Saturday, June 05, 2010
Do I Have Manic Depression?
My general practitioner, a title once known as "a doctor", thinks I may have been been misdiagnosed. In England, while homeless, I was officially diagnosed as having "endogenous recurring depression." My GP thinks I may have crossed that albeit ever so slim line over to manic depression (now called bipolar disorder or bipolarity.) One of the most famous still living people with bipolarity is Stephen Fry (pictured.)
I was shaken to hear that. I knew I was mentally ill, but at least I wasn't THAT mentally ill. I took a very small comfort in that, as if holding on to a teeny tiny security blanket. After all, I'd been homeless and met many, many bipolar people -- some going through full-blown mania where they'd be so convinced they could fly that they'd climb up on rooftops.
I was never like that. Me, well, the first thing I think of when I wake up is, "Oh, shit. Not again." People with manic episodes don't sleep because they feel too good to sleep. I wouldn't mind a bit of that type of mania. Just a bit.
But, said my GP, there are many degrees of manic depression and not just the "common" episodes of manic and then depressive cycles. Which, of course, has now started a little voice in my head saying, "You have a BRAND NEW mental illness THAT THEY'LL NAME AFTER YOU."
Desperately Seeking Symptoms
As a freelance web content writer, I get asked to write about many, many medical conditions. You know how it is -- you read a couple of newspaper articles on a certain newly discovered disease and suddenly you're convinced you have it.
I've written about prostate cancer so much that I start checking for symptoms every time I urinate. And then I have to remind myself that I don't have a prostate. Not that that keeps me from checking for symptoms the NEXT time I have to spend a penny. Just my luck I'll be the only woman in the world that spontaneously grows a prostate just so it could get cancer.
So now I've been having hyperactive, racing thoughts and anxiety every morning. Is this mania? I take a Xanax and calm down enough to do some work. Come to think of it, I think I've had these thoughts a couple of hours after I wake up every damn day, but it's only just now I've become REALLY AWARE of it. I get my work done and it's a job I adore. I take care of my pets and my saint of a mother and have enough to eat. I've survived homelessness, domestic abuse and trans-Atlantic airplane rides. I should be proud of myself.
But by the time I have to go to bed, I think, "I am nothing but a complete and total cunt." Pardon for the lingo, but that is what goes through my head. There are many reasons why I believe this, but the main reason is because if I'm not good enough for Peter Gabriel, then what's the point? There's more to it than that, but I'll spare you the tedious details. (You're welcome.)
I've had these thoughts even before I suffered homelessness and domestic abuse, although those experiences turned the volume up a couple of notches. I then take another Xanax, a melotonin and sometimes a Nyquil in order to get some sleep.
So, am I bipolar? Or am I turning into a Xanax addict? I don't know and I can't afford to think about it anymore because I have to get back to work to pay for a trip to Leipzig to see Peter Gabriel in concert. That will at least make future blog posts far more amusing than this one.