I was diagnosed with BP about 15 years ago, but of course, it went back farther than that. I was misdiagnosed for quite a while before they landed on a correct reason for my "craziness". I never hit an obvious manic period until my late 20s. Before that, they thought I was just chronically depressed.
I think the reason they missed it for so long was because I had, what is now called, "dysphoric mania", which is a combination of mania and depression all at the same time. In my opinion, it's kind of a waste of mania because you feel no highs or euphoria. If I'm going to be manic I want to feel the goddam exhilaration of it. All joking aside, dysphoric mania is very misunderstood and easily missed. I'm just now starting to get it.
Until recently, I would have said I had not been manic for the past ten years. Ten years ago was my last full blown manic episode. There was no mistaking it. My energy was through the roof, needed very little sleep, started three businesses, wrote and published a very controversial novel, was married at the time and had three other affairs going on simultaniously. And that was all within the space of one year. 800 mg of Lamictal a day didn't even phase it, and that's no exaggeration.
My first manic episode was in my 20s. I worked at least 12 hours a day, seven days a week, had a real estate business on the side where I was buying and refurbishing houses, mostly historic ones, was trying to rescue a crack addicted lover, and I was caring for a son with cerebral palsy. I slept about three hours a night, when I could, and no one could begin to keep up with me.
Those are two examples that were obvious mania and they went on for years. Everything in between I considered depression, but I don't believe it always was. I think I have had dysphoric mania for much of the past ten years. I have mostly isolated, been very pensive, brooding but also easily agitated, and quick to anger, especially dealing with social issues, and there are a bunch of them right now. My creativity has not been what it was when I was full blown manic. My attention span is short, and I am not as focused as before. I'm successful in my job but restless as hell. My only real joy is riding my Harley. I was raised in a religious family and have a strong faith but I struggle with consistency there too. I think I would call all of that dysphoric mania.
I feel like I am in crisis. I've kicked up my doctor's visits and counseling to every two weeks because I have this feeling of impending doom, like something is on the verge of happening. The restlessness is too intense. I am not suicidal but I fixate alot on death. When Anthony Bourdain killed himself the first thing I did was bought an autographed picture. And I have all of Hemingways books, not to read but just "have" because he was Bipolar and killed himself. He feels like a brother.
My question is this. If any of you have experienced dysphoric mania, what meds have worked for you? I'm about out of options, having tried so many cocktails of medicines. I know I shouldn't but some days I resort to alcohol to just be able to come out of it for a couple of hours.
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