Not much to tell here, but that I am a mother of two teens with a husband that acts like he really doesn't give a shit. He pays my bills, but beyond that, I am on my own. I have been in and out of psychotherapy since 1993; currently I am OUT of it. I have tried lots of meds, but am currently taking a regimen of Lamictal and Seroquel. So far so good... I like to paint when I am depressed; this helps me work out my frustrations. When I am manic, I am prone to excessive sexual activity or unreasonably excessive spending habits. I feel so alone, as there is no one around me who understands me.
Wow, where do I start? I am an adopted child of a deceased alcoholic and a very controlling and critical mother. My childhood was both physically and emotionally abusive. I don't know how much this affected my adult life, but it couldn't have helped much. I retreated into a fantasy world much of my early life, and stayed depressed. My parents made me ashamed for not being happy all the time; I endured many many lectures on why I was depressed (I had no idea, only that I was) and made to feel so much like a failure. My depression lectures were no more critical and condemning than the time my parents found a bottle of liquor hid in my room. How do you like a mental illness being compared to sneaking booze? Unreasonable as hell.
I began suffering from anxiety attacks in my later teens, and also periods of heightened sexual activity. I never understood that these were merely periods of mania soon to be followed by long periods of depression.
I got married in 1990, and have a brief interlude from my condition. But after my second child, I had a worse than usual period of post partum depression, as well as anxiety attacks that had grown in frequency and intensity. I first saw a professional shrink in 1993. I have been in and out of psychotherapy ever since. Right now, I am OUT of it, choosing to manage things myself and just taking my meds like a good girl.
I am on lamictal and seroquel, right now, but they are only the recent in a long line of meds. I usually stay on one med regimen for two years before I develop an immunity to the effects of the pills.
When I am depressed, I shut myself in the bedroom for long periods and just sleep it off. I have also put up black curtains all over the house to shut out the light. I hate crowds and avoid talking on the telephone, even to people I know well. I hate being around people altogether.
When I am manic, I go on binges. Binges of all sorts. The most popular is spending binges. I buy up stuff that completes a collection of some sort or another. At one point, it was christmas lights. At another time, it was gemstones and minerals. I have also gone on sprees buying up clothes. I charged up $20,000 in credit card bills back in 93-94. They kept sending me pre-approved credit card offers, and though I listed myself as being unemployed, they kept sending me cards. As a result, I can't even buy a piece of gum on credit anymore. When I had charged all the credit cards I could, I began writing bad checks off of my credit card account. This little series of incidents landed me in jail and kinda/sorta shook me out of my fog. For a while, at least.
The depression was most prominent over the following years, but the mania would surface from time to time when I would receive offers from book clubs. I ordered so many books from so many clubs, and never paid for any of them. I am not sure if the kleptomania was a symptom of my manic-depressive disorder, or was merely an issue all on its' own.
It was thirteen years later when my mania got out of hand again. I had begun stealing things, because my husband had taken control of our finances and had taken me off our checking account altogether; I had no access to money and he didn't even give me an allowance--a state of financial affairs that continues still today. Even now, I do good to get $20 a month from my husband; he won't even let me go to the grocery store alone. I really hate being chaperoned, as I am someone who craves solitude so much.
Back to the stealing. It started with tampons, , with my theory being I didn't eat the apple, so I shouldn't pay for the sins of Eve. If God wants me to bleed once a month, then let him supply me with the tampons. Yeah, silly as hell. But this "innocent" stealing got so out of hand that I was unable to go anywhere without stealing something, even if it was something I didn't need. I stole a packet of drywall screws from a hardware store once. I would pick something up and carry it around with me, arguing within myself that I needed to put it back. I would even lay it down sometimes, but would turn around and go pick it back up. I really couldn't stop. I was caught shoplifting at a grocery store; I stole a bottle of Burt's Bees body wash and a pack of fire-starter sticks. It all worked out, as I only had a fine to pay and community service to do, but it forced me to go back into therapy. I dropped out of the psychotherapy as soon as my court date had passed, as I felt so much guilt for having my husband to have to pay the shrink's office bills. So I just get my family physician to prescribe the medicine for me. I am monitoring my condition myself, and think I am doing pretty well. I recently began to go manic again, and it was at that time I went back to my family doctor before I got "bad" again. I think this action of itself shows I am becoming more aware of my mood-swings and am taking more control of my life.
My mother still treats my therapy and treatment as some sort of dark family secret. And this still bothers me, as I feel like a social defect. I had planned out my own death at one point; I was going to lock myself in the garage and just crank the car up--with a hose running from the exhaust to a cracked window. I saw it in a movie once, that way; I believe it was The Client starring Susan Serandon and Tommy Lee Jones.
Everyday is a struggle and I am more often depressed than manic. But I get in trouble less this way.