Tag Archives: mood swings
30 Jan

Feeling down.  Was feeling productive even good this morning.  Then got two disappointing grades and my mood just plummeted.  Actually thinking of dropping one of the classes.  Emotional me wants to drop out entirely, well out of life- but you get the picture.  My image for so long has been built on my academics, since I’m not able to work.  It’s either that or my mental illness when it prevents me from school. Ugh.

BPD Extreme Emotions

25 Jun

I sort of thought I had my emotions more controlled than it turns out I do.  During periods of depression my moods only fluctuate from extremely depressed to apathetic depression.  After my long depressive episode last year I felt a couple months of true stability.  Then life started happening and my emotions got all over the place again.  I could give you an exact reason why for each and every change though they may have seemed minor to anybody else.

The emotional episodes in the last week have been the extremest in at least 2 years maybe more.  Also I haven’t been able to assign each episode to a specific trigger.  Yesterday with my case manager we just talked about grief and change; well mostly I cried and she mentioned those things.  Also, when I get on these rolls all the changes that are up and coming hit me at once, but at the same time I’d say they’re always looming so I wouldn’t call it a trigger.  Anyways, I’m still confused as to what is setting these off.

I had an appointment with the therapist today, she seemed more personable which was odd for me.  She’s usually very ‘blank slate.’  We talked about trying to be in wise mind with all these changes that are coming up and the growth I want.  Maybe to write them down so when I get those episodes I can look at it, though I’ll probably be too irrational and emotional.  But at least it’s a suggestion.  I’ll have to look at my other emotion regulation and distress tolerance skills.

As with BPD, I’m flying high today and nothing is wrong with the world other than my eyes still burning from all the crying yesterday.

Update: 6/14/15

15 Jun

Today I had some friends over to play Frisbee and go swimming.  Last night’s Orange is the NEw Black binge watching/sleepover was only a few of us and we ended up watching about 5 episodes.  I had a long sleep between that and Frisbee/pool tonight.  When we were playing Frisbee I was feeling that icky empty meaningless feeling.  I had to walk a way a few times and just try to get a hold of myself.  Sometimes it’s the times you are surrounded by people when you feel most lonely.  I was honestly regretting putting this thing together; finally maybe pushing me past my socializing breaking point.

For some reason when we got to the house everything changed.  I guess that’s the plus of the BPD emotions coming and going quickly as opposed to the bipolar one’s sticking around for longer.  I’ve actually been a little concerned that I’ve been in somewhat of a hypomania for the last week or so.  I’ve had to take Valium more than a couple times to sleep and haven’t been needing to drink near as many energy drinks.  Anyways, back on topic: I felt better when I got home.  We had some pizza and went in the pool/spa.  There were 13 of us and everyone was getting along real good, that was nice too.  People seemed to be enjoying themselves and there was a lot of laughter and horseplay.  Like I’ve said before I like making people happy, especially the people I care about.

It’s midnight and even though I’m not sleepy it is time to try and go to bed.  It’s been a week of mostly good days and majority of good mood.  Almost like Nov/Dec when I started the new meds.

Update 1/22/14

22 Jan

I’m at my parents house tight now, killing time before needing to leave for school.  Today is the first day of the semester, I really should be looking back on my Italian.  I have a feeling she will be going right into Italian and I will be confused, it’s been a year since I last took it but on the plus that’s going to be the case for almost everyone in the class because it was dropped last semester due to lack of enrollment.  After Italian class will be a counseling appointment then later this evening my math class.

I am feeling better today.  I had these nasty nasty feelings inside yesterday.  I was trying to blog them out but just couldn’t express it.  It seemed they were going to overtake me.  I decided to facebook message a blogger friend, and though I was super negative I was able to express what was going on.  I cried for quite a bit but felt somewhat better after, the feelings lifted some.  This morning I am back to my base self.

I need to catch up on my blogging, both Zero to Hero and linking the round up posts for the 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge.  I also have a bunch of ideas floating around and some half written posts from the recent surges in energy.  I’m just trying to stay stable or at least not end up hospitalized or self harming or anything like that; and sometimes that means stepping back from just about everything.  So I apologize for my hit and miss blogging lately, especially to the new comers.  I usually blog at least once a day and if not that every other day or so.

Slacker

18 Jan

These past few weeks have been odd, my life is always odd so I didn’t think much of it.  Then again I am constantly over analyzing so when I didn’t feel an ounce of tiredness at 4 am on Thursday night/Friday morning I thought maybe I’m going back into a hypomanic or manic type episode.  My symptoms have been wacky lately with a disproportional “up” period and unusual properties of the voices and re-emergence of the self harm urges.  I think it may be the Effexor, I am rarely on 2 anti-depressants at a time.  The schizoaffective disorder bipolar type means I am on Lamictal (moodstabalizer for bipolar), Seroquel (anti-psychotic for schizo and has mood stabilizing properties), Desipramine (anti-depressant because I deal with depressive and mixed episodes most in the bipolar scheme) and other meds not related to that diagnosis.  In November because of a deep depression, Effexor was added to the drug cocktail and in December it was increased as I was still in the depths of the depression.  I am now wondering if the anti-depressant is triggering manic or hypomanic symptoms like it can do in people with bipolar disorder. So that’s why I’ve been slacking, trying to figure out this medication and symptom situation.  Hard to blog when you are running around and got a million ideas in your head, some will be finished today and posted.

 

Fellow Bloggers:

Anyone with bipolar disorder had a reaction with Effexor that induced manic or hypomanic symptoms?  Looking for feedback.

Living in my dichotomous world

18 Nov

People often speak of those with Borderline Personality Disorder as having all or nothing thinking or in terms of black and white. I do admit that aspects of my BPD do effect my dichotomy. However, part is just living with severe mental illnesses that have some symptoms that are almost opposites in themselves.
For example:

  • In the realm of personality disorders (avoidant and borderline) there is a fear of abandonment/rejection/criticism but still a desire to have close relationships. With the schizo part of schizoaffective I have a hard time understanding and deciphering social situations, my schizo doesn’t particularly like or need people (in a socializing sense.)
  • Living with psychosis and that world while still inhabiting the “real world.”
  • Living with people who neglected you as a child but you still must see as parents.
  • Bipolar moods.
  • The age you are on the outside and the age you feel on the inside.

Personality Disorders and Interpersonal Relationships

13 Sep

I’m going to focus on Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD) specifically and by interpersonal relationships that can be with family, friends, co-workers, romantic, etc…

Interpersonal relationships are challenging for a lot of people, and even “well adjusted” people have conflicts arise in interpersonal relationships.  Those with personality disorders are said to have certain traits or characteristics that show up consistently and across the board in people’s lives.  This means that in the case of BPD, your idealizing and then devaluing of a relationship is not regarding one relationship or only in the romantic realm, it means you may have the same behavior with friendships, supervisors, family, anyone in an interpersonal relationship.  And no it doesn’t mean every relationship is like that.  In the case of AvPD it doesn’t mean you are just worried about negative evaluation at work or school, it could be from friends, family, romantic relationships, again just about any interpersonal relationship.  In the case of AvPD, it seems that the relationships are effected across the board and just about every one because this personality disorder mostly focuses on relationships.  And also by the way the beginning criteria of almost every personality disorder is: “A pervasive pattern” and ends with “present in a variety of contexts” with the exception of Anitsocial Personality Disorder and Paranoid Personality Disorder.

Lets look at some of the criteria points for BPD:

  • “Pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships” this phrase is actually in the description of the personality disorder and is not one of the criteria.  Meaning that this is a required characteristic in the diagnosis of BPD.  While someone might not meet the criteria point of “alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation” they will have unstable interpersonal relationships in some form.  That is why some of the criteria may not be directly related to interpersonal relationships but it definitely has an impact on interpersonal relationships.
  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.  When you are afraid that someone will abandon you, you are going to behave differently.  Some people make accusations about the perceived abandonment.  Some people act needy so the person will not abandon them, maybe giving off the image that they can’t take care of themselves.  Some people will sabotage or destroy relationships, so I will leave you before you can leave me.
  • Alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.  This is confusing both for the person you are idealizing/devaluing and for yourself, not to mention the relationship in general.  A more simple explanation of idealization and devaluation, is thinking someone is the best person in the world, your hero, the best thing that ever happen to you, perfect, putting someone on a pedestal (idealizing) and then thinking they are the worst person in the world, a bad seed, hating them, they have so many flaws you can’t overlook, all they do is bring bad into your life (devaluing.)  People who meet this characteristic alternate between the two and sometimes very rapidly.  One moment your boyfriend is your soul mate and the next he’s an asshole.  The people in these relationships get confused they don’t understand the sudden change in perception and what they did to cause it.  Few people will stay on a roller coaster ride emotional relationship and that’s if you act on these feelings.  If you just keep them in your head because you are afraid of them abandoning you then they just eat at you until you end the relationship.
  • Affective instability. Affective instability means mood swings and it usually refers to ones that are rapid and often at polar extremes.  This also can create problems in relationships.  One moment you’re happy and all for going out and the next moment you are sad and don’t want to go anymore.  I’ve had to cancel many events because of a change in mood.  It’s hard to have relationships with people with erratic moods, also the moods of BPD people tend to be more intense.
  • Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats or self-injuring behavior.  This stuff scares most people.  People generally do not want to talk about suicidal anything, it is uncomfortable and people don’t know how to react.  Threats can make people feel guilty or responsible when and if you follow through.  Sometimes people stay in relationships with people who have BPD, simply because you are scared of their behavior if you were to leave.
  • Unstable self-image or sense of self.  Some people like those who have BPD that have this criteria because with having and unstable self-image or sense of self people so they act like chameleons.  Which means they like what you like, they have the same values you have, same interests, etc.  It is more problematic for the person who has then unstable sense of identity.  Although some people may get frustrated when they see their friend act like someone else when they are with that person.  Also some people get frustrated because it seems like the person doesn’t believe in anything has no set values or morals.

Lets look at some of the criteria points for AvPD:

  • “Pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation.”  this phrase is actually in the description of the personality disorder and is not one of the criteria.  AvPD is primarily a personality disorder about relationships, almost all the criteria are about avoiding different types of interpersonal relationships because of feelings of inadequacy and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation such as criticism or judgment.  I have included every single criteria for this disorder other than one so you can really see how it relates to interpersonal relationships.
  • Avoids occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact, because of fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection.  This is one reason I have only had one job and would only interact with the kids and not the parents unless absolutely necessary.
  • Is unwilling to get involved with people unless certain of being liked.  I hate group projects and usually let the people come to me.  I’m super sensitive about wanting people to like me.  I’ve had this issue in real life and the blogging world, where I freak out if I think people don’t like me anymore.
  • Shows restraint within intimate relationships because of the fear of being shamed or ridiculed.  This manifests in me about not wanting to talk about my mental illnesses because of shame.  My mental illnesses are a big part of my life so it’s difficult to hide, I also don’t talk about sexuality either.
  • Is preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in social situations.  This is where I am constantly evaluating what I said and what I did and figuring out if it was “right.”  I do this both when being involved with the person and afterward when I’m on my own.  A lot of over analyzing and picking apart every little aspect of an interaction.
  • Is inhibited in new interpersonal situations because of feelings of inadequacy.  This is similar to showing restraint within intimate relationships because of the fear of being shamed or ridiculed.  When you feel inadequate you act inadequate.
  • Is unusually reluctant to take personal risks or to engage in any new activities because they may prove embarrassing.  I like to stick with what I know I’m good at so I don’t feel embarrassed, this means taking classes I’m good at and refraining from being involved in things I have no talent in like sports.  You could add in the fact that I only had one job into this category as well.

Most of my problems in relationships have to do with the fear/preoccupation of being abandoned, rejected, or criticized.  I also am super sensitive in my moods as well as self-esteem and self-image.  Every time I have to have a relationship interaction all these things so through my mind.  It is exhausting and this is one reason why I have very few interpersonal relationships.

Protected: Internal struggles: Panic, body reactions, and peace of mind

6 Sep

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Past few weeks

5 Sep

These past few weeks have been bad.  Not bad in a depressing sort of down all the time bad, but bad as in bouncing up and down and feeling out of control.  I hate being depressed but I hate more not feeling in control, not feeling stable but afraid to do something about it.

I had the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon last weekend and I was determined to make it to it no matter all the stuff I was going through.  I’ve been in tears way more than usual lately and a few times hysterical.  I am usually pretty control in how my emotions show.  If I am crying, I do it when alone and no one knows about it and it doesn’t happen a lot.  There was the situation with my math teacher telling me not to take the class that got me all emotional.  A few situations with my sister.  One day when everything seemed to be going wrong and as the kicker my dad accidentally rolled the electric window up while my index finger was in it.  I have a high pain tolerance and usually would have just held it in, but it was one of those situation where it was the last straw.  I almost started crying while doing the Disney 1/2 Marathon when I didn’t think I was going to finish in time.

I have been angrier than usual, or maybe just more in touch with my anger.  Multiple things have been irritating me, silly things, and other things that I usually can put up with.  Mostly family interactions, too much awareness of needing to get out of this situation.  People being insensitive.  People not responding to comments, messages, e-mails, texts, etc (this may have more to do with abandonment/rejection issues) but usually it makes me sad and anxious rather than angry, irritated, or annoyed.  I’ve also been irritated by the fact that when I try to work on issues something happens with me that makes it get put on hold, I wrote a post about this the other day.  Annoyance during Intro to DBT.  People telling me that situations were good opportunities to practice my skills.hospi

Of course there has been the paranoia which also had it’s own post.  I’ve also been dealing with the voices on and off, though they haven’t been as incapacitating as they can be.

My thoughts have been alternating between racing and feeling like my head is vibrating inside, like earlier today; or the cloudy can’t process things feeling like last night at Intro to DBT.  I was trying to write some thoughts that came to me and mid sentence I would forget what I wanted to write.

I withdraw and won’t talk or won’t shut up.  I was hurt on the car ride home from Disneyland when my brother-in-law said something about me and my sister talking too much.  I actually (impulsively) said that it’s either this or not talk at all and be depressed, and said something about how I’m bouncing all over the place and I don’t like it either.

I have some things I should probably mention to my case manager on Friday in addition to all the other “signs and symptoms” I have written here, but I’m afraid if I do she will hospitalize me.  I hate lying and I could try to just convince myself it would be better just not to mention it but in a sense that is dishonesty too.  It’s only been 2 weeks of school and I really don’t want to be hospitalized this early on but I also don’t know how much longer I can deal with this bouncing and if no one knows the only way it will get better if it cycles it’self out.  I might need a medicine adjustment.

 

What would you do? Stigma and Specific Mental Illnesses Part 3

20 Aug

Part 3: Myself, Stigma, and Certain Mental Illnesses

My two prior parts to this series focused on how crime and celebrities influence American’s perceptions of specific mental illnesses.

I don’t think anyone would chose to have a mental illness.  But if you had to have one and got to pick it out, what would you do?  Why would you pick that specific diagnosis?  If you are a person already living with a mental illness, would you chose your own or a different illness?  Why?

There is stigma attached to mental illness, I don’t care which one there is.  People are making efforts to reduce the stigma of mental illness by awareness and telling their stories.  Mental health blogging, media attempts in the UK, billboard adds in my state/city, videos posted on youtube, conferences, support groups, education in some form (whether to schools, law enforcement, providers, etc.)  A lot more people are “coming out” about their mental illness than in the past.  But there is still stigma, judgment, and even discrimination.

Even more so it depends on what mental illness you have.  Some illnesses have more negative stigma attached to them: schizophrenia and psychotic disorders, autism, sometimes bipolar disorder, and personality disorders.  Others have a more acceptable nature to them: depression, sometimes bipolar disorder, and OCD.  Of course there are many more mental illnesses than these and people’s perceptions change depending on how your symptoms present themselves.  I investigated how some of these stereotypes and stigma have been created and reinforced by the media through crime and celebrities.

Now, I want to tell you about the stigma that comes with my disorders and how I think about it.  I have schizoaffective disorder and borderline personality disorder (BPD), along with symptoms of many other illnesses that I am not formally diagnosed with.  Both schizoaffective disorder and BPD have a lot of stigma attached to them.

With schizoaffective disorder, most people do not know what it is or are familiar with it.  Heck, I hadn’t even heard of it until I was diagnosed with it myself.  My explanation is usually “it is a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.”  The reactions I get vary from awkward silence to “no that can’t be you, you look too normal.”  I have people who avoid me after learning my disorder and some who are rather inquisitive.  A common question is “do you hear voices?”  As I have mentioned before I really like kids and have worked with them in a variety of settings.  I have NEVER mentioned my psychotic symptoms to employers, co-workers or co-volunteers, or the parents of the children I have taught and looked after.  People perceive those with psychosis to be dangerous and not able to look after themselves.  In most people’s minds and experience there is nothing that “normal” people experience to compare to psychosis.  It is not something they can relate to themselves and therefore is scary and grossly misunderstood.

The bipolar tends to be a lot more accepted, most people know what it is and it doesn’t have as much stigma attached.  Celebrities with bipolar disorder have some what normalized the condition and the increasing rates of diagnosis makes it very likely that they know someone who is effected by it.  The mood symptoms are by far, the most recognized and easy to relate to.  Though people often minimize bipolar symptoms when they try to relate it to themselves; but it is my opinion that they are trying to help or take a positive approach to it.

With BPD I have a much harder time.  BPD is a term known more than schizoaffective but less understood and contains MANY more stereotypes.  Other than mental health professionals and family I have only told 2 other people by diagnosis of BPD.  BPD has a lot of stigma because of the symptoms and the fact that many people do not see it as a brain disorder.  The main “stigma” causing criteria are:

  • A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation,
  • Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats or self-injuring behavior such as cutting, interfering with the healing of scars (excoriation) or picking at oneself.
  • Inappropriate anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).
  • Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).

People do not want to be friends or partners with people who have “a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships.”  Word gets around quick and after the ending of an interpersonal relationship (friend, co-worker, partner) there is usually a consensus that you were the cause and that people should stay away from you.  The internet is full of stories of people who knew someone with BPD and all the terrible things that person went through because of them.  Living with BPD it is extremely hard to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships.

Not very many people understand suicidal behavior, unless you have been there it is hard to comprehend.  People get nervous when you mention it.  Others think your behavior is attention seeking and manipulative.  People will get “feed up” with the “recurrent” aspect of it.  Although suicidal behavior is hard to understand in any situation, when it was a one time thing and the reasons leading up to it seemed to semi make sense people can live with that.  You were in a tough place, you did something extreme, you learned from it, that’s it.  Some insensitive people actually believe that people with this behavior should die, that they are just taking up resources, and aren’t going to get better anyways.

Anger, the hallmark of BPD.  I can’t think of a single other mental illness that pops into my mind when someone says anger issues– maybe oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) but that is a childhood mental illness so I couldn’t have that.  When people say sadness, there are ideas of different degrees of depression, maybe grief, a stressful event.  When people say lots of energy, there is mania/hypomania or ADHD.  Obsessive behavior could be OCD, maybe autism or an autistic spectrum disorder.  Anxiety could be related to depression, social anxiety, phobias, or stressful events.  And all these symptoms I just mentioned tend to have an impact that often doesn’t effect others.  When people get angry and have “difficulty controlling anger” it is often directed at someone.  The anger is also often seen as irrational or much more intense than the situation called for, “inappropriate ”

Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood, which just means quick intense mood swings.  Sometimes they last minutes or hours and rarely more than a couple days.  The problem with the mood swings coming so fast is that people can’t predict your mood or behavior.  One moment you are screaming at someone and a second later you are crying.  When you throw it into the first criteria of relationships that I mentioned it gets even more tricky.  You hate someone you are accusing them of cheating on you and then less than an hour later you love them so much and they are the best thing that happened in your life, and maybe you should get married.

As I mentioned earlier I have only told 2 people other than family and mental health professionals about my BPD diagnosis.  I also had to explain in depth what it is, why I act the way that I do, and that I don’t fit many of the stereotypes and was not someone to avoid or a helpless cause.  Of course, this is outside the blogging world.  I know I have BPD and also that many of my behaviors and symptoms have greatly improved over the years.  I have not self harmed in over 8 months.  I’m trying to cope with my anger is more healthy ways than turning it inward or self harming.  I have learned skills and take medication that helps with the mood swings.  My relationships still need work, and one reason is that I don’t have many because of anxiety and rejection/abandonment fears.  I do sometimes ask other people’s opinions when I have a difficulty in a relationship, to see it from another point of view that is removed from the situation.  I still have symptoms and also have all the past behavior that I can’t make magically go away.  I have been manipulative, I have had anger outbursts, done impulsive things, and more behavior I am not proud of.  BPD is a personality disorder and many people see it as a flaw in character, that is their personality and they aren’t going to change.  They have acted like that way in the past, why would they not repeat it in the future.  There is little sympathy and much judgment when dealing with BPD, and yes I often feel shame and embarrassment regarding it and am not comfortable letting people know I suffer from it.  I am better at the stigma I direct at myself, I understand the illness and know my progress.  I don’t see it as character flaws but am too fearful that other do to be out and open about it.

Many people know about my mood instability, in the form of bipolar type symptoms.  I struggle more so with depression and people are understanding and often are willing to make accommodations for me.  As I mentioned before, people can relate to it on some level.  I many times don’t say exactly that I have bipolar disorder but more often the symptoms and that I struggle with depression.  When I am hospitalized I often need to explain to college professors why I was gone… no matter the reason I explain that I have schizoaffective disorder and then explain what it is.  The reason I do this is because most people do not see bipolar disorder as that big of a deal, people have it and they control their lives pretty well.  They may be annoying with their talkativeness and excessive energy but it’s often not seen in extremes.  The same with depression, if I mention that aspect the automatic assumption is you were suicidal or made a suicide attempt and that’s why you were in the hospital.  Then come the questions of why, the pity, and sometimes advice/pep talks that just make matters worse.  When I explain I also have psychotic symptoms, I can write off my hospitalization being due to voices.  Most people are too afraid to ask more specifics about the voices and consider it to be impairing and “worthy” of hospitalization.  When I was first diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder I was crushed, it is a chronic and sometimes degenerative disorder, it can be managed by medication but still wreaks havoc on my life.  I do let people know I have the disorder when it needs to be done, and only after proving myself to be a good person.  I need to prove that I don’t meet the stereotype and not have people judging me or assuming by abilities based on a label.  Most people are puzzled when I say I have schizoaffective disorder but I have proved myself prior so usually their perceptions of me don’t change.

Interestingly, I am much more accepting of my BPD diagnosis though I don’t want others to know I have it.  I have a hard time accepting the schizoaffective disorder and will often stigmatize myself when thinking what I can and can’t accomplish because of this illness.  Who I am and who I will always be, but I am more comfortable explaining that as my diagnosis then the BPD.  It’s frustrating having two stigmatized illnesses and if I had to pick a mental illness, I would probably not pick either of these.  I feel like it is easier to admit to others that I have schizoaffective disorder and to admit to myself that I have BPD.  I hope at one point I can feel comfortable admitting to myself and others that I have both illnesses, but neither define who I am.

Stigma and Specific Mental Illnesses Part 1

Stigma and Specific Mental Illnesses Part 2