After going through your years before a diagnosis and those after it, you would think you’d have the whole thing down to a science of sorts. Before a diagnosis you don’t know what’s going on, but after the diagnosis you can look back and say to yourself, “Oh! So that’s what it was.” AFTER you would think you’d know what to expect…
… Yeah. No. No it doesn’t work that way for everyone.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 13 years ago. Along with it was Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and eventually OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Fun fun. Can you sense the eye rolling? Anyways… After going through panic attacks, bouts of anxiety, manic and depressive episodes, and the general disruption when the OCD decides to kick in full force- after all of it, you would think I would have experienced it all. That one would know what to expect. Once again the answer is NO. For example, starting just last year a new symptom of my anxiety came about. My speech is a complete mess- I have to literally think about pronouncing my words which makes my speech sound like some sort of stuttering or speech impediment. It doesn’t go away until the anxiety does.
I have experienced more mania than depression. I honestly couldn’t tell you which one is worse.
Currently I have been experiencing an episode unlike one I have ever experienced before. I have manic moments- a good deal of them. I have moments of some type of minor depression. Those small moments are small forms of solace. How sad is that? Don’t worry- I know that it is and that only someone that has had a mental illness for any amount of time could understand. Most of my days (and up until I got put back on Klonopin my nights as well) are spent listless. I go through motions that ultimately mean nothing. I accomplish little, but feel as though a day is full. The world… the world is going on around me. I see and hear, but I’m not a part of it even when my participation takes some place in it. Have you ever felt uncomfortable in your own skin? Try it on a 24 hour long marathon. I have brief intermittent moments like now when I’m writing this. Times when I can process all of it. The weight is heavy. The knowledge that I have no control… that knowledge is terrifying in a way that is enough to send ones own mind running for the hills- KNOWING that this reprieve is short lived.
The known is the unknown. There are a few reasons behind making this statement:
1. There are general symptoms listed for any mental illness. Everyone’s acts different. No two people are completely the same.
2. You KNOW that it’s lurking somewhere, but the time is UNKNOWN as to when it will appear next.
3. Your illness can manifest differently as time goes on. Some people are lucky and the symptoms lessen over time. Others, they stay the same. And still others (*shudder*) have theirs get worse.
Now that I am on the upswing to this horrendously drawn out whatever-type-of-episode it was as a whole (my therapist wants to know what came first with it- the chicken or the egg), I look back and realize how scary it has been. A friend, who while her normally calm and collected self while trying to help me, was far more scared than I have ever seen her. You have those brave souls willing to venture into the unknown. Look at astronauts and deep sea divers. I am NOT one of those people. Not with this. Not with this illness. I like knowing mania from depression. Mania and depression from stress and anxiety.
Personally right now? The days have gone by slowly. The hours have seemed endless. The minutes continue to tick by per every half hour. The days I am doing well are finally outnumbering the days I’m not feeling well. Looking back over the past month makes me shutter and all but cry. Looking back I realize that this has truly been like nothing I have experienced previously with my illness. Right now… right now… right now I honestly don’t know.