From diagnoses to seroquel
My diagnosis of bipolar disorder is quite recent. For perhaps six years, I was under the impression that it was depression mixed with some severe anxiety — but after being admitted to the hospital in the fall, a new chapter began. With this came a slew of counsellors and doctors, who finally decided that “y’know what? This is bipolar.” I also was diagnosed with the oh-so-obvious: anxiety and panic disorders.
My daily experience is quite exhausting, which I’m sure many of you will understand. Going from small peaks of brilliance —but your thoughts racing and morphing so quickly that you can’t possibly write them down for posterity— to lengthy dips of hiding under blankets, avoiding the world and assignments and deadlines. With my daily doses of panic, I would look down at my word processor, type in maybe two sentences, and then begin to freak out. “This is crap!” “But have you considered this and this and this and this?” “How will you connect this idea to this and this and this? Maybe you should talk about this, or this, before you talk about this.” “Oh, boy. I feel dizzy.” “Good job, two sentences! Time to take a nap.”
As a rather ambitious grad student, these diagnoses are a blessing and a curse. It helps explain why it would sometimes take me months to finish a paper, and why I’ve had to push applications back time and time again. But on the other hand, will it be a stumbling block? Will my PhD applications be brushed aside, the departments deciding they’d rather not give a spot to someone who may fall apart and fizzle out, like he already has before?
I’ve been on Effexor for over five years, but only this year have we realized that it’s been doing diddley-squat for me. Four weeks of lamitrogine have only made me nauseous and exhausted. But I’m now on my second day of seroquel — and I must admit that I’m already noticing that my panic and mood swings have settled down. Sure, I also feel like a super-sleepy, dopey Eeyore that woke up at 2:30 in the afternoon yesterday, but as you can see here… I’m able to write. I can do work in between naps.
And this is AWESOME.
But now I’m thinking to myself: is this just a particularly long (for me) manic peak? Is this what Normal People feel like? Or am I just having a regular upswing? Time will tell!