It was asked in a comment on yesterday’s post if my depression cycles with periods of manic behavior (evidently yesterday’s post hinted at that possibility). And the answer is yes. It was actually suggested, in college, that I have Bipolar II disorder but I haven’t carried that diagnosis with me (my own personal choice, not the medical establishment’s). The truth is–at the time–I thought it was kind of a bullshit diagnosis. I know I do not have Bipolar Disorder (also called Manic Depression) and being diagnosed with some kind of tamer version of that seemed, I don’t know, disingenuous. So I called bullshit. Also, the diagnosis was relatively new at the time, and the treatment for it was almost identical to the common treatments for depression (SSRIs, which is very different from the treatments for manic depression, which are incredibly severe in their side effects) so it didn’t seem that important to pursue it.
So I kind of let that diagnosis fall by the wayside and eventually accepted that I probably did at least suffer from general depression. I found that a combination of SSRIs and therapy helped me and I stuck with some combination of that through most of my adult life.
But the truth is, my depression does cycle through lows and highs. None of them are as intense, or as long lasting and potentially dangerous as the lows and highs experienced by those who suffer from bipolar/manic depression, but they are noticeable none the less. These periods of deep depression, followed by slightly manic periods of intense exaggerated energy and focus, are something I’ve learned to live with. The highs leaving me feeling almost invincible, the lows are like the price I have to pay for those highs.
Now it should be said that the highs are not always apparent in my depressive episodes. Sometimes I have them and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes my depression lasts for days or weeks or even months without giving way to a high. Sometimes, when things are really stressful, I can ride a high for an entire month.
Today, at therapy, I talked a lot about whether I should go on at SSRI. After a long and thoughtful discussion I decided that right now I’m going to focus on other avenues of treatment, mainly mindfulness based stress reduction. Hopefully that will be enough to pull me through the coming months of TTC and school. If it’s not enough, I’ll start taking a pregnancy safe medication.
So anyway, that is the story of my crazy post last night. I hope I didn’t scare anyone away with a display of my manic tendencies. I promise I’ll keep the crazy me under wraps from now on.