Sunday, 8 July 2012


“There is a particular kind of pain, elation, loneliness, and terror involved in this kind of madness. When you're high it's tremendous. The ideas and feelings are fast and frequent like shooting stars, and you follow them until you find better and brighter ones. Shyness goes, the right words and gestures are suddenly there, the power to captivate others a felt certainty... But, somewhere, this changes. The fast ideas are far too fast, and there are far too many; overwhelming confusion replaces clarity. Memory goes. Humor and absorption on friends' faces are replaced by fear and concern. Everything previously moving with the grain is now against-- you are irritable, angry, frightened, uncontrollable... It will never end, for madness carves its own reality.”

Prof. Kay Redfield Jamison - An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

Hi folks, welcome back. It's been a while, and a lot has been going on, including a new job and living in a new state!

Now, sorry about the massive quote at the start of the post (which I did abbreviate), but I have NEVER heard or read anyone describe what Bipolar Disorder is like as well as Prof Jamison. She describes the feelings and pain that so many of us sufferers go through in words that I can't.

So, the majority of you know about bipolar disorder, depression and how dangerous it all can be. What I don't hear or read too often is something called dysphoria.

, as described in the Merck Manual, is "prominent depressive symptoms superimposed on manic psychosis." Symptoms include:
  • crying
  • curtailed sleep
  • racing thoughts
  • grandiosity
  • psychomotor restlessness
  • suicidal ideation
  • persecutory delusions
  • auditory hallucinations
  • indecisiveness
  • confusion
  • irritability
  • pressured speech against a background of retardation
  • extreme fatigue
  • guilty ruminations
  • free-floating anxiety
  • panic attacks
  • intractable insomnia
  • increased libido
  • histrionic appearance with expressions of depressive suffering
For the sake of try to explain what it's like for me from time to time, let's just try a little exercise:

Imagine you are sitting down, chatting to someone. Concentrate on exactly what they are saying. Now, imagine the TV just turned on. Try to keep track of the conversation and the TV show. Now, your phone starts ringing, but you can't find it. Try to keep track of the conversation, TV, and find your phone. All of a sudden you remember the bill you forgot to pay. Try to work out if you have enough money to pay said bill after everything else is paid, plus keep track of everything.

Now.....who were you talking to? What did they say? What do....did you lock the car before you went inside???

It's a bit hard to explain it, but that's what I go through everyday. Some days the noise is quieter; some days it's so many voices and thoughts, and so fast, that I actually beat my head against my pillow just to try and slow it down.

Along with that comes the inability to stay still; you become agitated because you can't even explain why you actually feel like you're going insane.

PLUS, you also feel depressed, hopeless and everything else that comes with depression. It's like a mix of all the worst parts!

Unlike my first post, I don't have one defining moment regarding dysphoria, but every now and then I do go through some of the above symptoms. It's quite hard don't really understand why, and it's impossible to explain. You can't just ask people to excuse you being a jerk, or not paying attention.

Just something to think about; One in five Australians experiences a mental illness within a 12-month period. Depression is the fourth most common problem managed in general practice. Mental disorders are the third leading cause of the non-fatal burden of disease and injury in Australia. If you are struggling, or know someone struggling with some type of depression or mood disorder, Beyond Blue, the Black Dog Institute and your GP are great places to start.

I suppose that all I can hope to achieve with this post is to raise some sort of awareness. If you notice a friend or loved one with some of the above symptoms on a regular might be time to ask them if they're alright. Sometimes it just takes one person to ask or point it out...

Sorry about the short one this time, but hopefully now I'll be able to make posts more often. If you haven't already, check out my other posts. Hopefully some of you take something from them.


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