well, that explained a few things...

More than 2 years ago now, I was diagnosed as BiPolar ll. I am very fortunate that my partner made sure I could see an excellent, excellent doctor who’s worked with me to develop a treatment plan that’s made a profound difference in my life.

Note the word “treatment”.
Not “cure”.
This is not the flu, or a broken collarbone.
It’s just part of me and always will be.

C’est la vie - we play the hand we’re dealt …
…but this one doesn’t suck totally.

I’ve been able to look back at times in my life when I got a lot of grief because it just wasn’t possible for me to be the kind of “normal” some people expected me to be or when I could not get past being hurt for weeks or even months and so on… and stop beating myself up about it.

Sometimes… mostly…
I’ve also come to appreciate having my own “special and unique” perspective on the world, an occasional ability to connect dots others sometimes miss and the rush that comes a manic phase sometimes…

In the course of learning more about this condition, treatment options and such online, I came across this description of the manic and the depressive symptoms, translated from the Clinical into everyday language.
There’s also some of the diagnostic clues at the end. My favourite’s the one about joking while depressed.

I’m not a doctor or any kind of health practitioner so don’t take my word for any kind of gospel here…all I really know is what it’s like to live my life with my own personal mix of symptoms and habits.

I now have a name for it all, though, and it’s better than “you lazy useless f*cking goof!“, “too sensitive to live” or “stupid sack of sh*t” - which were my usual ways of describing myself to myself. They still are… but the medication and other elements of my treatment plan help me to keep moving at least a little when they do as opposed to taking me out of commission for a couple of days.
Most of the time.

Everyone tends to experience different combinations of symptoms. I’m glad I’ve never experienced a lot of the things listed here, including the scarier ones and I’m really, really glad I got diagnosed and I got help.

A Word to the Wise !
If these symptoms seem really way too familiar, get yourself checked out.

Take care of yourself… I’ve been told that left untreated, the dark times get longer and darker and the manic times get less frequent and less exciting as you get older … and

Here’s a more complete list of symptoms of depression
      * Reduced interest in activities (like writing FAQs)
          * Indecisiveness (maybe)      
      * Feeling sad, unhappy, or blue (pervasive attitude that life sucks)      
      * Irritability, dammit.      
      * Getting too much (hypersomnia) or too little (insomnia)sleep.      
      * Loss of, um, what were we talking about?  Oh yeah, concentration.      
      * Increased or decreased appetite  (my ex-mother-in-law’s cooking  notwithstanding)      
      * Loss of self-esteem, such as my understanding that I suck.      
      * Decreased sexual desire.      
      * Problems with, whaddya call it?  Oh yeah, memory.      
      * Despair and hopelessness      
      * Suicidal thoughts.      
      * Reduced pleasurable feelings.      
      * Guilt feelings, which are all my fault anyway.      
      * Crying uncontrollably and/or for no apparent reason.      
      * Feeling helpless, which I can’t do anything about.      
      * Restlessness, especially when I can’t hold still.      
      * Feeling disorganized (hell, look at my desk).      
      * Difficulty doing things (again, like finishing this FAQ)      
      * Lack of energy and feeling tired.      
      * Self-critical thoughts      
      * Moving and thinking slooooooowwwwwwwly.      
      * Feeling that one is in a stupor, or that one’s head is in
      a fog.      
      * Speeeeeeeakiiinnnnng slooooooowwwwwwwly.      
      * Emotional and/or physical pain.      
      * Hypochondriacal worries; fears or illnesses which prove to
      be psychosomatic.      
      * Feeling dead or detached.      
      * Delusions of guilt or of financial poverty.      
      * Hallucinating. 

Here’s a plain-English version of the symptoms of mania, with some extensions:
      * Decreased need for sleep.      
      * Restlessness.      
      * Feeling full of energy.      
      * Distractibility (what was that?)      
      * Increased talkativeness (or increased typeativeness)      
      * Creative thinking.      
      * Increase in activities.      
      * Feelings of elation.      
      * Laughing inappropriately      
      * Inappropriate humor.      
      * Speeded up thinking.      
      * Rapid, pressured speech, that you can teach, eating a peach, while on  a beach.      
      * Impaired judgment      
      * Increased religious thinking or beliefs.      
      * Feelings of exhilaration.      
      * Racing thoughts, which can’t be taught, and can’t be bought, although they ought, you might get caught.
      * Irritability (dammit, there it is again!)      
      * Excitability.      
      * Inappropriate behaviors.      
      * Impulsive behaviors.      
      * Increased sexuality (also known as “platoon-of-Marines-on-shore-leave syndrome”)
      * “clang associations” (the association of words based on their sound, a possible reason so many poets are bipolar, also why we have pun fun)
      *  decreased interest in sex, or any other interpersonal relationships, due to obsessive interest in some other subject or activity
      * Inflated self-esteem (so prove I’m NOT the world’s leading authority!)      
      * Financial extravagance.      
      * Grandiose thinking.      
      * Heightened perceptions.      
      * Bizarre hallucinations.      
      * Disorientation.      
      * Disjointed thinking.      
      * Incoherent speech.      
      * Paranoia, delusions of being persecuted.      
      * Violent behavior, hostility      
      * Severe insomnia      
      * Profound weight loss      
      * Exhaustion

The things that make me (the doctor being quoted, not your humble blogger)
suspect bipolarity in a patient diagnosed as unipolar are:
      - oversleeping when depressed 
      - overeating when depressed 
      - a history of bipolarity in the family  
      - a patient who when depressed can still joke and laugh  
      - anyone with a history of frequent depressive episodes (rapidly cycling unipolar disorder)  
      - success as a salesperson, politician, or actor  (in school or real world)  
      - extreme rejection sensitivity  

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meanwhile, on the hill

... where we live, the weather got
all Canadian, all of a sudden...

a Big Snow that's stayed around for weeks,
through the solstice into the new year.

There's been a couple of power outs
and even a week (gasp) without
the highspeed web connection!

but it seems the further one gets
from a large urban area,
the more people are equipped
to roll with it
and the less they are inclined
to whine about it.

I really like that.

When I first moved up here,
I was worried that after taking photographs
in such an urban environment
that I would run out of things
to photograph around here.

so far, at least....

not a problem...


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Connect the Dots

In 21 states, Wallmart is the single largest employer.

There are 1,008 McDonald's franchises in France.

More people are killed by donkeys annually

than are killed in plane crashes.

Lorne Greene had one of his nipples bitten off by an alligator while he was host of "Lorne Greene's Animal Kingdom".

Michael Jordan makes more money from Nike each year than all the Nike factory workers in Malaysia combined.

Marilyn Monroe had 6 toes on one foot.

The RIAA sued an 83 year old woman for downloading music illegally, even though a copy of her death certificate was sent to the RIAA a week before it filed the suit.

Two 1903 paintings recently sold at auction for $590,000 - the paintings were in the famous "Dogs Playing Poker" series.

If you hook Jell-O up to an EEG, it registers movements almost identical to a human adult's brain waves.

When Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen turn 18 in mid-2004, they will take official control of a company worth more than the gross national product of Mongolia. Their earnings in 2003 topped $1 billion.

35 Billion e-mails are sent each day throughout the world.


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