Yesterday I wrote this response to Tempest Rose’s post It’s Okay for Me to Not be Okay on STIGMAMA.COM:
I, too, am not okay, and I’m okay with it. Often other people do not understand what they cannot see. For many years I wondered, do other people think like this? Do other people have to tell themselves not to drive off that cliff, not to push that stranger in front of the BART train, not to hang up the telephone in mid-conversation – for no reason whatsoever? I used to think, if so, then why aren’t more people driving off cliffs, pushing people in front of subway trains, and rudely hanging up the phone mid-sentence. They are not doing these things, yet I have to tell myself over and over not to do it. For years I struggled with manic symptoms, intrusive thoughts and disturbing impulses, without knowing what they were. Without realizing that I had a treatable mental illness. I knew I was depressed. I mean wanting to kill yourself was clearly a symptom of depression. That I got. The other stuff, not so much.
[…] hit my son, I’ve flipped the kitchen table and slammed doors, I’ve been psychotic and struggled with intrusive thoughts and impulses. BUT – and this is a huge BUT – I know that bipolar disorder is a spectrum disorder and […]
I did a tour on Zyprexa. Over the years I’ve been on various drug cocktails. My current one is my maintenance cocktail.
Oh, you are on a mood stabilizer– that is what allows you to be on an antidepressant. I can’t take mood stabilizers. Have been on Zyprexa for some mood stabilization effect but not enough and LOTS of problems with that drug.
I am on 5 mg escitalopram (Lexapro), so yes I am on an SSRI but at a very low dose. For mood stabilization, 1000 mg divalproex. That I cannot go without.
The wonders of modern psychiatry, right?? I guess they were doing the best they could but really. You’re lucky you were only on antipsychotics for three days. I went on and never got off. But I am type I. I am surprised though, that they give you any antidepressants. That could be feeding your hypomania. Are you still on them? Alls I can tolerate is a research grade St. Johns wort and even with just that sometimes I still get manic though I think just hypomanic. I can give you info if you are interested. I also am just now trying a homeopathic Lithium Orotate from the same company. Can’t tolerate Lithium Carbonate.
Yes, I first sought treatment at 18, but I wasn’t diagnosed bipolar type II until I was 39. That’s over 20 years! Yikes. I had even had a manic psychotic break at 30, but it was a reaction to the tricyclic Norpramine. I wasn’t hospitalized, just medicated with antipsychotics for three days to stop the rush of thoughts and allow sleep. Then, back to a low dose of antidepressants.
That is amazing! You got help early. My diagnosis took forever and though I had sought help earlier I didn’t think I really needed it until I was desperate after my breakdown.
What amazes me is that I first sought treatment at 18, when I saw a psychologist at UCLA for cognitive therapy to address my suicidality (ideation for the most part, but at one point I did have a plan, means, and exact time I intended to do it). My hypomania was not properly diagnosed. Of course, back in the 80s, bipolar type II was not in the DSM.
It is hard to know oneself. I think being Bipolar makes one particularly susceptible to denial since sometimes we are high and tend to think nothing is wrong.
Amazing, isn’t it? and both of us had advanced training in the field, too.
I, too, was in the dark about symptoms. Even with having suicidal thoughts, I was surprised when someone told me I was depressed. Duh…
All? No, I do not think so. But, I wondered back in the day. I think that most people do not think these things or struggle with these impulses. Some of us do.
Do you think we all have it in us? After all I believe that all of us have moments like this. But then we don’t do it and then maybe they are not as frequent.
Thank you for such a thoughtful and thought-provoking and political response. The pursuit of happiness seems illusory to me (and vapid, actually).
Reblogged this on Art by Rob Goldstein.
For the longest time I had to resist the urge to throw myself onto the tracks when I used BART.
I’ve learned that with a mental illness I have to parse the way I understand my emotional life and use language very precisely. For instance, I said to my psychiatrist yesterday that I am depressed but not unhappy. People in a profession that stigmatizes people with mental illness as
“stupid” finds that kind of insight extraordinary. That is what he said. It is an extraordinary insight. I replied: If you guys actually fought for us instead covering your asses and colluding with making people homeless you’d find all kinds of intelligent life among your patients…” Then I smiled and said: “I’m not so sure about the consumers.”
There is an intense pressure in the current degraded incarnation of American culture that
absolutely insists that we can be happy by thinking happy thoughts and ignoring the tread
marks we leave on the backs of anyone who dares to get in the way of making money and living as if there are no other people except for the ones we treat as objects.
Resisting the weird solipsism and the empty CBT based platitudes that would supplant true wisdom it is part of resisting the stigma.
One can be happy and depressed, one can be sane and completely crazy, what one cannot be
is an economic opportunist with virtue.
Thank you for an excellent post.