So I just got back from my first appointment with my new psychiatrist for my depression meds, and we were talking about some of my comments on the papers I had to fill out...to make a long story short, I was told I'm most likely not suffering from normal depression, but rapid-cycle bipolar 2 disorder.
So I'm bipolar. Manic-depression, in the old days.
The funny thing was, as awful as that felt, and as immediately obvious it was, looking back on my life up to my present 45th year...all I could hear in my head was the Jimi Hendrix song. At least I still have my sense of humor.
Really, this is both a horrible blow to my mind, and in some ways a relief, to know why I've felt this way for so long. Most of you don't know I'm currently separated from my wife, and have been for over a year, even though we are still seeing each other and our marriage is not done yet. It seems that much of what I've acted like, what I've felt like, and a lot of what caused problems in our marriage...was the bipolar disorder.
I know all of you understand the feelings; of trying with all of your willpower to do something when you're depressed...but just not being able to...the crushing sense of failure, the belief that you're just not quite...normal, or even human...I've had those feelings. My particular mania is called hypomania, where it isn't extreme, nor is it like a wild, euphoric high--it's an irritability, a frustration, a desire to be away from others and out of my own skin at the same time. My psychiatrist told me that there is no way to resist what your brain chemicals make you do--it is your nature, and medication and training in methods of evening out your mood are what help. It doesn't give me comfort, though, to think of those times my wife asked me why I was shutting her out, or refusing to participate in family activities, or getting upset over things I had no reason to get upset over. And these were my high, opposite-to-depression times? I feel like I got handed two bags of shit.
I was also told that normal anti-depressants only worsen bipolar depression for most people. That explains why the wellbutrin I took at first for my depression pushed me into thoughts of suicide. At 43, I was sitting in our bathroom on the toilet at 2:30 in the morning, staring at an open bottle of pills in my hand, deciding just how much I hurt, compared to how much I would hurt my loved ones, if I swallowed them all. I was strong enough to resist it.
I thought I was all sorted out when I started taking my new meds...until now. I realize not all of my depression symptoms are gone. God, I don't even know what normal means, still...my whole life I've had depression lurking in the corners, like a shadow that no light could completely chase away. It's fucked up my relationship with my wife, and left me in a mostly empty house I'm renting from a friend, fifty miles from the town my family is in, and lonely every day and night.
To be honest, I found Elliquiy not long after I first moved out. I can't express enough how important and good E and all of you have been to me. Along with getting my new prescriptions back then, E has been the second most important reason I've been able to combat what I'm going through...a source of happiness and friendship the likes of which I've never experienced before, regardless of other friends in my life. You're all that special to me. I don't know if that makes me pathetic or wise or wherever in between...I just know I count all of you I've written with as very special people to me.
It's been a rambling post, I know, but I'm glad to get it off of my chest...I haven't talked to anyone else yet about my diagnosis, but I'm going to. I hope this makes a difference to my wife, too...not as an excuse, but as an explanation for my behavior I tried so hard, and failed, to control those years I was like it. I've never physically harmed her, but I've said things I regret, that didn't reflect at all my true personality...then again, I suppose being bipolar is my true personality. Now I just need to keep it under control. I want my life back...I know I can't have the old one, nor do I want it...I want to forge a new and better life. Wish me luck, my friends.