Tag Archives: cyclothymia

yesterday’s google searches …

… and my responses …

social anxiety can’t smile

I hear you on this. Smiling can be really, really hard, especially for photographs.

For photos I get really anxious beforehand because I’m worried how they’ll turn out, and this anxiety, in turn, makes it almost impossible to relax and smile. So I avoid them at all costs. I use excuses like “I’m the least photogenic person” or “I’m camera shy” to get out of them. I think people think I’m weird when I say things like that.

The only time I really feel comfortable when taking pictures is when I’m wearing sunglasses. I hold a lot of my pain and anxiety in my eyes, and I can pretty much cover the anxiety up everywhere else but there. My eyes don’t lie.

As far as smiling when you greet someone: just do what you can. You don’t need to produce a full smile. Just curl the corners of your mouth up a bit.

Make it look like you want to smile.

i lied to my girlfriend about my past

Everybody has things they want to hide from their past, and I think it’s not good to reveal things too quickly with someone. Our partners don’t need to know every little detail about everything.

With that said, I’m guessing you probably covered up something big, because otherwise you wouldn’t be searching for advice on Google. I don’t think it’s ever too late to open up and confess a lie. I’ve definitely had to make some difficult confessions. They were really hard, but I felt so much better afterward. You’d be surprised how forgiving people can be.

Give this some thought. How important is your girlfriend to you? Is she someone you can trust? Has she been there for you?

Again, everybody keeps some things tightly wrapped up. I’m afraid of my past, but it’s always there, guiding me in the present. You can’t run from it. But if it’s too painful you can cover it up. You probably had a good reason to lie. Maybe you were ashamed. Maybe you thought your girlfriend wouldn’t want to be with you anymore. If she really is important to you and you can trust her, I would open up to her. You’ll feel a lot better.

does cyclothymia get better?

This is an interesting question and one that isn’t easy for me to answer. I’ve been managing the disorder a long time (and it’s been pretty bad for at least the last year), but I just got the diagnosis a few weeks ago. So not only am I not qualified to answer this, but I don’t have much experience with it either.

But I’ve still got an opinion.

The question really is: Is Cyclothymia a mood disorder or a psychological disorder? If it’s the former then it’s more of a chemical imbalance that should be treated with medication. If it’s the latter it should be treated with psychotherapy. But let’s not think in absolutes because the world never ever works like that. Let’s just say it’s both. Meaning: There’s probably some chemical imbalance that’s been exasperated by our experiences; thus, a combination of drugs and therapy should be used to manage it.

I use the word manage because I don’t think it will ever go away. Yes, things can get better, but I don’t believe mood swings will ever disappear.

I mean, it’s okay to feel sad sometimes, and it’s okay to feel happy and euphoric sometimes, too. As long as you are somewhat content with the swings and they don’t control your life, the disorder is manageable.

I’m not there yet, and it may take a while for me to get to that point, but I’m hopeful (when I’m feeling good, at least) that I’ll be able to get there.

Some day.

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camping

I went camping in Big Basin over the weekend with a friend (Ms. M), my girlfriend, her brother, and two of his friends. It was rough weekend.

I hadn’t seen Ms. M. for quite some time, and, honestly, I think that my girlfriend connects more with her than I do at this point. But since I have very few friends, I’m very protective of the ones I have, so I’ve tried to keep my girlfriend and Ms. M. somewhat apart. (Which is a separate issue altogether.) Anyway, I rode down with her on Saturday, and it didn’t go well.

I put a lot of pressure on myself to try to somewhat reconnect with her. I had to say the right things. I had to be funny, witty, and interesting. I put so much pressure on myself and I worked myself up so much beforehand that I had to take something. I wanted to take an Ativan, but I took Propranolol by mistake. All my pills are getting mixed up because I have to cut them and I keep all of the cut halves together, in the pill cutter.

Mental note: pink = Ativan, round and white = Propranolol, triangle = Lamictal. Or maybe that’s pink = Propranolol, round = … ?

Anyhow, I didn’t live up to my expectations on the car ride. I didn’t always say the right things (I never do), and I wasn’t funny enough or witty enough or even interesting (I never am, never am, never am); and thus, I was very anxious throughout the ride. I think the second I got in the car in fact, I just wanted to be somewhere else. It was a different kind of hell being in that car with her, but it was still hell.

When we got to the campground, I stopped worrying about conversing with Ms. M. and started worrying about meeting my girlfriend’s brother’s girlfriend and her friend. They arrived with my girlfriend a day earlier. I was actually supposed to go with them but I avoided it, opting instead to ride with Ms. M. on Saturday.

Once I got through the formal introductions (which I think I’m great at)–

  • To my girlfriend’s brother’s girlfriend: “It’s nice to meet you.” (Smile, shake hand.)
  • To my girlfriend’s brother: “It’s nice to see you again. (Smile, shake hand.)
  • To my girlfriend’s brother’s girlfriend’s friend: “It’s nice to meet you.” (Smile, shake hand.)
  • To my girlfriend: “I missed you.” (Smile, hug, kiss.)

–I didn’t know what to do, what to say, or how to act. I wanted so much to make a good impression, but I really just sat there at the picnic table while everybody else conversed. I didn’t need to be there. Nobody cared.

After a quick breakfast, Ms. M., my girlfriend, and I went to Santa Cruz so they could register for the triathlon. I wasn’t in it but I wasn’t about to stay behind with the others. On the drive into town, I sat in the back, while my girlfriend and Ms. M. conversed, while I consciously told myself I wasn’t going to compete with them (or anyone) to say things: instead, I’ll just be quiet until there’s an opening. What that really meant: I just won’t talk and feel like shit because I’m not talking. I just stared out the window, wondering how I’d get through the weekend and why I was there to begin with. They acknowledged me once during the whole ride, commenting about how quiet I was.

I didn’t need to be there.

Back at the campground, I avoid conversation by taking a nap–and by that I mean I pretended to. I stayed awake, hoping that someone would say something bad about me so I could confirm my suspicion that I am a piece of shit. It didn’t happen, though, but then again, no one seemed to mind that I wasn’t around. I got up around 5:00 to help make dinner.

After dinner we all sat around the fire talking–everybody except me, that is. I didn’t say much to anyone the rest of the night.

Put simple, I felt very depressed throughout the day. But was my depression caused by my anxiety, or was it a mood swing? Probably both. I binged on Friday night and felt like shit (even more depressed) in the morning, and I think I went into the weekend feeling depressed, because of a mood swing, and then that depression made it even more difficult to engage socially, which, in turn, brought me down even further.

I barely slept that night, but I woke up on Sunday feeling a lot better. My girlfriend and Ms. M. left early for the triathlon, while I stayed behind to help the others pack up the campground. I ended up staying with them most of the day, watching the triathlon. I never really felt comfortable but I got by.

Pic of the athletes warming up:

I love watching endurance events because everyone gets so emotional. At the end of the race, I hung out by myself watching the runners cross the finish line. Some laughed. Some cried. Some shouted. Each one evoked emotion inside of me, and I started crying at one point. It was therapeutic.

When my friend crossed the finish line I gave her a big hug. I felt the connection between us. It felt good.

On the ride home, my elevated mood rose even higher. I couldn’t stop talking. What’s more, I was witty and funny and interesting and felt no anxiety, and I didn’t really want to say goodbye.

Overall, Sunday was a much different day than Saturday. On Saturday I felt so depressed I couldn’t converse with anyone, and during the night I felt suicidal. I didn’t feel even the least bit depressed on Sunday. I sought out social situations and spoke up rather than hide.

I hope others didn’t notice this swing.

Finally, I want to end with some positive thinking. I don’t think my girlfriend’s brother’s girlfriend liked me very much. I don’t really know why I think this, but I could just sense it. She didn’t really talk to me much and when she did it felt forced and she gave me some funny looks. I know it could be anything, but I’m interpreting it negatively. Interestingly, I feel somewhat okay with that–I’m not a bad person because someone doesn’t like me. There isn’t something inherently wrong with me because someone doesn’t like me. I don’t need to change something every time I come across someone who doesn’t like me.

Rinse. Repeat.

I hope everyone’s day went well, and I hope this good mood of mine lasts for a few more days!

tuesday’s binge

On Monday I was super productive during the day. I spent over seven hours in the library getting caught up on school work, free reading, and working on my blog. On Monday night I started crashing. I felt it first while watching a Star Trek movie. I felt lethargic. And sad. Very sad. After the movie, my girlfriend and I decided to go for a walk. I put on my shoes and grabbed my cell phone and noticed that my mom had called. That’s when it hit me hard. That’s when I knew. It only took a few seconds, but I imagined my entire conversation with my mom: what I’ll say, how she’ll respond, how I’ll respond to her response etc. I imagined telling her how I really feel. How depressed I really am.

I felt very tired on our walk, and later, while we were reading in bed, I leaned over, rested my head on girlfriend, and cried a bit.

Yesterday, in the library, my feelings increased: I feel weak. I feel flat. I feel depressed. I have no energy. I have no desire to do anything. I have nothing. Thoughts kept coming, and when I finally pushed them aside, I pressed my eyes into my hands. Tears came. Pushing harder, more tears came out. I felt like I was squeezing a lemon for its juice.

I wondered what I’d done to deserve this.

I watched people in the library. Going from person to person, finally settling on one. Male. Tall. Muscular. He was reading a thick novel. I could see him smiling so he must have been happy. I wanted to follow him the rest of the day, watching his life unfold. Maybe if I follow him long enough I’ll become him?

I pushed my thoughts aside again and spent another few hours in the library. Then I went home, grabbed my bike, and rode to the store.

This is what I picked up–

That’s 28 oz of ice cream, plus a large vegetarian sandwich with everything on Dutch crunch. ~2000 calories

I didn’t feel much at all afterward. I know I should have felt something. Like sadness or regret or shame. But I didn’t, and I actually felt bad that I wasn’t feeling anything. I think I was just content. I didn’t really feel anything until my girlfriend called like twenty minutes later, and even then, the feelings weren’t about myself: I felt like I had let her down.

After we talked, I went right back up to the library and started working again, as if the binge had never happened.