Who the Frag Am I?

February 18, 2010

On Writer’s Block (this is a lie)

Filed under: Bipolar Disorder — wtfmi @ 6:13 pm

I do not have writer’s block.

What I am having right now is a mixed episode of bipolar disorder. (Doesn’t that make it sound like a tasty side dish in a restaurant?)

According to Wikipedia, font of all knowledge, this may also be known as ‘agitated depression’ — which is an excellent description of what I am feeling. Wikipedia goes on to say that this:

[…] is a condition during which symptoms of mania and depression occur simultaneously (e.g., agitation, anxiety, fatigue, guilt, impulsiveness, irritability, morbid or suicidal ideation, panic, paranoia, pressured speech and rage). Typical examples include tearfulness during a manic episode or racing thoughts during a depressive episode.

Racing thoughts during a depressive episode … that’s me. In particular, I am simultaneously so angry I could spit, and too depressed to get out of bed on my own.

Every night I lay in bed thinking about things I want to post. I write entire posts in my head — deeply personal, very analytical, full of rich language and profound insight. Then I fall asleep. I write them in the shower, also, and in the car, or any other time I’m bored. (I’m doing it right now, for a different post than this one!)

I go over the language again and again, make mental notes for post after post. And because thought connects to thought, because all the concepts interlock, because patterns are so important to me … the damned things never end. And so the act of sitting down to type is beyond me.

No, that’s not true … the act of deciding what to type is beyond me. It’s all crap anyway.

And yet here I am, typing. I have a brief window of not-as-badness in the morning. And I feel a responsibility to my imaginary readers to post, even if it is crap.

I haven’t said much about my bipolar disorder yet. For one thing, I do not have an official diagnosis of bipolar disorder. (Mind you, that doesn’t stop me with regards to autism. But in this case I don’t always agree with the unofficial diagnosis anyway. Depends on my mood.)

I started seeing a psychiatrist when my family doctor suggested that my chronic depression was something more, was bipolar. I freaked out about that: seems like everyone I know deals with depression and even anxiety, but bipolar disorder sounds so much more serious. You know, like a real mental disorder. My therapist also doubted the idea since I never seemed particularly manic to her. She suggested that a psychiatrist, someone with experience with mood disorders, could shed some more light on the matter.

The psychiatrist talked to me for almost two hours. Then he said that I seem to have sub-clinical bipolar disorder, with manic and mixed states that have been intensified by my antidepressants — which is apparently not uncommon. Nothing to get upset about. He would probably diagnose it as bipolar disorder not otherwise specified (BD-NOS) or even a mood disorder NOS.

I noticed, though, that my chart continues to bear the codes for depression and anxiety, and nothing else. I wonder if this is to spare my feelings — although I have ceased to be freaked out by a diagnosis of bipolar disorder — or for some other reason. Perhaps to avoid future stigma should someone be looking at my history? I suppose I could ask.

He’s also been slowly reducing my antidepressant — Effexor — and put me on a mood leveler — Lamictal. And it’s been helping. The duration and severity of my fluctuations have been waning.

But they aren’t gone.

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