black hole and centrifuge
What does my depression look like... as I have mixed-episode, rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, my depression can look pretty mixed up and unpredictable because it mixes with mania. My depressions are severe and last a long time (months and months, even years when I'm not in treatment.) Depression causes me to struggle with suicidal thinking which is troublesome and sometimes becomes deeply compelling. When the mania gets bad, then I not only feel incredibly depressed, dark, death-full, and barely-holding-on-suicidal, but manic and very much in a depth of psychic pain to the point of feeling I'm on an edge over which, if I slip, means loss of sanity and not being able to find my way back. The mania makes my brain feel like its in a spinning centrifuge, spinning so fast and out of control that I feel my brain is about to slop over the sides and hit the walls, it's going so fast. It feels like I'm losing control because of the speed my brain is going, and that I won't be able to get the control back and get the brain back into the centrifuge. The combination of depression and mania makes it hard to keep going but I always keep trying. When the mania is bad then I'm about worthless at work. It's good I have my own office and can close the door because at times when the mania is bad, all I can do is hold my head and rock, or sit in the corner on the floor and hold my head and cry, afraid that someone will come in and find me and make me go to the hospital. At times I've had to just ball up on the floor under my desk, cry, and "fade away" for a little while, drifting into a kind of semi-sleep state for a little while.Then when I "come back" I'm pretty wasted and useless for the rest of the day;can't think, focus, or concentrate at all.
Going off Wellbutrin and trazodone helped a little because especially the Wellbutrin was kicking up the mania, and the trazodone wasn't helping me sleep -- my sleep has been ragged and very little for years.
I have a good psychiatrist, a D.O., who understands that I want to do as much as I can with lifestyle and with a minimum of medications. She has me on a treatment of 900 mg of lithium and 200 mg of lamictal at present, and it is helping, in combination with 2 grams of good-quality fish oil, 7.5 mg of Deplin prescription folate, good natural-food vitamins, and trying to work better at exercise and sleep and trying to eat more regular and with better, more healthy choices in what and how I eat.
The depression is still moderate, but is edging up toward mild on my mood charts, and for the past few weeks, on the charts, the section for mania is mostly empty. The suicidal thinking is better and less frequent, and the strongly compelling aspect of it has backed down.
My psychiatrist, whom I only began seeing 6 weeks ago (saw her for second time yesterday) said that with my level of bipolar disorder -- both the mania and the depression -- that medications aren't a "cure," rather are a "treatment," and that I will need to be on some form of meds life-long (I'm 56). I will wait awhile, until I've been stable for awhile and have rested/recovered from my recent spate of melting down and somewhat breaking in repeated steps. Then under her supervision I hope to taper off and see what happens. I hope to be able to manage all this bipolar business with healthy lifestyle.
For now, I'm glad to be feeling better and not being tossed and torn to pieces with the mania. Mania feels like a huge bird is on my head, digging its talons into my brain -- feels like fire and pain.
When I am manic, I work like crazy and sleep quite a small, broken-up amount. I don't do off-the-rail, crazy behavior things, I just feel sure that I am GOING crazy. Again, things aren't perfect or quite where my doctor wants me to be, but we are agreed that there is good progress, I am feeling more stable, and am glad about that.
You will be so happy to learn about True Hope. Check it out at www.truehope.com and watch the videos to learn more about how people who once had bipolar disorder are no longer on medication.
I know someone who sings the praises of Truehope. If you also type in "true hope empower plus" into Youtube.com you can see all kinds of testimonials from people. It sounds like different people have to take different levels because everyone's neurotransmitter levels are different. I know that some people have said (due to their personal level of illness) it's started at $150 a month but they've said this is peanuts for getting their life back. As I understand, you can contact their call center and the people on the phones are people who once were bipolar but are no longer thanks to the supplement. Feel free to call them and ask away your questions. Your health is worth it! :)
There is hope!