I’m a bit late with writing about my last appointment with my psychiatrist, but you can forgive me for that, it being the Christmas season and all.
I was in an agitated and anxious mood for most of the day, then leveled out and didn’t really think I’d be terribly upset if my psychiatrist would still not listen to me.
I like my psychiatrist; he is very easy to talk to about the small stuff – family, my photography, and my constant mentioning of a growing social life to get him to stop suggesting I need to go out more. But then it all gets a bit too hard to bring up the more negative stuff but I did anyway. I kept bringing up my mood issues and made it quite clear I wanted an assessment so I could have a clear diagnosis (so I know just what is going on with me) and some treatment options to look forward to, but he didn’t even seem to blink at the mention of them.
Then just as I thought things couldn’t get much worse for me he seemed to brighten up and leaned forward as a sudden realisation came to him that would explain all the troubles I’ve been going through.
He said I might have Asperger’s syndrome.
My heart sank as I questioned whether this man was qualified to be treating me as he seemed to have forgotten that we both came to this realisation four years ago. I’ve been self-treating my Asperger’s too. Like most ‘aspies’ I have learned all I can about the condition and have a firm grasp on the differences in the brain and could teach my own class on the differences between the NT (non-autistic) and Asperger’s brain, and explain how these differences create the symptoms.
When I left I wasn’t upset that my needs had been ignored again. I wasn’t depressed, unemotive or even hypomanic. What I felt like is that I had finally had some clarity; now I was sure my psychiatrist was never going to help me.
Recently, I received some mail from the good doctor who explained in a one-page letter what conditions he thinks I might have and that I should do research on my own. Asperger’s was mentioned first. He would receive about a C- in my class for the information he gave me.
ADHD was mentioned next, another condition I know quite a lot about so research isn’t necessary. I was glad that he thought I still had it as my lack of being recommended more medication was starting to worry me. But he ended it by saying there didn’t seem to be any deterioration since I stopped taking it. It’s probably because I now self-medicate with fish oil which makes me motivated, focus for a bit longer and more hyperactive. That last part probably isn’t a good thing but it sure beats lethargy and depression.
Lastly, social anxiety was mentioned; something I’ve known I’ve had since 2008 and can even be traced back to as young as five years old. I’ve never been without social anxiety and can pretty much tell the difference between social anxiety in autism and ADHD and social anxiety in those people not afflicted by those conditions. Even the social anxiety in bipolar has its own flavor of paranoia.
My psychiatrist now thinks that I should get help with these but there’s still the issue of my rapid cycling mood swings, which are briefer and more intense than the mood swings people usually experience. I’m starting to think that people don’t believe me about my mood disorder and I’m trying to forget about it, but when the moods happen, particularly the extreme high and low feelings, I note them with a sense of amusement as though still surprised. But it truly is a peculiar thing to experience again and again. I know what normal moods are like because not long ago I experienced them and I’ve got a lot of awareness about these moods that when they show signs of changing into another one I know what is coming even though no one else really believes me.
I get so angered by their denial that I feel like putting a knife to my throat, or trashing a (my) room or jumping out of a window or other forms of self-harm. I can’t really explain why these thoughts happen but they creep up on me even when I do my best to suppress them. They increase in violence the longer I dwell on thoughts that seem to trigger them. And I write this here so people can see how serious my symptoms are. I’m reluctant to mention violence to other people but this is where the symptoms can lead. They’re only thoughts but powerful ones that make me want to do more harm to myself than others. An occasional problem of mine is to not get stuck into thoughts of suicide. The wannabe screenwriter I am has a very vivid and visual way of musing over suicide. Imagine if after you died you could gaze down from Heaven and watch the reactions of people you knew.
And once again I feel like I could avoid treatment for longer if just to keep the highs and have very motivated days where I have a surplus of energy to keep going even though normally I would stop after doing two or three things, but in this mood I could push that to five or even eight.
It’s a terrible thing to want mania especially when I think I could handle it and just live through the lows but then I realize I can barely take them; yesterday I was feeling a more delusional- psychosis episode coming on with a sense of paranoid distrust to the people whom I usually have high regard for. It was not without mild hallucinations too. This morning I felt depression finally hitting after a good four day absence but I managed to work on a drawing and I think my satisfaction has put me into another high mood. I admit to some arrogant air in parts of this post. I tried my best not to call myself a high intellectual.
I know my episodes can get out of control though only briefly so I don’t require hospitalisation. I’m a passive person who although can feel emotions quite painfully, on the outside no one sees any sign of distress at all. There’s a part of me that wants to force it out of me so I get the treatment I need, but then there’s another part of me that tells me it’s better being this way. I might live with a brain in constant torture and all the relationship problems that comes with it, a future of continuous unemployment and underachieving what my intellect is capable of, but I do achieve some small things. So far that is just a gallery of live band photos few respond to; not exactly the people I want, and a drawing for a friend because I can’t work out what gift to buy them. And I guess an almost successful blog post.
So, if I really want to get appropriate treatment for these moods it would help to find a doctor who can acknowledge that I have them at all. I’ll have to fight against my own anxiety and find someone else and risk losing my creative side, although if I do have bipolar what I’m achieving now is hardly imaginative enough compared to what past authors/artists/musicians with bipolar had achieved.
Tomorrow is Christmas which means very little to me. I don’t enjoy Christmas since leaving my Christian mother. I’m not overly religious but reading my Bible has helped in my self-treatment for anxiety and depression and it seems the more something is ignored or vehemently criticized the more I’m attracted to it. In this self-absorbed society of decreasing spirituality a 12-year veteran of the Pentecostal faith feels quite alone and that does not do favours for my depression. I’ve barely dwelt on these feelings as I’ve tried to get into the cheesy commercial state of the season and given in to my youthful sense of materialism.
However, on Boxing Day is when my extended family celebrates Christmas and my only anxiety is one of extreme sensory overwhelment. I like to think of it as an electrical storm in my brain. A hyper aroused-spinningworld-disorientated-emotionally unstable state of extreme sensitivity of the senses, where my mind focuses on my irritation of all people present and can spiral in to an all-out-rage. Usually I would cope with it but with a lack of medication, alcohol and the being under constant strain by some family members to be social or to do favours for them while I feel like smashing my head against a brick, especially when told this is something everyone goes through, leaves me with a feeling of trepidation.
The next day is my 28th birthday. Then soon it’s the new year. Already I’ve seen affirmations of 2014 being a more hopeful year for people, when all I can think about is it’s another year of insanity. April/May 2014 will be the anniversary of my madness. Of course, it can be traced back further than that but my moods seemed to permanently change around that time. My habit of taking high doses of Ritalin washed down with beer didn’t seem to help matters.
Well, here’s to a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year anyway. I feel like a beer.