Today we have the pleasure of hosting our very first guest blogger Anxious Kaley. Help us welcome her by saying HI and telling her how awesome this post is (and how so completely true!)
To Each Their Own (Symptoms)
“There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.” ~Maya Angelou
There is a mountain of brochures explaining various mental illnesses that I have collected from doctors, support groups, and have gotten in the mail from groups such as NAMI, strewn all around my house . Right now none of them make sense.
I am Bipolar I with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. I also have a bit of anxiety thrown into the mix. For the past few weeks I have been questioning why I never feel depressed. I kept thinking back to the “sad egg” Zoloft commercials. Except for a few minor crying spells that last for less than five minutes, I never feel like the sad egg. I began to wonder how I could be Bipolar if I never felt like the lower end of the spectrum.
A few enlightened blog readers left comments saying that perhaps my lack of focus and other symptoms were MY depression. This got me to thinking. I do not necessarily have to feel like the sad egg to be depressed. My depression can manifest itself as unique as I am. My symptoms, all of our symptoms, are as unique as our handprint. They cycle and behave differently.
I could post a link to each mental illness and its typical symptoms, but we’ve all read them many times. What is more important is for us to get to know ourselves and what is typical for US. Several people in my support group use a mood chart to track their mood in between visits to psychiatrists and counselors. Remembering each day and recalling them in a doctor’s office is much too difficult at the end of the month, assuming you see your doctor once a month like I do. A great tool to use is https://www.moodtracker.com/.
What may be depression for me may be hypomania for someone else. My lack of focus is a perfect example. Sure, when I am hypomanic, my focus is less than perfect, but is a different kind. It is difficult to describe.
The important part is that I understand it. As long as I understand it, I can ensure that the cycle of Bipolar does not spin out of control.
My point is that all of the glossy brochures in the world cannot perfectly describe your mood at any given time. They can give a glimpse or an overview, but they cannot diagnose or explain everything. I cannot tell my
self that I am “never” depressed just because I do not fit the textbook definition of depression or feel like the sad egg. Mental health issues really are “to each their own”.