No, it isn’t (Not to be Confused with “No, it’s not.”)
“No, it isn’t.”
“Yes, it is.”
“No, it isn’t.”
“Yes, it is.”
“No!! It isn’t!”
“Yes! It is.”
Every few weeks I’d have this “discussion” with my hubby who insisted that my mood and energy swings were related to PMS. To be honest, I was finally starting to see it that way, too, just before being diagnosed as having Bipolar Disorder. Of course, this was after about 15 years of marriage, so there was plenty of time to have this “discussion”.
And face it, ladies, don’t you hate having any bad mood or angry outburst attributed to being “that time of the month”? Talk about feeling invalidated! Like I we can’t be legitimately angry or be in a bad mood. Since we’re women it’s only because of all these wacky hormones flowing through us. So, naturally I wasn’t happy having any and all bad moods attributed to PMS. And as much as I adore my husband (and I did and really, really do…couldn’t get through this without him and his support) I did occasionally actually get angry about something and became even more angry when he felt it was “just my PMS talking”. Besides, there were so many other weird symptoms that went along with the bad moods/depressive states such as sleeping a lot, feeling achy like a bad case of the flu, ear/sinus pain, and just generally feeling sick. Well, I know now these symptoms aren’t uncommon with the downside of BP, and even with unipolar depression.
But I did know there was something else going on. I just didn’t know what it could be. Mental illness never crossed my mind, though I knew I had extended periods of depression. Still, bipolar disorder is portrayed as the wild and crazy bipolar 1. Very little is publicly known or publicized about BP II, or other numbers on the spectrum trail.
So, we “discussed” it periodically. The thing was, I knew my symptoms didn’t follow a PMS course. My symptoms were regular, but not on a monthly cycle. My episodes were much briefer then, as is more typical of bp. Short episodes of mania/hypomania and periods of depression intermixed with periods of feeling “normal” (again, whatever that is). I loved the hypomanic state…calling it my “euphoric” period. I was brilliant, exciting to be around, charming, creative, energetic. These periods always followed the down period when I just couldn’t get enough sleep and felt like I was in a fog.
I remember for our family’s 10th anniversary planning on going to dinner at a restaurant in a town about 45 minutes away. At the time, I worked as an on-air personality and news director at a small radio station in my hometown. After my morning shift that day, I went home and slept until about 10 minutes before my afternoon shift. (We lived about 5 minutes away from the station.) I went back in without doing any additional news work, completed my afternoon shift and went back home to sleep until the family came home. The thought of driving 45 minutes to a restaurant was so tiring…just the thought was tiring. But we did it. It turned out to be a not so wonderful experience, but not because of my state of mind. Just a very expensive dinner for mediocre quality Italian food. One of those stories we can tell and understand in the family, though. However, it was my introduction to bruschetta, and for that I am happy. It’s like Italian salsa. Yummmmm.
I have to wonder how many other women suffer from bp and are told it’s just hormones. Is it more prevalent than we think? Would something a little stronger than Midol help more women deal with those energy/mood swings? Research grant time!
(Warning: This blog post actually makes sense and flows in a decent order. This may not be the experience on very many of my posts. J)