Please help me!
I’m a 39 year old school teacher, and I feel that I have BPD. Please hear my story.
I did learn that BPD tends to run in families. My brother had been diagnosed with BPD in 2002. I can remember him taking what he called his “Stinky Pills” around Thanksgiving of 2002. He called them his “Stinky Pills” because they had a particular odor to them. He mentioned that they made him feel very tired, and he stopped taking them after around 5 months. He died of a cocaine overdose in the winter of 2006.
I suspect that my mother had BPD. I can confirm that she had been taking Prozac at some point during my childhood, and she always had some bizarre behavior: wild ups and downs, spending sprees, wacky laughing fits, etc. Mom had been a strong drinker and passed at age 63.
I was editing an online Psychiatrist’s journal (an online friend of mine), and what I read made my blood run cold. It was as if the entire world had slowed down and stopped. What I had had been reading was a description of Cyclothymia. I just sat there and stared at the monitor. I muttered under my breath, “my God….that’s me.” A very mixed feeling washed over me. I felt as if I had finally been given an answer to questions that I had been struggling with for my entire adult life. All of the following signs (taken from the NIMH web page) seem to fit me in one way or another, often several at the same time.
· Unusually good mood or cheerfulness (euphoria/silly sprees)
· Unusual enthusiasm for interpersonal or social interactions
· Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
· Decreased need for sleep
· Nearly constant talking
· Racing thoughts
· Tendency to be distracted
· Driven engagement in work, relationships or hobbies
· Physical agitation
· Excessive involvement in pleasurable or risky activities
· Persistent feelings of sadness/persistent irritability
· Diminished interest or pleasure in all or most activities
· Difficulty sleeping
· Excessive sleeping
· Physical agitation or physical slowing down
· Loss of energy
· Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
· Thoughts of death or suicide
Here’s some of my background. I had been diagnosed at age 13 with some form of depression. I spent two weeks in a hospital at age 13 and another week in the hospital at age 15. During those extremely turbulent years, I had a lot of cormorbid drug/alcohol use.
Starting in high school, I began to experience a fair amount of life-of-the-party mood swings. I’ve always been very articulate, and I have a very rich sense of humor, so the fact that I could fire out pun-after-pun didn’t seem unusual….until I started to learn about BPD. The ups in my life seem to be growing with a life of their own.
I had been plugging-away at my teaching certification for years. When I had finally earned it, I was hired. Four years ago, I was hired by a local school system to teach. That’s when the cat really got let out of the bag. I can remember having the following “thing” happen at least 15 times during the last 4 or so years. I would get so involved in what I was teaching, so intense, that this tidal-wave of emotion would flow over me. I can remember having my eyes well up while giving direct instruction. I felt so intense that my hands started to shake a bit. I sort of felt godly during those moments. Of late, those moments are happening more often. During the summer work that I do, I would have these waves of incredible self-esteem wash over me. I would walk around the warehouse supercharged, feeling like I was a game show host. During these esteem-flashes, my popularity skyrockets. I talk to perfect strangers (something I don’t do all the time). I am very social and outgoing when I am up. When I am up, I just sort of glow.
At my during-the-year teaching job, I got a few informal reprimands for talking too much/motor mouth. At times, I feel this odd sort of undertow to keep talking. In addition, my wife regularly tells me that I speaking too loudly. I have done a fair amount of research on the topic, and I learned that it is called pressured speech. Those pressured speech moments come and go. I don’t have them all the time.
I’ve also been given a few informal reprimands at work for becoming too silly. At times, silly-goofy-Dionysius seems to take over me. At other times, I am not up, and I just feel run-of-the-mill. When I am “up,” I can also be extremely cranky. My wife has mentioned this countless times. This served as a bit of a wake up call to the fact that I may have a problem.
I have a history of making poor decision when I am up: making passes at friends girlfriends, flirting with taken women, buying items, etc. When I am up, and when I was single, I tended to be very sexually daring. I also had a few violent outbursts….I’m talking rage…not just anger. I even followed a guy into his work after he had cut me off in a parking lot and took my space: I was doing a lot of bodybuilding at the time, so I attributed it to having been taking DHEA. Perhaps not. I was lucky that they did not call the police on me.
For as far as I can remember, I have had racing thoughts….I was taking Ritalin for a while, and it helped me to focus, but I had to see the doctor every month to get a refill…and the costs began to add up. So I stopped refilling the prescriptions.
When I am up, I tend to become Mr. Super-Worker. I feel supercharged, and I attack my work with super-human zeal. I just get focused on a task, and I attack it. All the while, my mood skyrockets. I just float along in this warm-loving glow, happy as a clam to keep busy. When I am up in the classroom, my mental clarity is amazing. I feel like the teacher-of-the century. My mind becomes razor sharp. It’s like I am daring the students to come up with a question that I cannot answer. Everything tends to go VERY well on those days. When I am up, everything seems to just be so much more. My emotion, feelings, and ability to appreciate things seem to reach a new dimension. EVERTHING seems to be so much more. It’s surreal. Music seems to take on a new quality. I don’t feel that I am Napoleon or anything like that, and I always remember who/what I am, but it does feel extraordinary.
When I am up, I want sex or I ********* a lot. Also, when I am up, I tend to focus on these little activities….it’s like I am hungry for them….****ography, computer gaming, exercise, music, writing on a few blogs, researching topics….all the activities I relish. I will get stuck in these odd “focus binges” where I glue myself to an activity for hours/days on end. They draw me away from what I should be doing at times. It’s like I become some sort of pleasure-junkie, my ID screaming out for satiation.
When I am down, I sometimes feel like I am crushed, and I have been told that I overact to small, trivial things. I will often cry to songs on the radio. I will feel worthless, empty, and helpless. I will hate myself. I sometimes struggle to fall asleep. My appetite will drop….only to feel ravenously hungry later on. I will lose interest in doing the things that I normally enjoy. At times, I fear that I will lose the will to live. It’s as if things will never get better. When I am really down, I want to die….but that only lasts for a few hours….no more than 4 or so…those feelings usually happen when I am home, after I argue with my wife. I often feel in a fog, and I struggle for words. At times, I am hyper sensitive to her changes in moods. When we fight, I often feel persecuted. I can feel both this low and that high in any given day, at times.
My wife seems to be at her wit’s end with my mood swings. When I mentioned this to our marriage counselor (a LCSW), he felt that I would probably get a diagnosis of BP 2. My cousin, a psychiatrist, agreed. He said that he felt that I was a lot more like my brother than previously expected. That shocked me. He said that I was not just barking up the wrong tree. He corroborated my findings.
It seems that when I start to get in a good mood, my mood/esteem skyrockets. And when I start to sink (over very trivial things, mind you), I fall hard. My wife confirmed this yet again today. I skyrocket and deflate in the same day….regularly. I know that my ups and downs interfere with my work, my marriage, my life, and my overall happiness.
Now that I am becoming aware, I think that I am seeing some patterns to my moods. It seems like events will trigger a change in mood. I can float along feeling normal, but if something starts to make me feel up, then my mood tends to skyrocket. And if something starts to bother me, more often than not, I sink. I know one thing for sure, my moods fluctuate wildly. At other times, odd moods will wash over me for no reason.
I feel that I have been extremely up for the last 7 or so days. My wife says that I am still the same: up and down and up and down. I feel much more up than down, though. Then again, she’s not in my head, but I can’t see things from her perspective. Hmm.
I have made an appointment with a psychiatrist to get a proper evaluation, but I have to wait until mid August.
What do you guys say? Do these behaviors echo your own? Also, what can I do to help myself before I get my formal diagnosis?
I shrunk the size of your text, because it was too large to read
Post Edited By Moderator (olivia of course) : 6/20/2007 8:22:08 PM (GMT-6)