Manic Depression is a Frustrating Mess


I am Manic Depressive, but on the bright side (ha ha), I am only Hypo-manic Depressive (Bipolar type II, more on the Bipolar v. Manic Depressive naming debate later). This means that, although I am still periodically afflicted by crushing depressions (Boo!), I don’t have to go through full blown manic episodes (Yeah!). During one of these episodes a person might find themselves in any situation ranging from tearing their clothes off and running down the street yelling “I am God”, to getting tazered while blockading themselves in an airport lounge with chairs because they feel lost and alone.

Instead I get to have Hypo-manic episodes in which I have exuberance, energy and concentration. During a Hypo-manic episode I can multi-task like a son of a gun. I also sometimes drive myself deeply into debt. The only thing that helps me calm down is medical marijuana vernon bc but I can’t always afford to treat myself to it.
My decision making at work and otherwise is not affected, but in my personal life–especially financial decisions–I’m not all together. One time I bought two guitars and a banjo, within a span of two weeks, at a time when I could barely pay the rent (I don’t even play the banjo!). So, while Hypo-mania is easier to live with than full blown Manic Depression it is still a frustrating mess, to say the least.

I didn’t know a lot about my illness, so I read all of Kay Redfield Jamison’s books. Jamison was a successful psychologist before she had her first Manic episode during which she stayed awake for several days running copies of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem Renascence to give to all her friend and colleges. This poem tells the story of Manic Depression much more eloquently than I can, I would recommend it to anyone investigating this illness.

Jamison’s works include:

  • An Unquiet Mind (1995) (autobiography)

  • Manic-Depressive Illness (1990) (with Frederick K. Goodwin)

  • Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament (includes a study of Lord Byron’s illness)(1993)

  • Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide (1999)

  • Exuberance: The Passion for Life (2004)

  • My mood is very closely tied to the seasons. Yes, SAD, but I think instead of many different labels the truth is more likely a spectrum of mental illness. I think of my illness as a mixture of Manic Depression and SAD with just a dash of Tourette syndrome.

    From the Wiki

    SAD and bipolar disorder

    Most people with SAD experience unipolar depression, but as many as 20% may have or go on to develop a bipolar or manic-depressive disorder. In these cases, persons with SAD may experience depression during the winter and hypo-mania in the summer.

    So, during the winter I withdraw from human contact as much as I can. This is the reason I haven’t been around here much recently. I read the news by mishima and ek everyday, but don’t comment much.

    Many people prefer the label Bipolar to the label Manic Depressive. I understand that this is because the word Manic brings up the thought of maniac, which has bad connotations. That’s fine for them, but my background is Electronics in which Bipolar has a specific meaning. Also, the term Bipolar brings to mind two states wherein a person will jump from one state to the other. This is NOT the case in Manic Depression. There are many states, including all mixes of Mania and Depression, in which I may find myself at any given time. This renaming reminds me of how all the Personnel departments, realizing that everyone hated the Personnel departments, all decided at once to rename themselves Human Resources (Oh, much better. Here, use up this batch of people, we’ll just strip mine more when we need them). So I will use Manic Depressive to describe myself, not Bipolar. Some people with similar conditions like Bipolar decide to buy marijuana online to try balance out their emotional mood swings, My friend told me that he would purchase his marijuana from companies similar to West Coast Supply but this isn’t for everyone. Alternatively you could look into growing your own marijuana, this way you know what the plant has been treated with, and you’ll also be able to produce more flower per buck spent, meaning more medication for you. Look into seeds like this gorilla cookies strain that can have a positive effect on those suffering from depression.

    Here is a clip I found on Utube about the spectrum on Manic Depressive illness (it’s blank after the 3:28 mark, so don’t waste your time waiting for something to happen).

    Thanks to reading. Sorry if this is a little disorderly, but so am I 😉

    I’ll be back to my old self soon, so don’t forget me.

    As the Govenator said, “I’ll be back.”


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      • Boise Lib on February 4, 2008 at 4:26 am

      I’ve been working on this since Xmas.

      • RiaD on February 4, 2008 at 4:44 am

      haven’t forgotten you at all!

      do try to get as much real sunshine as you can possibly manage

      & try to eat lots of bananas, oranges & milk or (yogurt), also salmon or tuna.

    1. Write some more. It was really a terrific overview.

      One of my oldest friends struggles with Manic Depression and is on disability. She was in a bit of a high phase when I went home to visit but still managed to make time for me to discuss some family issues that concerned me.

      My Dad is depressive but years ago had more manic phases. His mother had some kind of personality disorder mixed with schizophrenia. She never actually got a diagnosis.

      And thanks. This was a super articulate expression of a difficult place to be in.

      • KrisC on February 4, 2008 at 4:48 am

      are long and cruel, so here’s sumthin’ shiny to distract you!


      Happy Mardi Gras!!!!!

      Want some beads????


      Definitely not forgotten!

      • Alma on February 4, 2008 at 7:07 am

      I’d been wondering where you were.  I thought something might have chased you off.

      My MIL is manic depressive, but meds seem to have the manic under control for the past few years. But her depression has been much worse. She has a few mental illnesses to go along with it, hypocondria, and a dementia, where she makes things up, and I think really believes what she comes up with.  It can be very hard to treat, especially when she doesn’t think anything is wrong with her mentally.

      I’m lucky in that I just have depression.  Sometimes I wish I was manic too, so I could have a few fun days, but I know thats not right either.  

      • Nordic on February 4, 2008 at 1:50 pm

      I have a family member with it, and it’s quite frustrating.  For one, it’s not something any of us feel comfortable telling others about.  So it’s kind of a big secret.  That right there creates a certain amount of stress.

      Then there’s getting treatment.  Finding a good psychiatrist can be extremely difficult, and finding one that is willing to deal with insurance is also.   The insurance companies usually have separate “divisions” to deal with what they call “behavioral health” so that while your insurance may be just fantastic as far as covering “regular” medical problems, when it comes to psychiatric disorders it might be just godawful.  That’s the situation we are in.  

      It seems mental health is mainly for the rich.  If you’re not rich, well, you’re just kind of screwed.  

      Drives me crazy (so to speak).  🙂

      • OPOL on February 4, 2008 at 2:44 pm

      I have a brother with BPD and it’s been pretty wild.  It took years for them to get his meds fine-tuned.  Many bizarre and interesting things happened in the mean time.  Fortunately the law was lenient with him.  🙂

      P.S.  Nice to see you.

      • odillon on February 4, 2008 at 4:21 pm

      Thanks for writing. It is so hard to live with this kind of illness that I appreciate your willingness to talk about it. People need to know and learn more.

      My ex-husband was a college professor and when he got diagnosed in his 40’s after a manic episode and days without sleep, he took the meds, stopped drinking and was able to get his life back, pretty much. But some years later he stopped taking them I believe, and also did some more drinking. He chose to leave, and then things really fell apart for him. He’s had episodes including one where he was in the ocean all night. Fortunately for him his university and their insurance gave him good care though had to stop teaching and eventually go on disability. He is one of the lucky ones to have had insurance that provided decent MH care, and which I believe saved his life (for his depression was gut-wrenching to behold).  I don’t know how people who don’t have that kind of support make it.

      I didn’t know about that poem and I’m eager to read it. It sounds as if you know how to manage your illness and keep an even keel. Thanks, again, and I wish you well.

      • kj on February 4, 2008 at 5:29 pm

      of depression run in my family.  I haven’t been immune.  What to say?  It can knock a person flat, it can knock a person dead. It affects those around us. For a big chunk of life, I thought depression was normal. It wasn’t until I hit my 30’s that it dawned on me not every one lived with the sense of chronic dread that I did.

      Food, supplements, light therapy, regular sleeping patterns and finally meds were my choice. Still have lows, but everyone who is close to me is aware and know I will roll until it passes. The part I hate the most is the inertia. Music helps bring inertia up to melancholy and melancholy, for me, is just part of being Irish. @;-) I do try to force myself to write. Germs of stories have begun in that space.

      Very glad you’re here and writing, Boise Lib. 🙂

    2. I’ve been looking for your name here too. Glad you are still in the blog ether.   Lurking is fine though – I mostly do that too.  ek and mishima will be thrilled to know they have a regular reader.  

      Spring is just around the corner – sunny days ahead!  🙂

    3. years after had severe depressive disorder. Got that under control over a two year period and now bi-polar II. It can be a bitch. 7am now and I have been up since 6am yesterday. I might as well stay up to 9pm or 10pm tonight with a couple hour nap. If I sleep to long during the day, I will be up all night again. Happens about once a week. Fortunatly I don’t paint the house red or go buy a ferrari. I am productive on my blog and on the internet.  

    4. am hypo-manic with a strong dash of sad’s and ptsd thrown in……

      makes it tough for those around me from time to time……

      but inside it is either high noon or the darkest midnight and not much in between…..

      but when it is noon the light is sooooo  bright……

      I do some of my most creative work in retrospect during those times….

      and I just try to survive when it is dark…..

      at least I now longer point guns at my head……

      • Boise Lib on February 5, 2008 at 9:57 pm

      It doesn’t surprise me that a lot of us suffer from some form of the depressive spectrum.

      Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament                                                                  (includes a study of Lord Byron’s illness)(1993)

      The artistic temperament runs strong here (I have the temperament, if not the talent 😉 ).

      Again, Thank You all from the bottom of my heart, and the bottom is pretty far down right now.

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