Backyard Feeder

Backyard Feeder
photo taken through porch screen

Friday, June 17, 2011

Symptooms The Book Never Told You About

As a member of support groups, I have come to realize that there are some symptoms of bipolar that aren't listed in the DSM but that are so common to people with bipolar as examples of some vague symptoms that are commonly listed that I think they should be listed. I don't write for the DSM people, but I write this BLOG.

These are the symptoms the doctor forgot to warn you about:

The book might mention hypersexuality, but what they don't tell you is that a person with bipolar may not be interested in sex for months, even years at a time when in depression or on certain medications, but will want to do "it" several times a day in every position in every location, sometimes with every person or all alone or with pictures or video or prostitutes name it.

The book might say something about impulsive behavior, but it won't tell you that a person with bipolar can take a perfectly adequate paycheck and buy a gallon of milk, forget to pay the bills, and not have a dime left. The fact that there may also be absolutely nothing at all to show for it is a bonus. Or perhaps there are many things to show for it--and the fact that you have the trappings of a hoarder delivered from ebay on one otherwise beautiful afternoon is one surprise that none of the books will prepare you for. The doctor would never tell you.

The book might tell you that depression involves some slowing of functioning--it doesn't tell you that your depressed loved one might slow to the point of stopping--I worry that my husband is gathering dust when he gets stuck in his chair for days on end and I'm sure the cobwebs coming out of his ear are not MY imagination. I know he is miserable, but if I don't laugh I'm inclined to cry along with him and we might never drag ourselves out from under it.

What the book won't tell you is that depression doesn't necessarily involve sadness. Sometimes it's anger or irritability or stomach aches or head aches or just falling asleep and waking up several weeks later, ala Rip Van Winkle.

And the happy maniac of the book is a rarity, with mania more likely to occur as anger, irritability (see any patterns here), racing thoughts, forced speech,little need for sleep and a sort of feeling like you are wound too tight and if you don't keep running fast enough the spring is going to sproing.(I knew there was a good reason for that fast track.)

Alas, the symptoms in the book, the symptoms that the doctor diagnoses by, are dull, dry, stereotypical and clinical while the truth of the matter is much more interesting and lively and human and scary and real.

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