Not Manic Depressive, Not Bipolar, but it is cycling

Jelly BeansFor years I have noticed the cyclical nature of my depression, as well as the seasonal impact. When I described my experience years ago to a psychiatrist, he started treating me for manic depression or bipolar with mood stabilizers on top of antidepressants. I won’t make that mistake again. I have never felt worse in my life than when on Depakote and the myriad other things they had me try. When I got off of those meds, I had such extreme anxiety and panic attacks, and my hair started falling out – in clumps.

I have this theory, that if your body needs a medication, it gets used up and you have little or only mild side effects. But if you have the wrong medication prescribed, something you don’t need at all, it builds up or becomes toxic and all kind of bad reactions happen. Problem is, when you describe these reactions to a psychiatrist, they think it is another mental symptom to treat. So glad I got off that train, it was a nightmare for many years.

So what I have, is some sort of cycling depression, that can take hold for days or weeks, but then I am fine for days or weeks. No real pattern that I can find. I dip down lower in the winter, but I still dip down a bit in the summer. But I just go with the flow. I adjust my days as needed, and don’t get upset (try not to anyway) when I don’t accomplish my goals. I feel so much as up-down me than I ever did flat and hollow or wired or shaky or sick on any type of mood medication.

I’m writing this because I just had the best 2 weeks, and now last night I dipped down again. For 2 weeks, I think I experienced “normal”. I slept at night, I awoke rested, I could think ahead to start laundry before a meeting, I clocked more consecutive work hours than I have in years, I kept my patience with kids, I joked and played games with kids, I kept my temper in check. This was not a mania, as I did not do impulsive things, I was not out of control, I did not stay up all night. I was peaceful and happy and working towards my goals. I started the spring cleaning that never got finished 5 years ago, and never got started the past few years.

But now I am tired. So tired. Like I used up all my energy being normal. I was trying to help kiddo with homework last night, and the words made no sense. I laid down and went to that level 1 sleep, where I can hear kids, but I’m unable to wake fully up. Husband made dinner last night. I kept sleeping. I got up around 1am and ate nearly a whole bag of jelly beans. The sugar cravings are irresistible when I dip down into this depression so quickly. I got up to get kids to school today, and then went back to bed. Got up to get kid from school, and now I just want to sleep more. But I have a meeting soon, and need to shake this feeling and be me again. When I am me, they call me brilliant. When I am depressed, they call me tired, and ask if I am coming down with something? They can hear it in my voice over teleconference.

So I’ve had 2 cups of green tea, 1 cup of coffee, some almonds, walnuts and cashews, and I’m ready to prepare for the meeting. I need to make a powerpoint presentation in 30 minutes. I will do it. They will love it. But it will be crap.

And so it goes.



9 thoughts on “Not Manic Depressive, Not Bipolar, but it is cycling

  1. You are doing great because you are aware of your feelings. the only thing drugs do is to suppress our emotions and doctors should be looking at ways to heal the body naturally rather than to suppress it. I cry heaps, almost every day or night, but last night I had a break as my cup of Horlicks finally knocked me out. I don’t think you have depression or bipolar, this is just societies labelling on mental illness. If they could, everything, even coffee addiction, would have a label. I think life is meant to be be full of peaks and troughs until enough of the world start taking responsibility for the darkness within. Look at it this way, every time you have a bad episode just imagine how the loving light is going to feel. It’s so worth it.

  2. What an interesting theory you have on medications. I feel the same way. Sometimes a drug works for me very well with minimal side effects but when it’s wrong…woah, is it wrong. I hate playing the ‘medication game’…so glad I’ve finally found a combo that lets me find some balance.

    Being at work and having to face meetings while feeling so exhausted is really, really hard…I know. I just came back from a meeting that I had to leave for a moment to have a quiet little panic in the hallway. Good for you, being able to pull yourself together to get the job done. Just don’t forget to unwind a little when you can. x Hope your presentation went perfectly!

    • A quiet little panic in the hall, yup, that’s me. Excuse me while I cry or freak out a bit, be back with you in a moment. Mostly now I have learned to prep myself with rest before and after, so the panic never comes any more. The presentation was fine, thanks! Somehow I appear funny and brilliant (their words, not mine) I used to call off work, cancel meetings, postpone deadlines, but the past year or so I have found a way to accept my needs, allow myself breaks, not punish myself for imperfection, etc.

      • Well done. Hard work went into finding that balance. I always seem to mange to “turn on” for meetings and other work related interactions, no matter how bad I’m feeling. It’s a good skill.. 🙂

  3. I’m not saying this is you; for me, it’s hormones. I know I have two good weeks, every month, to accomplish what I want to, because the other two weeks will be hit and miss. If I’m raging or crying for no reason (if I remember to check my calendar), I can usually point to a swing in hormones. The important thing is that first I had to become aware of the cycle. I watched it, for a long time. Once I saw a pattern, I was able to backtrack to hormones, which throw off my eating and sleeping, and that throws everything else off. A domino effect. Now, I’m able to balance a little better, or at least be gentler with myself when things go weird. Here’s hoping you find your triggers or at least figure out how to strike a livable balance.

    • Thank you for mentioning hormones. I have been trying to document the highs and lows, and it seems so sporadic. My cycles have been irregular too since last kiddo, even had surgery on one ovary. GYN says premenopause can start at my age and stopped investigating. I am now wondering about thyroid. Due for some doctor checkups I think, I just hate going, all the expense, babysitters, hassle, worry, and then usually it is all for nothing and they send me home or try to prescribe antidepressants again. But I’ll go.

  4. Pingback: 30 Days Of Truth: Day 3 – Bipolar J. « Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars

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