Avoiding Crisis

highs and lows

with 3 comments

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.” 

Hmmm.

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.

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Written by nicolemarie

September 10, 2008 at 12:06 pm

3 Responses

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  1. I just love your blogs. It is so true. I had the same problem when I was in Burma. I just turned 30 and I had had surgery and right after I started with the same behavior. I knew what I had because I have a brother, aunt, cousins with bipolar. Some of them it is pretty bad. I started taking medication but it made me horrible. I stopped and I started taking ZUMBA(a merengue, salsa with aerobics classes). I got into a healthy diet. I started to get busy with things I like doing it. I found something I love doing it. I felt great. I have been great since them. No medication!!I have seen what the medication had done with my brother I don’t want that for myself. My mother had found a natural medication from Brazil. I have used it and It is great. It is all natural. Are you interested in using? I can ask the name and maybe you can find online in those nature stores. I am Praying so you can feel better.

    Cleia Peterson

    September 13, 2008 at 11:02 am

  2. Nicole, just as you longed for labels and diagnoses to provide a path to stability, psychiatrists do too. The truth(as you’ve learned) is that the psychiatric profession has only scratched the surface on brain function. Diagnoses are determined primarily by observed behavior, not brain function. It’s a highly imperfect model. In recent years, traditional ideas about mood disorders have been extensively rethought, so you would be wise to consult with psychiatrists who are up to date on current research. That being said, if I had just gone through the type of changes and pressures you’ve gone through in the last 6 months, I’d be bouncing off of the walls and I’ve never been diagnosed with anything and never needed any psychiatric medication.

    Barry

    September 14, 2008 at 11:23 pm

  3. thanks for your comment Barry. my best friend from college said almost the exact same thing to me last night. when i wrote this i was enjoying that euphoria that goes along with someone placing a tag on your problems and kind of explaining everything away. my friend pointed out that maybe I’m looking for a “reason” for my recent emotions, that I needed them to be okay and with a diagnosis it made it “okay” for me to feel the way I do, etc. but she also noted that I have a really good reason with everything that has gone on over the past 6 months and that I don’t need a label to justify my anger, anxiety and depression. I seem to forget this last part.

    nicolemarie

    September 15, 2008 at 10:30 am


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