Mental Health and Unintended Consequences

I took the last month and a half off of blogging. Sorry about that, but I really needed the time to myself. There were some school-related reasons, and some familial reasons as well. But the main reason for me was that I seriously needed time to myself, to mentally work on my own mental health and to really work on making myself healthy and happier. After all, even though I’ve been on medication for my conditions for quite a few months, I had one that was a bit more difficult to deal with, and I had some major flare-ups of tension and stress this last month. So I took some time off to take care of myself and just focus on getting myself back into a healthy mindset.

See, I was diagnosed with Bipolar II and OCD quite a few months ago.

OCD is pretty easy to explain, after all, it’s been all over the media so often that if I mention that I have it, no one is terribly surprised. Mine manifests in some unusual ways at times, but I do have some of the usual things. I have issues with patterns, order and organization especially. Organization and neatness are my huge hang-ups, they cause the most problems for me. If I’m not under control, I panic when things are out of order. Particularly, order of books, trinkets, DVDs, and things of those natures are what hit me most often. Kitchen supplies don’t bother me, but food-stuffs are also things that I need to organize. I have another major point to it – namely my compulsion into washing my hands/needing to be clean. I carry hand-sanitizer for use in public, because I know how many people don’t wash their hands in public restrooms, which is just awful. However, I’m working on everything, and with some help from medicine and my shrink I’m getting better. I can control a lot of it up to a point, even if I can’t handle everything. Though, at least being able to understand what I’m doing and how to help myself control it is a bigger help than I would have ever thought even a few years ago.

Bipolar II is more difficult for me to handle and explain to the few people that I’ve explained this to. See, when I first heard about bipolar, I thought that it meant only the more traditional type that has the “manic” episodes (my shrink says that they used to call bipolar “manic depression”). And I’m definitely not manic. It would have been impossible for me to get to my age without someone noticing that in my personality, if it existed. But, that’s not the type of bipolar disorder that I have. Bipolar II is a bit different. For me (personally, and me alone), bipolar II is deep depression periods, and the “high” periods are not manic. The high periods are irritated/annoyed for me. I have excessive energy, sure, but it is not manic in quality or quantity. It’s a more nervous and irritated type of energy, that fills me up and makes it difficult for me to focus or concentrate on anything. My “high” or upper periods are seldom and far separated, usually fairly brief, dispersed between long and very deep depressive episodes. It’s awful to work with for me, and I’ve been on a medication for this for a while now.

The bipolar II was difficult for me to accept though. I have been diagnosed with perhaps 4 different types or degrees of depression over the years, and I’ve been on multiple anti-depressants that all failed within 5-6 months of starting them. It got rather frustrating that everything quit working just suddenly, without warning and for seemingly no reason. I actually gave up on thinking that anything would ever work for me for my depression. But, after speaking with this latest shrink of mine, I’ve begun to realize that I had the unfortunate luck of having 4 different shrinks (prior to this one) misdiagnose me. I don’t blame them, after all, it’s difficult to tell at times with some mental disorders, and my particular manifestation of bipolar II manifests most of the time with symptoms identical to severe dysthymia, a type of chronic depression. Given that most of the time I was in a state that resembled severe depression, it doesn’t fully surprise me that I was falsely diagnosed multiple times.

Now though, in this last year, I’ve begun to work on these diagnoses. The medications are working, they haven’t failed (which for me is a blessing and a miracle that I’m very grateful for), but I cannot skip taking them, or they will quit working. So I’m still cautious, because I have not felt normal like this in my whole life. I feel stable for the first time in my life, which is something I’m going to work hard to keep as a condition in my life. Having a diagnosis that actually fits my symptoms, and finally showing steady improvement and stable phases in my life – those are things I never expected to see in my life.

I’m doing better, far better than I have in my whole life. It’s still new for me to be happy and feel healthy consistently. I sleep regularly and have a normal appetite for the first time in my life. Before I started getting treated for the bipolar II, I had not ever had a length of time where I slept well. My life has changed overall for the better, and I’ve been getting healthier.

I do still have rough times though. This last month was a bit difficult. My OCD flared up, and I was having some trouble with anxieties stemming from that. So I took a break to bring myself back onto an even keel. I want to stay healthy, and that means taking a break when it is necessary. This last month it was, and so I stepped back from blogging so that I could focus on myself and ensure that I was taking care of myself to the best of my abilities.


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I'm a bibliophile who loves collecting books. Definite cat person. Amateur historian and major geek, who loves all things Tolkien and Star Trek. I'm also fluent in German.

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