Saturday, August 23, 2008

Rethinking Wednesday's Session

I am not sure what was up with me Wednesday. I entered my session feeling despondent and down about not being able to hang onto the feelings I had a few days prior about being ABLE to change my life, being EXHORTED by my dream to change my life, feeling SURE the switch had finally flipped and I was magically better.

I recognize today, there is no "switch" is more like a light dimmer that I need to turn up very slowly to bring more light into my life. The switch is what I don't want or need. It represents the endless cycling mood states I need to get out of.

I was rereading some of my posts, and I recognize that I do have a lot of cycling to my moods. I also understand what Dr. X. meant on Wednesday when he said he worries my higher moods, in conjunction with less sleep, might be unsustainable. I see it, but I wish they were sustainable. Problem is the higher I go, the more likely I am to crash afterwards.

I also see that when my mood is high, it is generally not a bad thing...I don't go off and buy houses, or gamble my life savings away, or cheat on my husband, or do anything that is potentially harmful to me or anyone else.

In fact, that state is a state of freedom for me; freedom from social anxiety, depression, anger, freedom from all the symptoms that haunt me when I am depressed. I also do not lose my insight into my mood state. I can tell when my mood is high. My high mood is really high, but not pathological in any way.

I don't know what it is, but I am often afraid people are lying to me, or hiding things from, or keeping things from me, or spying on me, or have some secret agenda that they don't want me to know about. I think my concerns about my "real" diagnosis being withheld from me fall into that category.

Dr. X. has told me there is a "bipolarity" to my depression. We have also talked about the tendencies in my family, especially on my paternal side, towards hyperthymic temperaments; how my well might be higher than many people's well. It really does describe me perfectly.

I think I was being weird when I got all concerned about having bipolar disorder and not being told about it. Part of my worry stems from the fact that my cousin has Bipolar Disorder, and though undiagnosed, my Uncle had all the symptoms of it as well.

So I worry I am headed that way. The only way I can see it sometimes becomes a problem is for others in my way when I am really hyper. I know I sometimes overwhelm others. Also, I do worry that my high mood will become so high I won't be able to control myself. I think that worry stems from some of the wild, and stupid things I did when I was younger when I was high.

When high I absolutely could not say no to anything...which frightens me now. What if I go high and cheat on my husband, or cannot control my sexuality, or take off with some stranger. I did do those things when high before. I worry I am capable of that again.

Why does it really matter to me one way or the other. If my treatments are helping me, if the mood stabilizers have slowed the cycling (or at least made it less drastic), if I have a really great therapeutic alliance with Dr. X. who really cares what my diagnosis is. Plus, why would Dr. X. not tell me the truth? In my experience he has always been forthright, open and honest about everything during my treatment.

I think part of the difficulty is that I see things in black and white. Grey areas are difficult for me to understand, to conceptualize. I am the product of a very black and white upbringing. My home was very top down authoritarian. My Dad being a policemen lived by very strict rules/laws. I like to think I am open minded and able to understand life is not so simplistic, but some of my belief systems are so hard wired in me it is difficult to change, grow, and understand concepts that sit outside of strictly laid out guidelines and rules.

It is really funny though:

...what I love most about my therapy with Dr. X, and Dr. X. himself, is his refusal to see things from a dogmatic perspective. I love that he challenges the status quo. He feels like the perfect role model for me; the person who is best able to challenge my strict adherence to rules, the person most capable of helping me learn to both see, and accept that life, like a beautiful drawing, is full of many, many shades of grey.


The Silent Voices in my Mind said...

There's a lot of meat to this post! I'm not sure what to comment on first. I'm really glad that your pdoc can provide the stability and positive example that is so helpful to you.

That's so true about the light switch and shades of gray. It's hard to find that middle ground sometimes, especially when we don't know it's there.

One of the problems with depression, especially the treatment resistent kind, is its ability to make me question who I am, who I would be without it. It sounds like you have some of that too. I hope you find the bubbly you and a way to hold on to just the right amount of it.

Michelle said...

I often think that my "highs" are what non depresed people feel as normal. Like you I don't go and do irrational things, but I do feel like I am living which at times feels like an extreme to me.

Finding out who we are in the balance can be tricky but for me at least sometimes it is easier to figure out when I experience it after all of my analzying it.

Anonymous said...

Great articulation of your symptoms and feelings in this post. I understand the state of freedom. I might share those words with my therapist and pdoc. Shades of gray...difficult. All or nothing thing is so hard to break out of, but what a perfect person to be paired with in Dr. X to help bring you into the balance of gray.

Keep writing...Kara

Polar Bear said...

I tend to see things in black and white too. Very difficult to see the shades of grey as you say. V and I talked about this one time, and she said she didn't want me to just see things in shades of grey either, but wanted me to see the whole variety of rainbow colours.

It's tough thing to do though, when you have been brought up in a very black and white household. It IS possible though, through re learning - and it sounds as if the relationship you have with Dr X is helping in that respect.

Aqua said...

SV: Thanks...I agree that chronic depression takes a toll on knowing who you are. Perhaps I shoot to high becasue I try so ahrd to get out of the depression and when a chance comes I "oversoot" the target.

Michelle: I am pretty sure my highs are higher than non-depresse people's "normal". I almost always receive feedback about my over enthusiasm when I am high. I absolutely agree finding the balance is the tricky part.

Kara: Thanks for you comments. I think in a million ways I just happened to get the pdoc I needed when I needed him. In many ways we are so opposite, yet I think he really is able to understand me, and the things we are different in I really value and need more of in my life. I just need lots of practice getting there.

Polar Bear: I absolutely LOVE what V said about wanting you to see the whole variety of rainbow colours. That is what I will strive for too. Thanks for sharing that.