truth be told I’m too scared to go off them, afraid that it might ruin my nice new balance I have going. I’m vain enough that I care about my weight, my BMI normal, but that is never enough, I’m a perfectionist, I want my mind and body to reflect my current happiness. Sometimes it’s a hopeless intangible pursuit, other times anything can be possible. I’m writing less, no longer driven by the need to put my emotional turmoil of feelings into words, no longer motivated by depression. Depression makes good writing. Whinging is unbecoming, but it is also the recognition of dissatisfaction. Maybe I am just on the upwards spin of the bipolar spectrum, but all the same: I just don’t care; life can be good without it having to be on any emotional spectrum.

In the context of Bipolar Disorder there are high comorbidities associated between perfectionism/ anxiety and their relationship with bipolarity. Bipolar Disorder has a high co-occurrence with eating disorders, eating disorders often linked with a need for perfection. I’m not sure if people diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder have a higher likelihood of being perfectionists (would love to hear people’s personal experiences), the perfectionism of Bipolar Disorder is often motivated through anxiety, anxiety causing the person to see the inadequacies of their life. More often than not, binge eating is common among people with Bipolar Disorder, I will admit I have binge eaten, often in the search for a quick endorphin fix which will starve off negative emotions for a short time. The quick “fix” of endorphins can be seen through, sex, drugs and over eating/exercising, becoming a quest for endorphins. We try to manufacture our own happiness, these addictions often a response to depressive emotions. Through endorphins we experience contentment and euphoria. Realising that you can’t be a seeker for the bigger endorphin rushes, endorphins should become a more natural balance to encourage long term contentment.

endorphin_by_lepusplus-d80chg6Apparently people who are deficient in endorphins should eat protein with each meal, but I’m not sure how scientific that belief is. However, dopamine is released by foods with high protein, dopamine being a positive mood enhancing hormone. Looking at the more natural ways to deal with anxiety/depression – sunlight (serotonin),  exercise (endorphins), protein (dopamine), Phenylethamine (chocolate) and Ghrelin (for relief of stress – released when we are hungry, although this needs to be balanced by normal food intake, over-eating doesn’t maintain good levels). All these hormones can only be long term effective if you fix the root cause of your unhappiness, over doing it with any one hormone will not be beneficial in the long run. Moderating and persistence is key.

This was meant to be a post that focused more on sleep, as usual I get side tracked, and I also intended the post to be short…whoops.

Image by ElusiveDreams07 titled ‘Sleep Paralysis’

Image by Lepusplus titled ‘Endorpin’

Lemonade Is Hard.

When life gives too many lemons, say “fuck off lemons, I ordered pie.”

It’s becoming way too hard to make lemonade. Life keeps throwing lemons your way but you can’t be bothered to make stupid lemonade. When you simply lack the strength and motivation to go through the motions.

When lemonade is simply too hard to make, you know that depression has definitely set in. It usually means you aren’t leaving bed or even buying groceries.

STAY POSITIVE 🙂 buy a juicer.

 

Nobody Likes You When You’re 23.

It’s looming, coming closer, I can feel the air becoming stagnant and distasteful. I have an overwhelming feeling of unbalance filling my mind, every year it’s the same, on Thursday I will be ‘celebrating’ my birthday…*cue horror screams* Lately I haven’t felt like writing, or doing anything for that matter. Each year it feels like my life has been put up on the high stakes table where it is scrutinised under industrial lights, the winner of the game will take all. Every year I try and fill the day with activities that will divert the always impending dread. The build up to the day acts as a depressive trigger, filling my thoughts with distorted discontentment. The morning after my birthday it’s as if none of it mattered, my emotions are still a little bit dulled and muted, but I would’ve weathered the emotional storm. With each birthday people have to confront the fact that they may not have achieved all they had hoped they would in that year.

That they may not be where they would be like to, the discontentment running deep. I guess at a younger age I always had a vision of where I would be now; birthdays are always filled with both crashing disappointment and anticipatory spikes of happiness. I’m trying to make myself stop and regain sight of things, appreciating the people and things around me instead of the things that are nowhere to be seen. It’s as if a birthday malaise exists, perpetually creeping in each year, slowly whispering in your ear as the day draws nearer and the time to complete your expectations is drawing to a close. I’m not one to let my birthday pass by unnoticed, but I’m highly susceptible to disappointment.

I’ve planned small things this year, not wanting to be uncomfortable in group settings, finding comfort in close friends and family. It’s so hard to let go of being depressed about my birthday so that I can actually enjoy it, trying to release the past disappointment to embrace the present, focusing on progress and not the perfections of one’s life. I need to fix my current mental happiness block that I’ve hit head-on. My happiness has become a single defensive tower that is being attacked repetitively by soldier triggers. I’m starving off depression, the stalemate not helping either side gain the higher ground. The overshadowing queen of darkness keeps on approaching, her army gaining size whilst offering the comforting pit of morbidity as parlay.  She plays her game well. Writing this makes me realize how silly and trivial it is to monopolize a day to such great lengths that you allow it to be a tyrant to your emotions.

On Thursday I will be 23, I will try and not let depression encroach, I will try and remember all the wonderful things I have in my life and not the things I don’t, I will try and not let it dominate who I am. After all it is only a day. Thank you Blink182 lyrics: “Nobody likes you when you’re 23

Dr. Maas acknowledges the “chicken-egg” problem inherent in bipolar and other mood disorders: “Depression can cause extensive insomnia, and insomnia can cause depression—which comes first depends on the individual and the circumstance”. birthday_cat_sad

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.

the_world_is_your_oyster_by_ghost_hunter666-d4nk1pm

Analysis Of Happiness & Mania. Part I

Analysis of Happiness & Mania

Defined:

To first understand happiness it needs to be defined. Happiness is seen as a complete, lasting and justified satisfaction with one’s life. Although if one has to justify their happiness it is no longer experienced subjectively, becoming objectively grounded. It has to be understood that there is no standardised rules to measure a person’s happiness as they are dependent on a person’s pre-dispositions.

Background:

Two philosophical schools who look at the concept of happiness, the ancient, which arose in Greece and survived until the 18th century, and the modern, which was created in the 19th century in Europe. Happiness was originally perceived as the possession of the highest goods, whether of a material or spiritual kind. Happiness later became subjectivized and relativized, based on a person’s overall satisfaction with life.

Happiness & Mental Health: The Darker Side of Happiness.

Happiness is usually conveyed as a source of good outcomes, highlighting the pursuit of important goals, social bonds, well-being and psychological health. In some instances the pursuit and experience of happiness can create negative outcomes. Happiness is generally highly beneficial but this is completely reliant on the context it is experienced in and the level of happiness.

“Getting angry . . . is easy and everyone can do it; but doing it . . . in the right amount, at the right time, and for the right end, and in the right way is no longer easy, nor can everyone do it.” —Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (II.9, 1109a27)

Potentially high levels of happiness can become a source of dysfunction, research often highlights that happiness is beneficial, yet psychologically it can become maladaptive. The maladaptive nature of happiness suggests that it has a possible ‘dark side’. People have argued that excessive levels of any mental state or experience—including happiness—can be undesirable and unhealthy. In relation to mania and the euphoric or heightened level of happiness (which is also experienced in hypomania) individuals are more inclined to engage in riskier behaviours, such as alcohol consumption, binge eating, and drug use. Extreme levels of happiness become a marker for emotional dysfunction.

The extremely positive emotion that is associated with mania undermines the person’s ability to experience negative emotions, trapped in a form of happiness overdrive and incapable of downshifting happiness. Excessive happiness leads to risky behaviour and neglect of threats and consequences. Extreme happiness seen through the lens of mania suggests that the emotion creates dysfunctional behaviours which result in poorer clinical functioning. The pursuit and achievement of happiness can no longer be seen as a hallmark for psychological health.

Subjective Bipolar Perception:

I had always imagined that happiness was a sign that I was getting better. After recently getting better from the pit that is depression, I keep wondering if this new happiness is real, or a daydream or merely a new page to living with bipolar. I have to remember that bipolar is part of who I am and why I feel things, but it never stops me from questioning the reasons for my emotional experiences and whether the emotions are manifestations of my illness or the signs of getting better. How can anyone fully differentiate between the two? It’s frustrating to say the least. To me there is great value in experiencing depression, without experiencing the worst aspects of your life you will never be able to completely appreciate the positive times. I can understand and relate to the all-consuming mania or hypomanic emotional overdrive, my personal experiences with hypomania made me incapable of understanding the consequences or perceive the drastic contrasts between my current state and depression, there was no room to understand other emotions.

This is truly my wonderland, a handful of pills keeping the bipolar at bay. The pills mediating a mid-line of emotions that are both boring and uninteresting. Unlike the majority of the population, people with Bipolar Disorder can actually reach the usually unobtainable level of happiness that society seems to always be aiming for, our level of happiness only becoming wrong when it makes us dysfunctional.

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A Dark Side of Happiness? How, When, and Why Happiness Is Not Always Good. June Gruber, Iris B. Mauss and Maya Tamir. Perspectives on Psychological Science, Vol. 6, No. 3 (MAY 2011), pp. 222-233

Analysis of Happiness by W. Tatarkiewicz. Review by: E. R. The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 32, No. 3 (Mar., 1979), pp. 569-570

Analysis of Happiness by Wladyslaw Tatarkiewicz. Review by: Max Rieser. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 38, No. 1 (Sep., 1977), pp. 139-140

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