Bipolar? / by Charlie Francis Cassidy

Trigger warning: Self harm and Suicide

My last visit with my psychiatrist was about a week ago now. Again we talked about my continuing lack of sleep and erratic mood.

About 2/3 months ago my psychiatrist told me that I might be bipolar. Now I don’t think I was producing any new symptoms, but more that they had become more noticeable to me. So I eventually paid enough attention to have something to tell him about. I’m pretty bad at bringing things up in sessions, it’s amazing when I do. And if I do, then it means I am genuinely scared/concerned. And having an ultra high mood that turns into something that just feels insane and then further combined with some scary suicidal urges, well that warranted mentioning. At least partly. I still haven’t been entirely clear on how bad the urges are. The only way I can describe it is that it’s more of a physical urge rather than just a thought. 

To clarify I haven’t ever tried to kill myself, and these bad times mostly result in nothing happening, or some extra scars. Mostly, they are scary as hell. Apparently I have great self control.

Anyway I still find it really hard to describe my moods but I must have done alright describing my highs. I mean they weren’t all bad, some were you know, what you’d expect some light hypo-mania or something to be. Apparently I listed basically all of the things that are tied with bipolar but the jury is still kind of out on which type or if it is for sure. It could be just the Efexor, could be the Efexor combined with the bipolar. Either way, apparently I am getting some real bad unnatural highs.

I remember spending about 3 - 5 months of my first year in uni just in a wild energetic state. Barely sleeping, getting up to insane things, all until I finally crashed into an equally insane state of depression. Since then I’d just been depressed for years, trying out different medications. Till I got onto Efexor, and then things got good for awhile, real good, and then back to depression. So we put up the dose a couple of times. That’s when my mood started getting out of control. 

Next I was put on lithium in the hopes of that stabilising things for me. It’s slow work going up doses though, he wants a blood test in-between each to make sure no damage is happening, see how much is in me and if I need any more. I’m finally on like 500mg day and night. Still not really seeing any change though. But things take time. I’ve been going this long, what’s another year or so.

So my last session. I told him that my mood was just all over the place and that the sleeping pills he gave me didn’t work (Temazepam). So, first of all, he gave me a mood chart. Now, I hate these things. Not mood charts specifically, just, rating things on a scale. I just can’t seem to do it. I am trying though, so instead of me having to remember how many days straight I was what, he can just look at the damn thing.


It’s a bit all over the place, and there is a whole day in which I just don’t know how I felt. The exclamation points are days I had a bad, episode or something. Just a bad time. Still need to figure out how to describe them to my psych, I think that’s my next task. And the dot is a really bad time that I had, well while low on this thing. But in theory I could put a dot up in the high one too. Here I am just adding my own weird system things to what is a fairly standard mood chart. I’m sure there is a way to use this better than I am, but I warned him.

Now, you might notice here, that one of my medications listed is Seroquel. Gee that sounds familiar, yeah I just blogged about a past experience with it and here I am on it again.

I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I just started Tuesday night and it’s meant to help me actually sleep now. As well as hopefully level out my mood. The Efexor has also been lowered, to hopefully stop the really bad highs from happening. I’m a bit worried about that, because I don’t want my depression and anxiety to get worse. I have had so much less anxiety on this stuff, and I really do not want that affecting my life again. Catching a bus/train used to be hell. But the lithium is meant to hopefully take its place, so I guess I’ll see.

All of this mood changing has really put me behind in game work as well. It’s almost harder than when I was just really depressed each day. I mean that was hell too, getting out of bed, sitting down and working. But at least I wasn’t exhausting myself from my thought patterns changing, racing, not being able to sit still, not being able to sit upright. It’s a mess of things. And hard to explain. Well, because I don’t want to explain it I guess. 

I haven’t told many people that I’m bipolar. For some reason, I’m just real worried about what they’ll think of me. I was getting pretty open with my depression. Like I wouldn’t meet someone and say “Hey I’m Francis and I’ve got depression”. But if it came up in anyway I’d have no problem saying that I have depression, I’m medicated and I regularly see a psychiatrist. But, for some reason, I’m not ready to be that open with the bipolar thing. Maybe because I haven’t come to terms with it myself. It doesn’t change me, I’m still who I’ve been this whole time, but maybe it’s the stigma or that I just don’t know what to think yet.

But the people I have told are really great.