Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Zombie State is Other People's Normal

On Saturday, I received an email from a friend:

"Two people have emailed me to see if you are alright. How would I know? Hypomania is rocket fuel for your work."

My blog was no busier than usual that past week, save for an animated comment thread. Okay, let's make that a really really animated comment thread. My immediate reaction was a defensive one. There they go again, I thought. Pathologize my behavior. Attribute every action of mine to my illness. Most of you have been on the receiving end of this - show the slightest sign of life, dare to crack a joke and actually look happy, and it must be hypomania. Bipolars are as bad as the general population - worse, far worse - in this regard.

I once emailed a friend with news that I had won a major international award, and, without offering her congratulations or even acknowledging my achievement, she replied that it sounded like I was hypomanic and I needed to be careful.

What the ... ?

Then I had to laugh. All the week before, I had been down for the count with flu symptoms. I had been sleeping 16 hours a day. I would emerge from the blankets only to walk about with the feeling of the inside of my head wrapped inside these very same blankets. I had no energy, I felt like someone three times my age, and my mood was in a slow glide south.

Trust me, had they been auditioning for a remake of Night of the Living Dead, I would have received a call-back for the lead zombie role. Yet, somehow, I had managed to crawl to the computer and crank out my standard quota of blog pieces (two involving the intricacies of diagnostic psychiatry), plus fire off a long round of zinger comments.

What gives? Yesterday, while out on a country walk (with a clear head!), I got thinking about my friend's email. It's easy, of course, to get a totally wrong impression when there is no face-to-face contact. But I could recollect no shortage of real life Twilight Zone experiences dating from way back.

For instance, in my college dorm room 40 years ago - again in a flu-induced zombie state - I responded to someone with a lame comment and the whole room cracked up. I got off a repeat rimshot-worthy one-liner, then another one. I was death warmed-over, but to the people in the room I was Don Rickles.

Twelve or thirteen years later - same state of zombie-hood - I was the steady hand who calmed down a room of anxious individuals. I could go on and on. Sometimes it's the flu. Sometimes it's depression. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, my head is not attached to the rest of my body. There are no guarantees. Often, when I feel out of it, I am really truly, totally utterly, out of it.

On the reverse side of the coin, when I am feeling on my game - that is when I need to watch myself. Frequently, I find myself looking at a sea of perplexed faces. And heaven help if I know I'm off my game and my anxiety takes over. You know those Southwest Airline ads: "Need to get away?"

Anyway, here I was, taking my walk, gazing out into the mountains, when it suddenly hit me in a flash:

My zombie state is the equivalent of other people's normal!

If I could only be a zombie, I could lead a normal life. Here's how it works:

Like a lot of you, I experience racing thoughts. Think of my brain as the UN General Assembly with an angry Khrushchev on every seat yelling wildly and banging his shoe on the table. But the flu or a depression or some kind of brain fog shuts down all those Khrushchevs in my head. There are no distractions. I can focus on the task at hand. I appear sharp and to the point. Of all the crazy things, I give the impression that I'm operating on rocket fuel.

All those Khrushchevs are the equivalent of too much stuff coming in - too much thought, too much emotion, too much sensory input. Since I happen to work in a field that places a high premium on creativity and intuition, I tend to regard this as a good thing. I need those Khrushchevs. They work for me, provided I can show them who's boss.

But too much of a good thing for me has a way of manifesting as bipolar or anxiety or panic or just plain weirdness. This is the downside of Khrushchev. Every once in a while, things get out of hand. For others, these Khrushchevs may show up as ADD, schizophrenia, some forms of depression, or just simply strange or inappropriate behavior.

These days, I am fairly confident in matching the right Khrushchev to the right occasion, so that what comes out of my mouth doesn't embarrass me. Far from it. These days, I actually get invited to places. Back in the old days, I could be counted on to pick the wrong Khrushchev, generally a strange weird specimen that had people backing slowly toward the exits.

What has changed over the years is that I have slowly learned to read subtle social cues and modify my behavior accordingly. I suspect this is true for most of you. These days, I feel fairly confident walking out the door. Back in the old days, I didn't risk it. I stayed indoors and isolated, which, of course, made me fair game for crushing depressions.

It's a strange world when showing up as a zombie shrouded in a protective depression is the state most likely to create the best impression for me. But when I'm feeling good, I often lack insight to know that I'm feeling too good for my own good. That's why I need to watch myself, and - more important - watch others.

"Knowing thyself" is central to "Knowledge is Necessity." Only through long introspection do we find answers and learn to ask the right questions. Consider this blog piece a long and involved question to all of you. I'm very interested in your answers. Please fire away by going to the comments below ...


Anonymous said...

At the age of 53 I am 4 years post-diagnosis as BP 1. I didn't believe it. Bipolar? Not me. I was never manic or hypomanic I said.

It has taken 2 years but I am finally getting something close to appropriate treatment. It has been a huge struggle and my ultra-rapid extremes have been reduced from +/- 10 to +/- 7 on my current medications. I don't have much faith that we will ever find the "right" combo of meds for me. I do have faith that I am often able to act close enough to normal to pass because depressed is where I dwell most of the time.

I have no idea what "normal" really feels like and I don't think I ever will. I am slowly learning to recognize when I am hypomanic (depression is easy what with the suicidal thoughts and self-injurious obsessions). This new knowledge has led to a stream of insights about my past. Each day I seem to have a new light bulb moment. I was hypomanic or manic then and then and then...

I feel uneasy in every social situation now. I don't trust any of my perceptions or impulses when I am feeling good. Reading subtle social cues is not that hard - but being able to act on that knowledge is another thing entirely when I am hypomanic let alone manic.

I can tell when I am making people uneasy. What I usually can't do is change the behavior that is making them edge toward the door. Sitting in an OB-gyn appointment 3 weeks ago I cracked stupid jokes, interrupted the doctor repeatedly and giggled incessantly. Could I stop myself? No. Could I escape? No. Do I remember my doctor's instructions accurately? No. Did I know I was hypomanic before I got into the appointment? NO.

I had just seen my psychiatrist that morning and told her I thought I was doing better - no severe depression and no hypomania. Reality is that by the time I recognize incipient mania it is already too late.

I agree with you about depression. When I am experiencing a mild to moderate depression I can pass as normal almost without thought. I do not feel normal on the inside of course, but I am not terribly worried that other people will think I am strange. It's the mania that betrays me as different.

And now I am watching my 13 year old son, recently diagnosed bipolar 1, being engulfed by this disease. Seeing how easily and quickly he slips between depression, mania and mixed moods has led to many more light bulb moments for me.

Watching him hold it together at school - when he spends his afternoons and evenings living extremes of rage and joy - is both reassuring and scary. Being able to pass is a double edged sword.

His teachers think I am a drama queen when I tell them he is bipolar. He is scattered and doesn't always follow what's going on but he's not "crazy" when he's at school. He's industrious and tries hard and "looks" just like dozens of other kids who are anxious to please.

When I tell them I called the cops twice in the past 4 days and the last time it was because he tried to beat me with a 3' length of pipe after I told him he was agitated and couldn't play an agitating video game they are incredulous.

Their inability to recognize or believe in his diagnosis is a terrible trap. One I have been living in for many years. This has accelerated those light bulb moments for me. How can I recognize danger if those around me cannot see it?

Yes indeed - feeling good is a bad sign. And I cannot tell you how deeply betrayed I feel that I can no longer rejoice when those rare periods of feeling good come along.


East Bay Family Therapy said...

Very interesting thoughts, thanks for sharing and letting readers into this world. Many people don't understand these feelings and thoughts and I think you do a great job getting the message across.

John McManamy said...

Hi, Patricia. This is very perceptive. I learned an awful lot reading this. Many thanks for sharing your experiences and do continue to keep posting.

Willa Goodfellow said...

Once I said something about not wanting to appear psychotic. And my therapist asked, "Are you psychotic?" Thinking that maybe I was, I steered the conversation away from the topic. But later it occurred to me, How would I know?

Lately I have remembered when I wrote most of a first draft of a book in a week. My doctor asked, "Are you manic?" Of course not. I was just compelled to write the book.

Five years into the wrong meds, last week my wife was finally at an appointment with my psychiatrist and started identifying hypomanic behaviors. People with depression really should not be screened for bipolar without a family member present to provide the outside observation.

John McManamy said...

Hi, Willa. Absolutely. Patients need to be evaluated with a family member present. When I presented with depression there was no way my pdoc would have ever suspected my more buoyant behavior, nor was I in any shape to recall them. A lot of misdiagnosis - with the wrong meds - and a lot of suffering is the unfortunate result. I've got a dialogue going on HealthCentral's BipolarConnect on just this point. Thanks for reminding me of this. I'll summarize some of that conversation and blog about it here very soon.

Anonymous said...

Dead or Alive: Comments on the Bipolar Zombie Dilemma

I am close to the top of the list of untreatable Bipolar 1 rapid-cycling. Trust me, my Psychiatrist has tried everything, including the state-of-the-art combinations of anti-psychotics and anti-epileptics. And I have suffered beyond description, living with untreated clinical-want-to-die-daily-depression for eight – yes that is right – eight years. My Zombie years.

Suddenly, something has happened and I am physically, intellectually and mood stable, in fact I am very well, thank you!

But socially! From a person pre-diagnosis who had scads of friends and activities, always someone to coffee with, lunch with, dinner with, concert with.... I was popular and droll, class president twice in a row in High School, Student Council at University ...... you know leadership material - presenting scholarly papers in Europe and across North America to halls full of strangers was easy.

But now I am acutely lonely, an unwilling recluse.

It’s not me – really it is not! Time after time, people I can trust tell me that I come across in person as perfectly healthy and normal. I have a Psychiatrist friend who repeatedly comments that no one would ever know about the disease if I didn’t offer up that information. But my social life sucks. I have done everything I can to warm up old friendships and develop new ones, dashing off breezy and cheerful emails, invitations and catch-up news.

But to no avail. I have disappeared to them. In fact, I could count more than a hundred former friends who, frankly, do not know whether I am dead or alive. It is stigma pure and simple – that Psycho woman who has been in a Psycho ward.

Hoping this does not sound overly lame. But even my normally jovial and optimistic husband agrees, the world has dropped me.

Signed: An unwilling Zombie ready to resume my social life.

John McManamy said...

Hey, Unwilling Zombie. I hear you loud in clear. I can so relate to your comments, and I am sure a good many others do, too. Thanks you so much for shedding light on this.

I do strong encourage you to resume your social life. I suspect that in our Zombie depressed states we wrongly assume that the world has dropped us or how difficult it will be reconnecting to that world. Please, please, reach out.

To readers - please feel free to offer your insights ...

Anonymous said...

I recently have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and I am feeling like a zombie on the current meds I am on and my therapists tells me this is a good thing. I have lost my pizazz. Everything that my family and friends love me for, no longer exists. Did I mention I have gained 25 pounds in the last 6 months? I am totally identifying with everything on this site and am happy to have found it. I have thought or experienced almost everything I have read so far at this website. I am encouraged by the "running for my life " info-I need to incorporate vigorous excercise into my life maybe I will start to come alive again.
signed-another normal zombie

John McManamy said...

Hey, Anonymous. Very glad you're enjoying the site. It is never a good thing when you lose your pizazz. Clinicians are often stupid to this. It's one thing to get stabilized on heavy meds doses. Then you need to get your life back. Please don't feel afraid to seek out a doc who will work with you on this.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys (: Thank you all for all of the positive comments and insights! I know this doesn't mean anything......but, my feet stink.

Claud Chesterfield Sr.
The Netherlands

Anonymous said...

This post was attached to a wiki article somewhere in the mental health space around issues of depression, mania or something. PERFECT.

Thanks for being you and sharing your story and making space for others to share theirs.

Dealing with sorting out some of my own issues, history of depression, history of other diagnosis or sub-clinical behaviors that I'm trying to sort out, am I manic? am I narcisstic? am I dysthymic? am I dissocial? am I a secret passive-agressive?....when is it a problem that I work around the clock? when is it a problem that I have more energy than others? when am I unsafe to myself or unfair to others? is it really a problem that I don't suffer fools gladly and that I prefer to craft my own environment rather than being subject to the whims of other peoples' reality? and I histrionic? is my project partner? is the borderline attorney?

Today I got word that a partner in a project I've been working on for 6 years of sweat equity in an unfunded state has "fired me" just before we're about to get funding (via a very embarrassing public email triggered by what's turning out to be an attorney with clinical borderline chaotic personality disorder causing some drama, one, unfortunately, that I brought into the mix knowing he needed the work and we needed his skill set. I had no idea the level of his personality disorder, and am now a recipient of it. Lovely!).

I'm a little upset, exhausted, and now up in the middle of the night, sleepless, and yet not hyper-reacting: I'm trying to figure out a sane response to some fairly insane, unfair and untrue accusations....and have a huge amount of back-pay/project equity to protect. So haste does not behoove me. Witty retorts are not smart.

Instead I'm using this time to understand more about the attorney troublemaker that he is, my project partner, myself. I seem to have an extremely high tolerance for outrageous behavior, probably due to a lot of family chaos, alcoholism, eldest child stuff. Fine. My normal is other people's "get me the hell out of this crazy dynamic." I get that.

And I've made excuses for his behavior as the guy I work with is on the edge of genius. I guess I've looked at it as a part of the job description to be able to tolerate his unpredictable behavior, and is why I've lasted so long. However, attempts at public shaming via a bizarro email CC distribution list of an internal matter, claiming I'm "fired" makes him look like an ass, not me. Will we be able to patch things up? Only time will tell.

In meantime, am trying to be very Zen Corporate Strategist and take time to breathe, to evaluate, to research, to be introspective on it all. And do some personal mantras:

-It's all practice.

-We're only on the planet a few days anyway.

-It's all growth.

-Sometimes growth is painful.

-That's okay. It's still growth and growth is good.

LOVE your comment....nearly spit out my tea when I read it, about the "What the ????"
when you mentioned your award to your friend and she fired back that you must be manic.

I have had similar situations. Many of them.
All true. No puffing. Just accomplishments that others think aren't possible. And their passive aggressive attempts to slap me back into the little boxed version of me that makes them feel safe/accomplished in the world makes me sad, for their limited view of me makes me want to limit my amount of sharing with them, so they lose out knowing who I truly am.

F' 'em.

Thanks for having a's a great thing you're doing.

--WIKI Watcher, Self-Witnessing Intrepid Explorer and Zen Corporate Warrior---

Anonymous said...

Hey...i'm Cat, and the day b4 yesterday i took an OD :-/...I was admitted to the local hozzy, and then treated like a complete lepper, not even acknowledged for over 12 hours! no, really...not even asked if I want a glass of water! any way, i was seen by the psyc nurse b4 i left...and today I went to c my G.P who was 100% supportive :) he is phoning the local mental health pysc tmz...and he is confident I hav BP..i'm just hopeful for a diagnosis and some treatment...FINALLY! i don't know how many jobs i have walked out on, relationships too :( I gota lot of makin up to do xx Thanks for listening xxx Cat xxx

Anonymous said...

sigh, It's like we are all torn from the exact same cloth. That is one big ass dress!

I relate so much to almost everything on this site, the mania is fantastic, I am in love with the feeling. And my depression, aside from the attempts to slit my wrists or overly enjoy the shine of a gun, is pretty much along the same line of everyone else norm...How friggin boring! I hate going in that slow motion and thinking on the same planes of normal, boring people. And just to prove the lines of thinking are so off is a testimonial from Claud Chesterfield....his feet stink. Randomness is the epitome of the mania.

KAM said...

I was diagnosed with BP in December while suffering from yet another severe depression (4 major ones in 16 years). I am still depressed after 5 months and am so fed up with feeling like this, as anonymous says, I hate being in slow-mo and thinking like a 'normal' thick person. I want to work, create, party and enjoy the life I have struggled to build for myself and my family. As it is its all I can do to get my self out of bed in a morning and the hassle that is eminating from my kids schools because of my inability is only making matters worse. Yes I know I suck as a mum at the moment, but it is temporary and do they not realise that I already feel totally unworthy of the responibility of loving and being loved by 2 beautiful little people?

I am still waiting for my meds to be sorted out. I have been taking lithium since just before xmas but thats not suited me so I'm having to wean myself of it so my psych can try me on something else. But I can't help asking myself' is this it? is this all my life will be now; a continual swapping and changing of meds that only make me feel worse?'. The diagnosis itself didn't surprise me, I worked it out years ago, it was only this current crisis that made me seek help but I'm beginning to wish I hadn't bother, hadn't mentioned to my GP my manic phases and had a decent anti-depressant prescribed, yeah it would have made me switch, as they have done in the past, but i would be functioning, maybe not 'normally', but normally for me. And as my husband and kids said when I had a brief few hypomanic days back in November " can we keep this version of you, we like her"

Sorry for rambling, but reading all the other posts made me feel the need to vent some of this frustration somewhere where I'd be understood.


Anonymous said...

I don't have a lot to add, just that I really felt a spirit in all of the posts that resonates with me...
Yes, my normal is a zombie. I weigh 1000 pounds. I want to walk the dog, but after 3-4 attempts to go get her leash and telling myself "do things that you don't like... it will make you stronger, it won't be that bad.." only to not be able to move. I might have to talk to a neighbor, the dog might run into another dog and have a fight, I never know what will happen outside my front door, so it's so easy to convince myself to stay inside.
When there is need to go out, I put on my nice zombie face and I am fine. I am not sparkly or especially funny, but I can make rational and intelligent conversation, but, it's NOT me. I am funny, I am creative,
I even have a degree in ART, I am *supposed* to be creative, I have been all my life. Still, it's the BP diagnosis that took me from that real "neat" place where I had those neat ideas, was the life of the party, and the person people knew would make them laugh.
Now, I feel that laughing is so deep down, I only do it by mistake.
I liked the mania... I liked keeping my house spotless, but it also came with all the other insanity. LOTS of insanity mostly in the form of inappropriate behavior.
My choice is now to be that zombie, and try to be like normal people. Learn to live without my sparkle and maintaining to stay alive. I'm just so dull. Dull to be around, dull for even myself to be around. Blah, like chicken cooked in water... blah. Bland. Tasteless.
This week, I am going to add Abilify to my current cocktail, but I just get so TIRED of all the medication adjusting and sometimes, like everyone must sometimes feel, just want to stop it all.. (the meds)
I miss the old me. No one likes Zombies... I don't, especially when that zombie is me.

Anonymous said...

Boy, do I ever identify with the posts on this thread. Thanks so much, John, for bringing up the "normal Zombie" vs. the "depressed wit".

Like so many others, in my "normal" Zombie state, I can pass for at least some of the day, most days of the week. But if something interrupts my routine, forget it. Forget being able to pass, or even function -- confusion, scattered thinking, somatic slowdown. Nope, at those times, I don't go out, or even feel isolated.

Then, when whatever necessary time of fog clears, I feel that I wake up. I don't really know 'where' I've been, just that time has passed and I'm able to resume my limited routine, which is, as anonymous posted yesterday, Blah, Bland, Boring.

But it's better than being out of it in lost-land. I agree, I don't really care for myself as a Zombie. And I don't like devoting my life to strategies stabilizing myself to the half life of the Zombie. Hey, I was a university professor, a good one!

Now,I sleep or rest for about 14 hours a day. I have to be careful to avoid excess stimulation(seeing friends, taking on household tasks, trying to live 'normally'). But I'm thankful to be here.

And here may be as good as it gets. Nine years of this, seven past diagnosis as BP. The last four years or so, I've improved to the point that I am a Zombie... better than being a corpse. Which, without my family, I would have been in actuality.

Life really isn't so bad. I am creative, and able to express this in various ways. I do have friends that understand my illness. And, oh yes, there are times that I get hypomanic and have fun! Love it.

But your post has me thinking about the social cost of my fun states. Hmmm, maybe I too lack insight at those times. I'm terrible at reading social cues when I'm up, and I suspect that I have appeared giddy, weird, socially inept, etc. I have noticed a kind of coldness coming from people that I've had fun with. And that feeds into nasty ruminations, fodder for the greedy beast of depression.

But I'm not going to give up those fun times. And I probably won't be able -- or willing! -- to give up the mild hypomania that makes me feel alive.

You've given me insight, John, and you others that have commented. I'll work harder on watching the social cues when I'm up. So THANKS to all of you!

Anonymous said...

I am bipolar, 49 and recently diagnosed with ADHD. When I am in a manic state I get interested in making money. Sometimes I find an opportunity that I think I can make money at and I wonder if it actually brings on the manic state. It seems to me that the idea usually comes before the manic state. I have lost a around $15,000 dollars over the years to this. The ideas are actually decent ideas but I always go into it with zero planning - just jump in then go back into depression which is what I am in most of the time. I would like to know what other people do in their manic state. Please post some examples. Thanks

Anonymous said...

A recent realization is that our ability to choose our friends is powerful. I have a tendency to avoid people who have similar interests as me or embody what I'd like to be (or think I could be if I were "okay") because I am afraid I won't be good enough for them or that if I share my internal world with them they will judge me and disappear from my life. But, those same people are the ones that are good for me - because they are the representation of what I believe is my best self - the self I am working hard to express. I feel that it is important for me (and others with mental illness) to feel confident about ourselves and our lives, accept the imperfections, and put ourselves in the presence of people we respect who are grounded, calm, and intuitive. Most of my inappropriate behavior is in the presence of people who I have sought out as friends but for the wrong reasons; who, at the end of the day, I don't really like. It sounds silly, but I think we all recognize that if we spend too much time with people who rub us the wrong way, we will have behavioral issues. Life is all about choices, and for those who are sensitive, it is exceptionally important to choose with care.

So, my next task is to start becoming more aware of those situations that provoke sensitivities in me and find tools to handle them appropriately. At the moment, it means withdrawing and isolating myself. I know that is not the ultimate solution, and in many ways is dangerous. But, as long as I use that time wisely to reflect and prepare for those stressful situations, it is okay. The task of increasing awareness and "matching the right Khrushchev to the right occasion" is work and will be a lifetime challenge. But, work translates to reward, and we are all capable of finding the right balance for ourselves and a better future. There will always be fluctuations in mood and behavior, positive and negative experiences, but we must treat ourselves with care and believe in the work that will improve tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so I am really happy I found this blog. I was recently dx with Bipolar II although my recent feelings and behaviors (and probably past) seem a little more like Bipolar I. The present issues seem to be situational because I have been thrown into a torrent of personal life issues that on the surface seem unprovoked by me - mostly unexpected health problems of myself and immediate family, on top of an intense graduate program and financial challenges.

Regardless of the dx, the real work is being aware of oneself and taking conscious steps to change (or perhaps the better word is control) it. What really gets me is the behavioral issues, which have been more and more obvious (to me and others). I think in my twenties I was able to hide it - function well day to day at work and then deal with or allow the issues to be as they are in my private time. However, close to my 32nd birthday, I feel less and less able to "match the right Khrushchev to the right occasion." I blame this on age, situation, and the attempt to embrace my feelings as they are.

There is an element of being "older" and more mature and feeling as if I finally have the experience and education to be more self confident and speak what I feel -- but it is not always appropriate. Add to that more years of suffering that you reflect on within the context of your DSM diagnosis, obsessing about that suffering (self/illness-inflicted or not) and feeling like there will certainly be more. Add to that situations with "normal" people who all have their hang-ups, insecurities and odd behavior that for some reason irritates me more and more. I might be feeling this way because I am in a stressful, incestuous graduate program with 45 classmates who are mostly under the age of 25....aha, when I put it that way it makes a lot of sense. But, regardless of the situation, I feel that is is important for me to develop skills by which I can take control of my behavior so that I don't have to be so engulfed by guilt after I do something inappropriate.

Anonymous said...

"What has changed over the years is that I have slowly learned to read subtle social cues and modify my behavior accordingly. I suspect this is true for most of you. These days, I feel fairly confident walking out the door. Back in the old days, I didn't risk it. I stayed indoors and isolated, which, of course, made me fair game for crushing depressions."...These comments just about sum it up for me. I enjoy your blog so much! Following a "spiritual path" in fellowship with those in A.A. as well as a personal relationship with God, has taught me very clearly, that I am not defective. Most people are sensitive and a lot self medicate to dull their pain, before realizing (hopefully) that accepting their feelings leads to freedom (that includes melancholy and grandiosity!) and acceptance and nonjudgment of others and ourselves is always brings peace. Being young with Bipolar- and not receiving the medication I needed in order to lead a full life- confused me- leading to self hatred and depression. After getting help for my alcohol abuse (my self prescribed meds!) I realized I had this mental illness too. I have found that a spiritual answer is a necessity for most people to lead deeply fulfilling lives- not just people with our illness! By practicing the principles of A.A., meditating and praying daily- as well as serving and sponsoring others with addictions and mental illness, I have found the freedom and peace I've craved my whole life (I'm going 17 years strong in A.A. and 5 years strong on bipolar meds). Thanks for writing about our misunderstood illness that many see as a death sentence. Perspective is key to anything and your blog clearly shows your positive perspective on our illness. Thank you! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I've been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, but after a very sudden switch to feeling good, almost euphoric, I'm beginning to think I'm bipolar. I was hospitalized a few yrs. ago for suicide ideation and put on Cymbalta, which "cured" the depression in 2 days. I am searching now for a psychiatrist to treat me. The meds don't seem to be working anymore. Any advice?