February 25, 2015

Wait, this isn't depression.........?

The light at the end of the tunnel just turned into a flashing disco ball.

For over half my life, I've been dealing with debilitating depression.  It has at times defined me.  It has certainly shaped me.  Now it's just one part of me, albeit a significant one.  But I just started a new medication, and I am suddenly a VERY different person.

It's not a good thing.  It's not a super, super bad thing.  It is a monumentally confusing thing.

I've always been an extreme introvert.  I need a lot of alone time to recharge, and being around people really, really exhausts me.  But suddenly, I'm bored and lonely (I literally haven't been lonely in years) if I'm alone.  I have this constant craving to be around people.  I've done more socializing in the last week than I've done in the last six months combined.  Maybe literally.

And I can't hold onto a thought to save my life.  I've always been a thinker.  I've always lived inside my mind a bit, and I like it there.  But now it's just kind of a slowly swirling place with nothing really solid to hold onto.

And I keep waking up early in the morning to do my homework because I'm increasingly incapable of focus as the day wears on.  If you know me at all, you know this is seriously atypical behavior.  The real (?) me prefers staying up until 4:00 am to waking up before noon.  But lately I can't sleep more than five hours at a time anyways, so I just get up and do stuff.  I miss sleeping.

And I can't sit still.  I can't just be.  I have to always be doing 14 things, and I'm suddenly bored with all of them within five minutes.  I've already taken like three breaks writing this post, so it's probably going to be really disjointed.  When I looked back at my screen after the first break, I had totally and completely forgotten I was even writing anything.  It was a pleasant surprise?  I guess?

Here's the deal.  My therapist is worried that I'm exhibiting bipolar behavior, specifically hypomania.  Now if it's medication-induced and we can get it to go away, it's no big deal.  But there is a chance that the medication just triggered something that was already there.  Which is bad.

In my humble opinion, bipolar disorder is worse than depression because it's depression plus something.  Depression squared maybe?  I'm unsure of the math of mental illness, but whatever numbers add up to worse, that's what bipolar is.

So I can't focus and I can't make decisions (unless they're pretty impulsive) and I can't be me, and I hate it.  But not as bad as I hate being really depressed like I was three weeks ago.

I wish I could think of a conclusion to this post, but it just doesn't seem to have one.  Or at least it's not something I can hold onto.......  Oh I started with a disco ball!  I'll end there.  Instead of being a dimly flickering naked bulb, the light at the end of the tunnel is now a flashing disco ball.  Super fun for a party, but really disorienting when you're trying to find your way out of somewhere scary.

Does anyone have any thoughts?  I can't seem to stop talking about it, so I may as well talk about it with you!


  1. I had something similar happen to me when I was put on Ability, when it was during the taper-up-the-dose phase. Suddenly, I was experiencing what's called Akathisia, which translates to "inner restlessness". I wanted to talk, talk, talk, I would flit from one thing to the next, because I'd get bored in 30 seconds, I could not focus to save my life, etc. We decreased the dosage, the side-effects went away, and what was left was "Holy crap! I'm functioning!'

    1. Oh my gosh, that sounds exactly like what I was feeling! It was awful! My doctor took me off the Abilify today and put me on Wellbutrin instead. The Abilify snapped me out of a nasty depression that was taking hold, so hopefully that'll last long enough for the Wellbutrin to kick in. I was still on the lowest dose of Abilify, and my brain just wasn't functioning. It felt better than depression, but I wasn't functioning any better. So we're hoping for a better result with the new combo. Sigh.

      Thank you for sharing! It is SO good to know that someone knows what I meant when I described what I was going through!

  2. I meant Abilify, not AbiliTy - dang autocorrect.

  3. It sounds like it's probably due to the medication. But I went through something similar before I got on medication. My hypomania tends to manifest itself with me constantly wanting to talk to be and being unstoppably productive, mostly on things that don't require much thinking, like cleaning my apartment. I get the idea that bipolar is worse than depression, but I haven't found it so bad. Now that my medication puts a "floor" in for my depression -- it never gets as deep as it used to -- I just accept that some days I'll be hyper and have trouble focusing. Only my husband even seems to notice, everyone else just thinks I'm in a good mood or something. It's annoying, but a nice change from being depressed all the time.

  4. I don't know if it's bringing you into the realm of bi-polar, especially if the feelings you are experiencing are consistent as long as you take the medication. It is incredibly interesting that you suddenly have the drive to be around people as opposed to being alone. I wish that I could feel like that more often.


Thank you for coming. I hope you get something out of this. I hope you learn about yourself. I hope you get help if you need it or give it if you can.