Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bipolar Disorder, Bad News and Bookcase


I am apoplectic about the programing snafu at MSNBC. No David Gregory--instead we get Morning fucking Joe, who talks over his guests, who gives us lovely, smart Rachel Maddow (who's probably been shoved down his throat) and then proceeds to try to humiliate and dismiss her throughout the program. Off goes my email to MSNBC. I hate that fucker, Morning Joe. Thank god I don't get up early enough to watch that prick. Now no Chris Matthews, whom I hate, and yet still watch while screaming at my TV. But the ultimate atrocity is no Olbermann. And if Olbermann is having a little time off, then we usually get an hour--I repeat--one hour, with Rachel Maddow doing a fine job of hosting for Olbermann. Instead, tonight we get two hours of an old report on Warren Jeffs and the mormons who make up the FLDS. Off goes my second email to MSNBC--how I hate their programming idiots. This is the 3rd of July and is not a holiday. This is Thursday and now a day to skip the news. WTF! I'm so mad, I'm going to have to take a sleeping pill and sleep it off. And I'm hiding behind bigger bookcases.

It's becoming obvious to me, that I'm having what is known, in the psychiatric community, as "rapid cycling." It's a bipolar bad time. Worse than just a bad day--it's more like having a bad brain. We are all aware of the mind/body connection, and it doesn't take much wrong with one or the other to muck up the works. I have no real idea what has caused this bipolar melt down, but it doesn't take much.

For awhile when I was in group therapy and doing fairly well, a new patient would be introduced into the group who was "rapid cycling," and they annoyed the crap out of me. It's like getting whip-lash, trying to follow their conversational mood. And on top of that, they don't know they're doing it. Another feature of the phase of this bipolar cycle is the complete insensitivity to those around you. You don't notice that only you are talking. There is no time. It stands still, it means nothing. You have your need to express yourself, no matter how silly or full of shit you are, so you yammer on and on. I have raised my hand in group therapy, and asked the group leader if So and So, the person in the rapid cycling, is really ready for group, since they can't quite grasp the notion of sharing the time, that one short hour. They act like narcissists, though usually this isn't part of their mental health pathology. It's only a phase of the cycle, but it's damned annoying. And the answer to that question, is no, they are not yet ready for group therapy.

Well, folks, I believe I am in a rapid cycling phase. I'm sorry to have subjected you to it. And now I will give myself a time-out to pull myself together.

24 comments:

Naj said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Naj said...

BLOGGER automatically puts the blogs to which one contributes on ones profile. If I knew how to get rid of it, I would. Look at your own profile before going all hooha!

Utah Savage said...

Sorry Naj. I have a migraine. You're first comment made me think for a monet we had bombed Iran or shot down another passenger jet, But it isn't paranoia, about the writing site, it's merely an agreement. And of all of you writers I'm the one with the least skills. I know nothing. Dcup set it up for us. I only want us all to abide by our agreement. I was panicked when I reached your site the first time, since I was reacting to something else. I am also, as you know, bipolar. Sometimes I do what is called rapid cycling. Manic one moment, irritable the next, could go toward depression and then swing back to euphoria. This and yesterday were that kind of thing. I'm going to settle down and stop blogging for awhile, just to let my mind calm. I read your comment on first waking up. It has not been a good day for me. Please don't back out. I love your voice, your insight, your editorial skills, and the poetry of your writing. It's fine to be mad at me, but there are other writers who would hate to loose you, too. You're right about that comment here that I'm not listening to anyone other than myself. That is a symptom of a bipolar mood shift. It will pass.

Naj said...

:) well, bipolars understand each other.

I am having a bad day/weeks/months too and so I ran out of patience because no matter how nicely I said "I am not doing anything wrong" I didn't seem to make an impression :)

Also, it is the blog administrator (Dcup) who can set/change the authorization. we are just contributors who can read and write. We cannot even modify each other's posts.

If that blog does not appear on my profile, I will be even happier. As you noticed both my blogs are anti-war and heavily political, and my creative/fictitious side is best kept for an entirely different context. So if anyone out there knows how to hide contibuted blogs from one's profile, please do let me know.

DCup said...

Naj - I'm sorry for the confusion. You can see the posts because you have permission to blog there. The only people who can see those posts are the people with permission.

I just had my husband check to see if he could get onto the blog through my profile and he couldn't. It gives a "restricted" message.

However, I understand that you are upset and if you still wish to have your story and access removed, I will take care of that.

My regrets for the misunderstanding.

DCup said...

Naj - if you go to edit your profile, you will see "select my blogs to display." Once there you can deselect the blog in question.

Perhaps we should all do that for now?

I hope this helps!

Utah Savage said...

Wait a bit Dcup, Naj and I are just having bad days. We will pull ourselves together. Don't do anything drastic. We need this site. And I mean NEED. It gives me hope (when all else seems hopeless) that something positive might come out of all the pain that created these stories. Do you know what I mean? Sorry to be so difficult. It will pass.

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

my daughters mother is bipolar - scarey

Utah Savage said...

Torrance, It's really hard to live with someone who's bipolar. It's genetic, too. My father was bipolar. I think my mother's sister was, too, but she was never diagnosed. Doesn't usually appear until into your teens. Hard to be bipolar; hard to be around bipolar. I hope your daughter has other family members who can be an escape hatch for her.

Dusty said...

Is this a private convo?

Randal Graves said...

I have no idea what's going on here, so I'll just say to everyone, don't watch all the über-cheesy, jingoistic parades of atrocious music that'll surely be on the teevee tonight. Write instead. Or watch some baseball. Now that's American.

Anita said...

i agree with randal.

Ghost Dansing said...

Utah you gratefully have good insight into your symptoms which is a monumental plus....... hang in there...... you too Naj.

while Randal and Anita are watching baseball, perhaps they could save the internet between innings.

Freida Bee said...

Utah- It really helps me to read about being bi-polar from your viewpoint. My daughter is bi-polar and I am not sure I understand it all yet, but I've seen this and know it firsthand. I try not to engage "the disease," but keep in mind that's what's doing the talking in the difficult moments. Of course, having my own mental issues, I also extend this same compassion to myself and hope that you can have some compassion for yourself as well. I think knowing you're in it is the first step and you are miles ahead of me on these things anyway, dear.

DivaJood said...

My father was bi-polar. I am just lucky to be clinically depressed and a recovering alcoholic. As for the writing blog, those of us who are not invited to participate are not able to get on or read anything. Only authorized users can see that blog.

Feel better, Naj and Utah.

Anita said...

utah, i hope you are feeling better today.

i can't imagine how scary and horrible it must feel to have these phases, or cycling as you say, come down upon you like that.

while i know that depression is my own personal demon, sometimes, when i drink, i can become extremely elated at one moment and nearly suicide almost the minute. it really is very hard on people who have to observe it or live with it while it is going on.

which is why i need to stay miles and miles away from alcohol, and unfortunately, people.

Utah Savage said...

Freida, most of my adult life I experienced the depression side of bipolar disorder, and so was only treated as a depressive. I thought my normal state of ebullient high spirits was my real personality, and depressing was the kill-joy. Some of the population with bipolar disorder experiences more of one pole than the other, so the disease doesn't look so much like the classic swing from pole to pole, and is merely thought to be personality. My personality when not depressed was energetic, quick witted, fun, funny, and tireless. I would go on shopping sprees--shoes were always a part of this phase--I called it "shopping therapy." I would buy things because they were on sale and a good buy, not because I needed them, or would ever have an occasion to wear them. Clothes would hang in my closet with the price tags on them until they went out of style.

The clue that everyone missed (that I was bipolar) was the irritability on the downswing. I would become more argumentative, easily angered, uncooperative, and almost scary in my bouts of anger turning to tears. Then the plummet down and down until I hit that place that was like a coma. In the bottom of the bipolar swing I could sleep almost round the clock. And when awake, sounded almost drunk--slurry words, brain that was so dull, thought was all but impossible. I could not follow a conversation, certainly could not contribute to one, and wanted to be left alone anyway.

But the really dangerous stages for the person with bipolar disorder are the transitions. These are the times bipolar suicides are most likely to happen. It's when you have the energy to act, and the will to stop the pain you feel will inevitably engulf you again. You are capable of enough organization to make a plan and the will to carry it out. If you are a reader of obituaries, you will notice young people who have died and no cause of death is given--these are most likely suicides, the casualties of bipolar disorder. It is now becoming more common for the families of these victims of this often deadly disease, to talk about this killer--to speak in the obituary of their brilliant, creative family member, and the struggle he or she had with bipolar disorder.

So, if you have a family member who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, keep in mind that their disease is very likely to show up in other family members. In the research on this aspect of the illness, it has been found that there are at least two genetic markers for bipolar disorder. For most inherited illnesses there is only one genetic marker. If there is bipolar disease on both sides of a family it's a genetic quadruple whammy. So, if you have family members who have this illness, and you have been lucky enough to escape it, it will probably show up in a sibling, or your offspring.

The only two deaths at the hands of Air Marshals on U.S. flights (since we've had Air Marshals on planes) have both been bipolar patients. Two recent mass killings/suicides have been committed by men with bipolar disorder. One was on a college campus, the other was in a shopping mall here in Salt Lake. Since these killings, bipolar patients have been prohibited from owning guns legally. If you have been diagnosed with this disease, you won't pass the background check to purchase a hand gun legally.

This is probably the most undiagnosed disease in men, especially. Men are less likely than women to seek psychiatric help and men are most likely to be the ones who decide to take out everyone they can, before they blow their own brains out.

Bipolar disorder is also quite common in people who are exceptionally creative. History is full of these creative giants, who flame out early.

Utah Savage said...

Anita and Diva, one of the universals for mood disorder diseases is the NEED to self-medicate. So lots of alcoholics are bipolar. And depression might be the predominant pole for the alcoholic, who can only feel euphoric with enough alcohol is on board. Does the shopping spree part of the disorder ring a bell for either of you?

Anita said...

indeed it does, utah. indeed it does. in fact, i'm currently trying to work out plan to go onto ebay, this time as a SELLER, and attempt to unload all the shit i've bought over the past several years. and use the cash to pay for my new shrink, who is quite expensive, but VERY good.

i know. it sounds really crazy.

Utah Savage said...

Hang in there Anita. A Good shrink is the first step towards managing the monster.

DivaJood said...

Oh, the shopping spree. Yesindeedy. Not as bad as when I drank, but still rears its ugly head. However, it's less a manic phase as a deep empty hole that I try to fill with whatever: food, shopping, some THING outside myself to make it better. The longer I am sober in AA, the less frequently I fall into that hole.

Madam Z said...

Holy shit! I thought *I* had problems! Now I know that I'm lucky that I'm only depressed,imprudent,reckless and have the attention span of a gnat.

Mauigirl said...

Bipolar disorder and depression run in my family on my dad's side. He was mostly depressive but looking back I realize he was probably manic as well but just undiagnosed. Then later in his life when he began to get dementia he got the complete manic cycle and would talk endlessly in a kind of stream-of-consciousness mode. He was always very intellectual and philosophical and it was as if everything he ever thought started coming through at once.

My half-niece is bipolar and is on disability.

Luckily my half-sister and I have generally missed the family trait although I do take Prozac for mild depression. I can definitely empathize with your situation...

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