Tag Archives: mental health

Who do you think you are?

I think too much. It’s a well known fact. Well lately I’ve been thinking about something, and it’s a rather strange thing to think about.

If I asked you to describe your personality in 3 words, what would you say?

I would say loving, calm and intellectual.

Now here is my thought…

I have bipolar disorder, rapid cycling to be exact, I have for many years. I remember realizing I was having symptoms around 12 years ago, I was diagnosed 8 years ago and have been very well stabilized on medication for the last 6 years. The medication I take is great, I don’t really have any side effects and it works very well. I’m not like the bipolar people you see on tv and in movies who are constantly going off of their medication because they don’t like it and complain that it makes them “slow” or “dull”. I like my medication, and even more so I don’t like being bipolar, so I think I’ll keep taking it…thank you.

But I have been thinking lately about personality and what makes our personalities what they are. From what I’ve learned in school personalities are made up of genetics, and childhood situations. They occur in our brains as neurotransmitters that dictate feelings such as happiness. I realized recently that I have no idea what my personality is. For as long as I can remember I have been bipolar; before I was on medication I was going from manic to depressive and back again every few minutes or hours, without any real breaks in between, meaning that my neurotransmitters were completely out of whack! Since I’ve been on medication I am very stable, I don’t get manic, and very rarely get depressed…but I have realized that I don’t very often have “normal” emotions either. My friend described me as “very even keel”. The medication is designed to calm the neurons in my brain so that they do not release as much of their neurotransmitter, this leads to less neurotransmitter floating around in my brain, and fewer moods. So it’s not a stretch to think that this would lead to fewer moods in general, not just fewer bipolar moods…this is a pretty normal effect of bipolar medication, it’s referred to as a “flat affect”.

I’ve never thought that I had that problem, and I really don’t. People with true flat affects never smile, or frown, or cry, or have any sort of emotion. I do, it just doesn’t usually show…if that makes sense. I feel things, although sometimes I do have to remind myself of what I should be feeling in a certain situation; and when I do feel things, I don’t cry, if I smile a lot of the time it is a halfhearted one. I’m just, calm. 

Don’t get me wrong, I like being this way. Knowing what it feels like to be on the emotions roller coaster that is bipolar disorder I have no complaints about being this calm, it’s a relief actually. It’s just strange to think that if our personalities are made up of neurotransmitters and the emotions they produce, and my neurotransmitters have been manipulated by a disorder and then a drug for so many years, what is my real personality?

Is this me? Or is this the me that the drug makes me?

** DO NOT by any means freak out over this post. I have NO intentions of going off of my meds or doing anything crazy like that, I am simply pondering…I do a lot of that, it’s ok.

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Yep, definitely crazy

So you know a while ago when I said here that I was feeling down and melancholy, but that it wasn’t exactly like a bipolar mood swing? I take it back. It’s exactly like a bipolar mood swing. I’m sure now because now I’m having manic episodes.  

Perfect. Just what I needed.

Before starting treatment for lyme I was 99% perfectly managed on my mood stabilizers. I had only one or two, very mild, mood swings every few months. Now? Every day is a different mood, some days more than one. 

Friday afternoon I was happy…unfortunately. That’s one of the worst things about being bipolar, I can never just be happy…I’m always afraid it’s the beginning of a manic episode. Friday, it was. I got happier, and happier, until I was shaking with energy and bouncing off the walls (almost literally). Driving too fast, screaming at the top of my lungs, ready to go run an iron man marathon even though less than an hour before I was exhausted and in a ton of pain. I couldn’t think, didn’t want to think, my mind was going a hundred miles an hour. I needed to DO something, scream, run, jump off a bridge…anything to make it stop. 

It was the worst manic episode I have had in 5 years, since I started taking the mood stabilizer I’m on now (probably longer than that!). Luckily a phone call to my mom helped me ride it out until it passed, or I probably would have ended up in the hospital. 

*Note: I have the best mom ever. She gets random phone calls from me every other day or so now, because I’m in some weird mood, and she just talks it out with me until it’s over. She keeps me sane. 

I hate this. I hate this. I hate this.

There is a reason I may be the most med compliant bipolar patient you will ever meet, it’s because I hate feeling this way. I hate how when I am symptomatic, everything that is good about who I am is gone. 

I have never encountered a physical symptom, pain level, or issue that I couldn’t cope with…but I cannot, will not, put up with feeling like this. 

Now, what to do about it? Ugh. 

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The curse of the psychologist’s brain

I have a degree in psychology. I have no idea what the hell I am going to do with it, but I have it; and I got it because I really enjoy psychology. My brain just naturally thinks in those terms (aka, I naturally “shrink” people, it’s just what I do). Which is all well and good, until it causes problems. Namely, I also naturally shrink myself. 

This means that I second guess every thought, every action, every decision…and then triple, quadruple, and whatever the hell comes next, guess it. 

See the problem now? 

I am so tired of never really knowing if I feel or think what I do because that’s genuinely how I think/feel, or because of some insane psychological “cause” my brain has created. 

Do I like a certain band because my parents dislike it? Because my friends like it? Or do I like it because like it? Am I attracted to someone because they remind me of someone else? Or am I just attracted? Am I afraid of water because something happened to me, that I have repressed memories of, to cause that? Or does it just freak me out? Do I feel a certain way because it’s how I feel? Or because I am running away from an unhappy marriage? Am I inventing feelings in my head because of some Freudian issue deep down? Or is that actually how I feel? 

It’s a curse, I tell you. 

I just want to feel something, and for once not question it. Not try to come up with some issue straight out of a Psychology 101 textbook that explains exactly why I am experiencing said feeling. Not subconsciously try to explain it away or rationalize it. 

I just want Freud, Maslow, Jung, Erikson, and all their friends, out of my head! 

Don’t mind me…just feeling a little crazy tonight. Welcome to my brain, it’s sooo much fun here, isn’t it? :/ 

 

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