This is what gets me worst about being "ill". Judging normality in the context of sickness. If I don't I'm not going to know if/when it happens again. It's always come back before.
I don't want right now to go into a list of times I've gone up, but it's happened at least 5 times, probably 10 times. Some of those times can be blamed on a drug. Others can be blamed on "viral infection" (colds/flu). Depression I've had far more of. I first got depressed enough to be thinking of dying when I was only 10.
I'm not angry about not having been "treated" ~ how do you treat a depressed child? I wouldn't want my kid on meds. Talk therapy I don't think would have worked on me, not at that age. (It did work when I had it later. I'm only wary of it now from having got to a stage when almost nothing at all in my life feels personal to me. It's all just some story I've told endless times to endless professionals.) What does feel personal are the memories I share with my family. The times I shared with them when growing up feel more dear to me now than they felt at the time. In a sense my treatment was the good treatment I got off my family. And you need to bear in mind the worst of this depression occurred over 2 periods both about a week long, over about 2 months. Then, after that I was more OCD than depressed.
I saw a thing on TV where two men who had been in constant, severe depression for over a decade and one woman who had been in a parallel state on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (couldn't stop counting backwards, etc) had psycho-laser-surgery into the bit of their brain handling emotions.
All three made a dramatic recovery. One had to have a touch-up job when depression returned, but he was OK. Point being OCD and depression, including bipolar depression, were situated at precisely the same point in the brain. Which explains to me how I switched one "diagnosis" to another. Of course I don't have an official diagnosis as no dr. heard about this till 10 years after the fact. When I was depressed again. This time at university.
That was the worst depression of my life. I got badly depressed on heroin. You could say this was worse because at university I wasn't suicidal, not most of the time. On the heroin I was. And I was seeing nasty twisted faces in the carpet, in piles of clothing, in discarded carrier bags. I also heard voices. But the faces happened most frequently. Every day at some points. I think back to that time in horror of what might have happened had I been persuaded to drop that heroin. Considering this was depression WITH self-medication. What would it have been like with no meds bar methadone (which does almost nothing bar keep my body from being sick). As the dr. said it probably was "depression with psychotic features" ie as bad as depression gets. THIS is why I'm scared. This is why I HATED having that psych evaluation the other week while so hyper people couldn't follow what I was saying. Or had to keep putting me back on-topic.
[I hated the psych evaluation because it threw up rubbish from years ago I just did not and do not want to think about.)
But this 45 minute (was it really that short? It took up 5 hours of mental time I'm telling you!) this psychiatric history the guy had to take, before a Very Attractive TV Girl Doctor with shiny tights, really shiny black leggings that looked absolutely amazing and I felt myself light up when she came in (gave myself well away on that one)... (she must have looked over his report) and asked more questions along the same lines: not sleeping, going too fast, irritable mood T-ing into euphoria, paranoia, voices. I don't think they covered visions, which I also had that day. Their magnolia wall turned into the most amazing movie. I was hearing voices enough that rushing along their corridor every single room had babble emanating out.
This was the day I played aeroplanes on a swivel chair, like a 3 year old. Nobody was watching. I was in a private room, away from the receptionist. The whole point of a mental hospital, apart from saving your life is to give you somewhere to be crazy, so this behaviour is OK there, and doesn't contribute to your notes, unless it's done on a ward, in which case you're being "observed" they want to know how much energy you have on different days to see whether it's going up or down or is same every day... all that stuff. I know about moods from my little library of "how not to be" Depressed Books. Which I sold years ago.
Last night I kept having flashes of what I hoped wasn't depression. I don't feel depressed now. Not hyper, not depressed. Not slightly hyped up (which is really really nice). So I'm just lazy and lacking the amazing energy I had.
Going UP was too quick, but coasting down I really felt good, the way you coast down at the end of a rollercoaster. The going up happened so fast and with such paranoia and irritability it wasn't really good. But I had a fine week last week, even though I knew really I was coming down. I kept hoping I was going up again.
The things that might sound scariest to you weren't necessarily worst for me. Euphoria of course feels wonderful, grandiose is great. Paranoia I tended to get more when I was on the way into or out of the Ultra State. Going so fast I couldn't think any more, that was the worst. That to me is true madness. No thoughts in the head just noise like racing cars, whizzing about. That was the time I made myself think French to bring myself out of it. Visual hallucination is amazing. (Twisted faces in carrier bags happened in depression and technically that's called illusion as the crumpled bag sets it off, true hallucination is like me staring at that wall and seeing Visions.) Voices are usually just echoing my own thought out loud, or making suggestions. Occasionally they are abusive in a name-calling way. I never hear voices ordering me what to do or conversing about me. Those voices are said to be more characteristic of schizophrenia.
I went to a schizophrenic forum yesterday and couldn't relate to the level of paranoia. If I was "psychotic" it was in a much more fragmented way, where nothing adds to a whole, it's just weirdness. Not as frightening, as you might expect, when it actually happens. A lot was just funny e.g. the stairs exclaiming "oink oink poink poink!" as I descended to the front door. (Another illusion: the sound acts as trigger to a reinterpreting brain).
So that's what it's like to go mad. The peak lasted about 2 weeks. The week before I was horribly depressed some days, irritable and telling an anonymous commenter to F off, because his rapidly skimmed words seemed to be having a go. I repeated myself twice and thought "hang on a sec you're getting a bit vehement here..." but I didn't understand my own behaviour. So I was probably up for about 3 weeks in total. As I say the going-into stage is very hard to discern. Y'all might remember I was starting a mood, sleep and drink diary. I obviously felt some need for a mood scale going up as well as down, and that just about puts the issue in a nutshell. I knew I wasn't right.
I'm seeing a shrink once monthly. I'm on risperidone 2x2mg daily. Today I take it with methadone one mornings, one nightly. 4mg is half the usual maximum for bipolar; 40% of the usual max for schizophrenia. There's a chance I could have a "substance-induced mood disorder" (as well as pre-existing depression) ~~ but what substance is setting it off. Considering I WASN'T in withdrawal in December, most definitely wasn't in January, was ON heroin when I was hyper before (but not crack) was on heroin and crack (Mondays only) when antidepressants set me off badly one time before... blah blah it doesn't seem to phase in with anything. True withdrawal or switching off heroin on to anything eles has set me off high or low every single time (Subutex was a high: music sounded amazing! So good on days 1 and 2 I wanted to dance outside.)... So I don't know I just don't know.
I've been told this "happens to everyone" well I haven't seen that. What I'm telling is precisely what happened and I know people with schizophrenia etc. I know what's mild what's severe mine was edging towards the latter. I don't know anyone who got it this bad from drugs. Anywhere. At Nutter Club earlier today, a bipolar woman said "when I was depressed at NA they told me it was because I wasn't doing the steps properly and they said come off my medication". I said "I decided I'm going to tell anyone who says that: yeah I'll come off psychiatric meds. Only if I can stay at your house." This caused uproarious laughter.
Have a nice day. I'm trying. It just feels weird being "normal". (And how long will it last!?)
GUY ON HEROIN: UNION SQUARE NEW YORK CITY
THIS GUY HAS HAD "FIRE DOPE" AS THEY CALL IT THERE ("PROPER GEAR" AS YOU'D CALL IT HERE).
IT'S WHAT HAPPENED TO ME QUITE A FEW TIMES. TIMES I REMEMBER IS WHEN I WAS STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF A ROOM NOT KNOWING WHAT DAY IT WAS. SOMETIMES I DIDN'T KNOW WHERE I WAS...
Dynasty was nicer to look at. Better homes. Heather Locklear. Joan Collins. (Dallas had April Stevens). Dynasty had near-incomprehensible story lines. Dallas had so-called cliffhangers but how those stories dragged! Please Lorimar: faster, better this time!