I know I'm going to regret sending this, but maybe it'll help someone… I never listen to music anymore. I can't even recall the last time I felt a surge of optimism.
"i bleieve the opposite of depression is manic"
That's like saying the opposite of down is the twilight zone… well I give you that could be the answer in a short textbook rendition. But manic states are hardly the opposite of depression. And of course, I can only speak of my own experience herein. But it seems to be a common misconception. The reality is that you can exist for months in a clinically depressed state, then slowly and imperceptibly drift into a manic state. Sometimes, if you're lucky you get to a few hours, maybe day or two if you're real lucky, of a euphoric state – which you believe is normal. You're focused and feel great. You stay to yourself its finally over and I'm normal. I'm ok. I'm like everyone else. I'm well again! Then the euphoric state transforms into something else… You can't sleep for 5, 6, 7 days at a stretch. You're consumed by fear and loathing. And you have no idea of what or why. You're thoughts race far ahead of your ability to verbalize them. Anxiety to the max. Booze, if you're so inclined and you probably are, gives you temporary relief and allows you to catch a few hours sleep so you can go to work. Eventually, you drift back down to another long black winter. You're sure you are going to die soon but you haven't a clue what of. You don't know what's wrong…
Manic depression, most commonly type 1 bi-polar is hard to diagnose in the extreme and even harder to treat. And there is no cure. You can go for a while hiding it from yourself, co-workers, friends and even your family. For quit a long while. You learn tricks. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Don't let anyone see how you feel. You walk a very long tight rope. But eventually, the frequency and magnitude of the cycles will overcome you're abilities and you'll fall hard. Jail time for a DWI is a good first wake-up. Then there's loss of friends, career and bankruptcy. All are almost inevitable. If you're lucky, and have a good spouse and family (as I do) they'll stand with you. They have it too. Forget everyone else, in-laws included. They'll bail quick. And if you don't have anyone YOU ARE SCREWED.
You have to go thru a mess of extreme manic phases before you might recognize that all this isn't your typical clinical depression (or some major flaw in your 'weakling' personality). At first I though my manic episodes were just too much worrying. So you compensate with drinking. Then as you get worse, you might believe, as I did, that you're caught in some sort of post flu delirium – for weeks. You can feel is physically. You're sure of it, because you experience the physical and mental symptoms. Aching mucles, headaches you name it. And the delirium is something else – visions. A long state where you're not sleeping or awake. You're on your feet and you're walking on air. You feel like shit and you can't think. All you know is you're sure your going to die, you're scared and above all, you have to hide it.
Eventually you come to understand what you are made to understand. This is NOT going away. Read up on it before going to the Doctor. Because they (most likely) won't anything. At best, you are some bad impersonation of some condition they once read about in a college text book. One actually just said to me, "well you're a drunk. Stop drinking". You're on your own. By now, if you are fortunate enough to have access to medical help, be prepared to educate him/her. Read-up to argue your case. Because you appear healthy and all your vitals are intact. They'll be sure your faking something for some reason. And they treat REAL illnesses all day long. You have to find the right person. There might be a handful of doctors in the world who have some decent insight, do you really believe you're doc is going to be one of them?
They hand out Prozac and other anti-depressants like candy. These so called miracle drugs are a very bad joke for bi-polars. Remember, you go through extended clinical depression and they may seem to help -if you find one you can live with. But you're shooting at a moving target. Eventually you'll hit a manic state and the anti-depressants will multiply the effects in spades – they may even trigger an extreme manic state. Above all, never drink and take Prozac or whatever (and yes, I know they all say not to drink and take meds, but manic depressives have usually been self-medicating with alcohol for years. They are in denial, it's the ONLY thing that has ever help them. And a good doctor should know that)… there is no telling what you might do if you hit a manic state, while drunk and on Prozac. It is an absolutely deadly combination. Take it from one who knows… I could tell you harrowing stories, but it's besides the point and I'm already hogging up too many bytes.
If you're around fifty and you've had PTSD for say 30 years – untreated, there seems to be a high correlation to becoming bi-polar. Just what you needed! Five plus years now. I've tried everything for extended and controlled periods. There is no miracle drug. They make you feel different but no better. And the side effects are horrendous. The people who market and distribute that junk ought to have to take some first themselves. That stuff is all just snake oil. Its fake. The only thing that I've seen that helps is a mild anti-anxiety med. Then you just concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Overcome it with your mind – a moment at a time.
I know there are a lot of worse things out there. But having this does not exclude the other stuff. It's bad icing on the cake. And to anyone who might say, just shoot yourself – well I sat on a lonely New Mexico hill side once with my gun to my head. But I couldn't do that to my family. Maybe you should shoot yourself.