Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'm still me

I'm still me.

I may be having an episode of depression (or mania, or even a mixed state episode) right now, but I am still the same person you know. Sure, I may be feeling a little out of sorts, but I'm still the same quirky, cynical yet caring guy I've always been. I still like and dislike the same things. I still laugh at the same things, and I still cry at the same things too.

I am still the guy who would never, EVER hurt you. I am not a violent person. I've never been in a fight in my life, and I'm not going to start now. I would just as soon hurt myself as I would hurt you, or your friends, or your family.

I know I've been a bit paranoid and/or obsessive in the past few weeks. I know I've caused you some pain because of that. I am sorry. I don't mean to behave that way. It is a byproduct of the depression-- one I am working hard at controlling, and one that is getting better day by day.

You don't have to be afraid of me. I am not going to come after you. Nor should you be afraid for me, either. I have an excellent support system in place to deal with this kind of thing. Unfortunately, it's all part of the disease-- it's still possible to have the occasional episode even if I'm taking my medications. I've been through them many times before, and I've survived. I will survive this one, too-- I promise.

I know that I'm going to be back to normal soon. Every day is better than the last. My sleep patterns are back to normal. I'm asleep by 11, and awake by 6. My appetite is improving, and I'm eating a healthier diet (I've lost 20+ lbs so far). The brain fog is lifting, and my concentration is improving. I am working more hours every day, and I even finished writing a new song-- the first one I've completed in ten years.

I am starting to feel like the same person I was back in the spring, only better. I realize now that I was sliding into depression back then because of some med changes my doctor and I had made. Those changes were a mistake, but unfortunately psychiatry is not an exact science, and no medication combination works the same on every person. If I could undo that med change, I would, in a heartbeat, because I don't like going through this-- nor do I like putting you through this, either.

I know you were worried that, because of this episode, I am the same person you knew before. I wanted to tell you that I'm still me. I'm still the same person I was. Even when I'm having an episode, I'm still the same person on the inside.

This disease is a part of me, but it is not me.


NeoLotus said...

While I don't doubt there are some true mood-related brain disorders, I wonder about the "clinical" nature of these disorders as opposed to the social/cultural/situational factors that can cause them.

Paul Goodman had a fair amount to say about this issue--he is the father of gestalt therapy.

The Bipolar Drunk said...

If that were true, then it would follow that I would do best when I see a therapist and skip the drugs. However, I've had the most stability when I've been taking medications and only seeing a therapist every few months to check in.

There is a situational factor, but it usually acts as a trigger-- it is not the sole factor. The medical community overwhelmingly agrees that there is a bio-chemical imbalance at work, which explains why lithium (a naturally occurring salt) is still the gold standard for the treatment of bipolar disorder.

NeoLotus said...

Of course there are people with real chemical imbalances or bad wiring in their brains. I didn't say they don't exist.

My point is that when life and all its interrelations are lived in a way that is out of balance it becomes more difficult to identify the real cause of the imbalance in the brain.

For example, stress hormones cause physical symptoms and drugs can be used to deal with it, but the real cause does not originate in the body but in the external factors that cause the stress.

I'm not implying that this is the case with you. I'm just saying that there are other ways of living than the abusive dog-eat-dog way we live in America and if you were living in a different time or place that was more humane and reasonable about the way it treats its people, I'm not so sure we would be seeing so much pathology in our society.

I'm a philosopher so I tend to look at things from a very large perspective.

NerdOneirik said...

Mister BD!
First off, Hello! Sorry I've been absent. Secondly *hug* for being determined to stay in the mindframe that you are not your disease. Cause you're not. Like having the common cold virus it will flare up from time to time. Lame, yes. But every time we wipe our noses and move on we become stronger. And coming from someone who gets how hard it is to be "normal" I think you are incredibly strong and only getting better Don't let the blue thoughts wrap around you and drag you down. Keep writing, keep playing.

NeoLotus... bah, I've tried to formulate a proper response but too much emotion enters my reply. So I will try and keep it simple. Even if you weren't implying that it was only outside factors that were propelling mister BD's mood, understand that those words are the most damaging to someone who is trying to come to grips with the fact that they DO have bad wiring in their brain. Accepting that I am Bipolar is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do and I can confidently say that I've done some REALLY hard things in my life. Nobody wants to believe that they can't control their own brain or that it's "unbalanced" and that you need to take a pill to be "normal". People that don't have to will never understand how hard it is to just BE when you are bipolar. We are creatures of impulse and those impulses are usually incredibly self destructive.

Ok, so that wasn't that short or simple but whatever. lol

Again, *hug* Mister BD.

The Bipolar Drunk said...

NerdOneirik, great to hear from you! I apologize for not updating this thing in so long-- it seems life has gotten in the way again.

Unfortunately, I had a bit of a crash a month or so ago, probably brought on by changing up on of the SSRIs I was trying to go off, and I'm running the risk of rapid cycling. However, things seem to be mostly stable, even though I miss the bit of hypomania I had a month ago.

I hope you are well and are healthy and taking care of yourself. This insidious condition we are blessed/cursed with can be a lot of work to manage but we have to do what we can to stay well. :)

Take care and talk to you soon!

#nanarrr-ox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
#nanarrr-ox said...

Hello :)

I was just doing so research on the interweb for some infomation on people with bipolar. My research started when i thought i may have bipolar and then continued as i strated to write a story on a teenage girl coming to terms with the fact she had bipolar and how her day to day life has changed since being diagnosed with it. I have come to a point in my story where bone hard medical fact just isn't enough for this particualr part. Bacially what happens is she gets drunk in house full of her friends, propper friends not just her class mates i mean. I thought maybe you could help me,I need to know what happens when people with bipolar get drunk, i have a sneeky supistion that they dont just stumble around and do thiings they want to but wouldn't have done if they were sober. I'm really hoping you could shed some light on this, i would really appreciatite it.

I really love reading your blog aswell. Im glad i cam acrross it in my indeaver for useful information :) xx

The Bipolar Drunk said...

Hi #nanarrr-ox, thanks for your comment. Alcohol has much the same effect on bipolars as it does on non-bipolars-- however, that's not the whole story. A large number of bipolars self-medicate with alcohol, especially when they are manic, as it takes the "edge" off a manic episode. In fact, the co-morbidity of alcoholism and bipolar disorder is somewhere around 60-80%, depending on who you talk to.

I myself drank for several reasons, one of which was that it calmed me down and helped me fall asleep when I was manic (that's "helped me fall asleep", as alcohol-induced sleep is not as restful as regular sleep). I was also married to an active alcoholic, which made it easy for me to be drunk much of the time.

I've also read that in some bipolars alcohol can act as a stimulant. Unfortunately I can't remember where I read that, but a search of Teh Googles would probable give you some good results.

Good luck with your research and writing, and if you're comfortable feel free to share it with me. :)

Anonymous said...

I was once on lithium, preoperative speaking to a gastric bypass, but now I'm on nothing and suffering terribly. I just got a new doctor to treat my BPD however they won't medicate me until they completely understand my entire psychctherapy history for which and as of today, I refuse to release any futher records until I am placed on a med...thoughts of suicide are ever present and I'm afraid of my actions especially after almost overdosing last week on pain meds. I called 911 in my last breathe and was rescued. As we all know our minds think one thing but we don't always agree, its like playing tug of war with my brain. I want meds but I can't get them....I want to scream. Depakote sprinkles were suggested as a safe med but no script has been written yet but this is fucking torturous!