Ke, my other post was more.. personal about circumstances happening to me but I wanted to make this one more general about my condition and more descriptive. Plus I figured it'd be more theraputic for me right now to try to take the emotions out of my condition.
So... a bit of back story... I was finally diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder this year after a long struggle with diagnoses. Obtaining this diagnosis helped contribute towards the end of my relationship with the lengths I ended up going to whilst on a manic.
People often don't understand what manics are like so let me give a quick summary:
Mania: the presence of which is a criterion for certain psychiatric diagnoses, is a state of abnormally elevated or irritable mood, arousal, and/ or energy levels.
To me it feels like having taken a shitload of uppers and not being in much, if any, control of what I am doing. I won't feel like I need to sleep and will often be up for stupidly long periods of time without feeling tired, can end up doing very reckless things without realising (not looking when crossing the road, having no concept of danger, feeling like I'm invincible) and will generally have a very high opinion of myself. I will feel as though a million thoughts are racing through my head, find it hard to concentrate on things but at the same time am capable of being highly productive. Irritability can increase and I can snap very harshly at people without thinking about what I'm saying. This is very self destructive behaviour and has caused a lot of upset with people I don't want to hurt. When in one of these states I'm usually not aware that I am and will look back and regret my actions.
For a very long time I never accepted that I had manic phases and as a result didn't discuss them with my doctors. As I knew that my depressive phases weren't normal "feeling down" moods, I thought that my manics were just me feeling "normal" or "normally happy". One of the toughest things for me has been to start discussing my feelings with other people as I was discouraged from doing so ever since I was a child. This means that I've taken a long time to realise that my moods are not of normal intensity on either end of the spectrum. My manics have been very difficult for me to deal with as recognising when I'm in one is difficult as I will rarely reflect on things. I have a couple of friends who have Bipolar who can recognise when I'm on a manic and know how to deal with it. They will also tell me that they recognise my mood so I can try to cope with it better. It allows me to warn other people what sort of mood I'm in as well.
The other side of the coin is my depressive phases. While a lot of people think that depression is just "being emo", that's not the sort of phase that I go through:
A person having a major depressive episode usually exhibits a very low mood, which pervades all aspects of life, and an inability to experience pleasure in activities that were formerly enjoyed. Depressed people may be preoccupied with, or ruminate over, thoughts and feelings of worthlessness, inappropriate guilt or regret, helplessness, hopelessness, and self-hatred. In severe cases, depressed people may have symptoms of psychosis. These symptoms include delusions or, less commonly, hallucinations, usually unpleasant. Other symptoms of depression include poor concentration and memory (especially in those with melancholic or psychotic features), withdrawal from social situations and activities, reduced sex drive, and thoughts of death or suicide.
I was actually diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder back in 2005 during an incredibly stressful relationship with someone who was physically abusive towards me and explained to my then GP that I had been having these feelings for several years on and off. He referred me to a psychiatrist whom I described my low feelings to. He, in turn, prescribed me prozac and asked me to attend counselling. At the time I was 19, still wary of the stigma surrounding mental health problems and was still battling the "talking to people about my emotions" thing. Going to my GP alone was a huge step for me. It came to me on a day where after quite a lot of attempted overdoses and self harming by burning, I burst out crying and came to the decision that after 4 years of it, I didn't want to be that way anymore. That instead of ending things, I wanted to get better. Realising that how I was feeling wasn't normal was a difficult thing to grasp.
One of the things I really hate with how people perceive BPD is that they assume that the person with it is blowing things up out of proportion, attention seeking and bring their problems upon themselves. I can honestly say that I don't, nor do I use BPD as an excuse. I will turn around and say "I did x and was on a manic" as an explanation for why something was said/done with such intensity. On some occassions my actions have been directly caused by an episode. I've never intentionally done something and then blamed it on a manic, however manics have affected my judgement severely in the past.
With suicidal tendancies, it's hard to explain to people why I feel the world will be better off without me. Sometimes the feelings of worthlessness and self-hate are really that intense. It can be because I'm tired of hurting people, because I feel that I won't stop feeling how I do (especially as it's been so many years and not just a "phase" I've grown out of), because I'm sick of being a burden to those around me, because I get no pleasure from things that would otherwise make me happy... It can be a whole variety of reasons. Sometimes I get all those feelings at once.
I used to self-harm. Not to attempt suicide, but to deal with emotions that I couldn't process in my head or had problems expressing. Sometimes anger that I felt was so intense that I internalised it. Sometimes pain was the only way to distract from what was in my head. Feeling physical pain would take my mind off the emotional pain. However, self harming is something that that again, isn't "normal" and is looked down upon. Emo kids don't help the image by claiming to be depressed that Daddy won't buy them a new Porsche so they want to slit their wrists. Self-harming now has an even worse stigma attached: again, attention seeking. I never expressed my desire to cut/burn myself. I would just do it when alone. Until Feb this year, I had managed a whole 2 years of NOT self-harming and was gutted that I failed to keep that going. My first incident was when I was 14. My last incident was in August. I am by no means proud of my scars. I feel awkward when people look at my arms. I hate having to explain why to people that I have caused myself harm in the past when they ask.
Having done some research into BPD, I realise now why I have certain patterns of thought. I try CBT on myself and have made SOME progress with this but with a lot of stuff going on, my BPD is harder to fix. Medication has some effects in terms of antipsychotics but it's very limited. Sometimes they can exacerbate some of my moods (being on Seroquel made me more manic after a while and Mirtazapine made me aggressive and argumentative, causing another relationship failure).
One of the hardest things for me has been seeing other people around me suffer because of me. When I've said and done things when not in control. When I've lashed out at those closest to me. When I've shut myself off from people because I don't like them getting too close. Trying to explain to people afterwards that they've done nothing wrong. Knowing that one day "Sorry" won't be enough. Feeling like you can't give people what they really need because of how you are mentally wired. Knowing that sometimes there's no explanation that you can give for how you feel. Wishing that you could stop inflicting the pain on them but not being able to... This has cost me someone incredibly dear to me and caused me more pain so... it really is the hardest thing to deal with right now. All I can say to try and aleviate any of this is that I hate myself more for my actions than anyone else ever will. Not much solace at times but true nonetheless.
I don't like not being in control of myself and learning how to identify my mood shifts when sometimes there is no reason whatsoever is very hard. I know I usually crash into a low after a manic, but other than that, I'm clueless so far. Recognising the signs of my states is also a challenge when I'm alone or around people who are unfamilar. I hate the moods being so extreme too. I do have some days when I'm not bouncing all over the place or rocking backwards and forwards in the corner but they seem so few and far inbetween. On those I generally just feel numb. On a rare few, I feel "normal". Then something will happen in my head and I'm off again.
I'm not happy with how things are. I would trade everything to be rid of this with one exception but that exception is not a part of my life at present. I would, however, trade anything for them to have been unaffected by this. They were my motivation to try and get this under control and most of the time, it worked. At the moment I wonder what the point of battling is. When I feel such low self-worth and so much hatred, I can't do things "for me".