highs and lows
in one of my earliest posts I mentioned that how when I’m depressed or anxious I can’t write. But how when I’m happy and content with the state of things I have no problems spilling my inner most thoughts onto the page. You’d think that this would be the opposite. I do. But it’s not.
I was able to keep this blog up while we were in Argentina in part becayse I LOVED my life and was totally happy. A review of photos and videos from the past three years confirms this fact. How I so long to have that again.
Since we’ve moved back things have been hectic and there have been a lot of stress in my life. It’s not surprising that I’m pretty down. It was to be expected. Even my rock of a husband has had his moments over the past few months.
But, there is something a bit different these days. It’s that my moods are so unpredictable and so intense, particularly how irritable and angry I can become. For no apparent reason, or at least not a good enough reason. My medication doesn’t seem to be working to control my anxiety and I have to take additional medication to manage the minor panic attacks I seem to be having. I can handle the depression, I can manage that. What I can’t deal with, what I have never been able to deal with is the anxiety.
A says that he can tell my moods based on how I walk around the house. The heavier my heals hit the hardwoods the more anxious I am. I breath differently he tells me. He knows its coming even before I do, or at least before I admit it. Then I pick fights with him, get insanely angry with the kids for doing the silliest of things, and feel like I’m going to explode. I know what I’m doing, I know that I shouldn’t get so angry and that I should try to control it but I can’t, before I know it, I’ve exploded both inside and out. Deep breaths don’t seem to be working. Xanax does. Then I feel awful, guilty, sad. I say things like, “I hate my life”, like “my kids would be better off without me”, like “I’m leaving” and “I want a divorce.” I don’t mean any of them. I still say them. I can’t help myself. I feel awful when I’ve finally calmed down and have to face what I’ve done and said.
Together, A and I decided that it was probably best that I talk to a professional about this. In the 9 years that we’ve been together even he hasn’t seen this type of intense behavior. I’ve seen many mental health professionals during my 31 years. I’ve been diagnosed with a whole number of things. Personality disorder, general anxiety disorder, depression, anxiety, self injury, etc. None of them ever seemed to explain it all, to make complete sense to me. It was always like the doctors didn’t really know what was wrong with me but felt the need to put a label on whatever I was going through. I longed for a diagnosis so that I could be treated and it would go away (wishful thinking).
And then yesterday I had a conversation that actually made some sense:
“Has anyone ever mentioned bipolar to you?” the doctor asked. “Sure,” I said, “Doctors have always used the the words manic depression and hypomania to describe certain times in my life, but it was always ruled out as a diagnosis for some reason or another.” “Well,” he went on, “sometimes in patients that present with depression and anxiety in their teens will later be diagnosed with what is considered low grade bipolar disorder in their 30s-40s. It may explain your irritability and intense anger.”
I left the office without any decision to change my medication or knowing what are the next steps were. Just that I have another appointment in 2 weeks. I oddly felt better when I left. It just made sense. It really did. Maybe I always thought that this was the “problem” but was waiting for someone to confirm it.
And then again, maybe it’s not the answer. For now though, I’ll hold on to my feeling of relief and go with it.