Road Rage Patient

First of all, I need to send out a huge THANK YOU to Ruby & Lulu for your support on my last post Freak Out, which encouraged me to call my psychiatrist (pdoc) today.  I even got in to see her today!  Since she just saw me on Monday, she looked a bit confused when I walked in the door, but then I got to tell her my story. The appointment was really helpful and I ended up with a prescription for my favorite pill: Paxil.  But first, let me give you a rough idea of how the conversation went (paraphrased by my memory, of course).

Me:  This is embarrassing.

Pdoc:  I’m your psychiatrist.

Me:  Are you going to lock me up?

Pdoc:  No. I’m not on staff at the hospital.

Me: (This is where I broke into tears and told her about the three freakouts I had this week.)

Pdoc: How long do they last?

Me:  15 min to an hour.  No real warning, just BOOM.

Pdoc:  Boom.

Me:  It’s like a temper tantrum.

Pdoc:  That’s exactly what it is.

Me:  But I have no control!

Pdoc:  Welcome to bipolar.

So as it turns out, I am suffering from dysphoric mania (a mixed state) just as Ruby identified.  Pdoc wants to give the Geodon more time to work (it can take months to reach the full effect of the medication) but we added the Paxil to address the depression.  So all of these years when I thought that I was some kind of weird ultra-rapid cycler (like days or less), it turns out that I have been in these mixed manic states.  I’ll tell you now, for the record, dysphoric mania sucks BIG TIME.  Where is my happy mania?  Where are my beautiful, tumbling words, dancing through my head?  My charming laugh, my winning smile, collecting admirers by the mile?

I warned my pdoc that Paxil would make me manic (happy manic!) but she said that we would watch for it.  Hopefully Geodon will prevent me from going full-on manic and with the Paxil will bring my moods into a more even state.  Also, I will be on a very low dose.  Something to get me back into life.  I told her that I hadn’t been doing any of my favorite activities: no reading (books or blogs – sorry everyone), no writing or blogging, no photo stuff, I don’t even check my email very often, if at all.  I go to doctor’s appointments, some mindless shopping – buying clothes & shoes I don’t need, and I watch a lot of TV.  I’m resting, I’m getting well.  No, no part of me is getting well.  But that’s a different post.

Apparently I am one of my pdoc’s “road rage” patients.  The kind of individual who suddenly gets furious (due to a trigger) and is out of the car and banging on it before they even know what’s happening.  Yeah, this is why I don’t own a gun.  I went shooting once.  It was great fun.  But I can never, ever own a gun.

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6 thoughts on “Road Rage Patient

  1. Monday, I am so glad that I was able to offer you support, in conjunction with Lulu, and I am even more happy that you have an explanation from your doctor and a plan in place.

    Crossing my fingers (and eyes and toes), saying prayers, sending love and positive energy and good thoughts all to you!

  2. Lol Ruby, you beat me to it! I’m so glad that we could both help you. It makes having BP so well worth it when I can help others.

    What you describe is soooooo much like me. Did you get a dx of BP I or II? Because I had a fit recently that Ruby described as dysphoric mania, except… BP II aren’t supposed to have mixed episodes. But I am pretty sure I’ve never had a full blown manic episode. Ideas?

  3. I am bipolar NOS (Not Otherwise Specified). I guess no one could decide what type I am so they never gave me one. I’ve had these “fits” for years, probably my entire adult life. I’ve even got a 1/2″ scar and nerve damage on one finger from an incident with a box cutter during one of these fits about 15 years ago.

    My full blown happy manic episodes are usually escorted by anti-depressants. However, I’m not really sure where the line between mania and hypomania is so I don’t know how to answer your question. I wasn’t diagnosed with bipolar until my 30’s, so it’s difficult to post-analyze and quantify my moods prior to then. (And even post-diagnosis since I am lousy at journaling.)

    Although, I have to say, I feel so much better by having this diagnosis. I always thought these “temper tantrums” were the result of a personality flaw. Now that I know that they are just part of the illness, I can deal with it better without the self-recrimination that usually accompanies the aftermath. My self-esteem still sucks, but at least there is one less thing to blame myself for.

    • NOS is actually where they classically put you when your manias are specifically anti-depressant (or other medication) induced. They do toss people in when they can’t quite figure it out (and rumor has it that there will even be a fourth category in the new DSM for bipolar), but I – as in full-blown, not externally induced mania – is usually very apparent, though not always immediately established. II can become I, though if it happens, it tends to happen pretty early on in the course of things.

      I need to organize all of this in a section for Canvas. Oy.

      • Based on my recollection of past experiences, I’ve been type II since adolescence and I’ve had these freak outs for years, even prior to diagnosis. Mental illness runs in my family – my aunt was schizophrenic, my sister and father have suffered from unipolar depression and my niece is schizoeffective-bipolar. Anti-depressants do turn my hypomania into type I mania, but I doubt I have type I mania on my own. I suspect that I am a solid type II but no one has ever given me that diagnosis.

  4. first time visiting … I’ve asked “where’s my happy mania” several times. I’m a II also, usually either depressed or in fits of dysphoric mania like you describe. I usually yell at people or break things, though I’m a little better at controlling these fits now that I have better meds.

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