When I Need A Pick Me Up, by my friend Ryan King

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

R/O Bipolar Disorder

(Originally 12/22/06)

"R/O" is shorthand in the mental health profession which stands for "rule out".

This morning I felt slightly down, as opposed to the way I felt during the last post. I've said before that I could be bipolar, but I really decided to look into it today.

Bipolar Disorder.

So for my diagnosis, I am ruling out Bipolar Disorder as something I experience. Why?

Because I don't experience an elevated mood occuring with three or more of the following symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for 1 week or longer. If the mood is irritable, four additional symptoms must be present.

* Increased energy, activity, and restlessness
* Excessively "high," overly good, euphoric mood
* Extreme irritability
* Racing thoughts and talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another
* Distractibility, can't concentrate well
* Little sleep needed
* Unrealistic beliefs in one's abilities and powers
* Poor judgment
* Spending sprees
* A lasting period of behavior that is different from usual
* Increased sexual drive
* Abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, alcohol, and sleeping medications
* Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior
* Denial that anything is wrong

So yes, I might experience those symptoms at times, but not for a week straight or more, most of each day of those weeks. For instance, I need my sleep. I never do NOT sleep. My concentration is good--I can follow through with assigned tasks (especially with a cuo 'o joe!). I don't have unrealistic beliefs in my powers. My spending sprees don't last longer than a week. I don't abuse drugs or anything mood-altering (one cup of coffee or latte when I need it, never more than once a day). I bend over backwards to insure that I'm not intrusive or aggressive, or provocative. And I NEVER, but NEVER deny that anything is wrong with me. (There'd be no blog if I did that.)

So, no mania. that's a relief.

Now what about the other end of the bipolar spectrum?

Signs and symptoms of depression (or a depressive episode) include:

* Lasting sad, anxious, or empty mood
* Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
* Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
* Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, including sex
* Decreased energy, a feeling of fatigue or of being "slowed down"
* Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
* Restlessness or irritability
* Sleeping too much, or can't sleep
* Change in appetite and/or unintended weight loss or gain
* Chronic pain or other persistent bodily symptoms that are not caused by physical illness or injury
* Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts

A depressive episode is diagnosed if five or more of these symptoms last most of the day, nearly every day, for a period of 2 weeks or longer.

Again, that's not me. My eyes pop open between 6-7:00 every morning, whether I like it or not. My appetite is always in place. My moods have reasons that I can trace. And they can be changed by changing my situations, as they have done in the last few days.

Plus, I've never taken any medication for a mood disorder, though I have seen a therapist for a few months. End result, I have some screwed up elements to my life -- maybe unusual for a 42 year-old man, but I'm not going to say it's because my mood sabotaged me. And yes, I have messed up some relationships because of a change in my mood, but ahem, that's how EVERYONE messes up their relationships. Some relationships are stronger than others and they weather the storms of mood change. I just need to find one of those.

So. THAT'S a relief.

1 comment:

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