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10/22/2009 11:18 PM

The constant and fruitless search

inkaduPosts: 15
New Member

Hi... This message is part introduction part gripe.

I've had bipolar 2 which has manifested itself as chronic depression for almost my entire life.

My big problem isn't that I get terribly depressed (although I do). No, my big problem is that I'm never terribly well. I almost never have anything I want to do. When I was a child, I was chronically bored with everything. I knew that healthy children had something called hobbies, so I tried them -- knot tying, stamp collecting... but I wasn't really interested. I was just trying to figure out what other people did to keep amused, and it didn't work for me.

In high school, other kids went to parties and had friends. I mostly stayed at home and avoided everyone. Other kids got jobs in the summer to pay for things. But I didn't want anything, so I didn't see why I should overcome my lack of interest in work in order to subsidize my lack of interest.

I dropped out of college after four-and-a-half years because I just wasn't interested in any of my classes. I wanted to be interested, but, when it came right down to it, I just wasn't.

I don't mean to understate my depression -- because I certainly was completely unable to function during several stretches of my life; but that's OK. I feel like everyone can get depressed, even clinically, and it's OK because they COME OUT OF THE DEPRESSION. They have a life they live, they have things they like to do, they have friend's they've enjoyed time with.

How do you answer that first question on a depression inventory, "Have you lost interest in the things you used to enjoy?" when you can't remember enjoying anything?

I bring this up as my first message because I never feel like I fit in at any of the support groups I've checked into. Other people have jobs, families, things they look forward to; and it makes me feel really left out. Even among people who are supposed to have my illness, I can see that they are better off than I am in a lot of ways, and that really sucks for me... it doesn't make me feel supported at all. It just makes me feel like there is something even MORE wrong with me.

My life has been impossible without that "whatever" I'm looking for. It's difficult to get motivated when I know that it won't matter. No matter how much money I may have, or how many friends, or how many emotional pollen I've gathered on my legs, it just doesn't matter. I just don't enjoy anything. I just can't sustain an interest longer than a few months.

I feel like I can't "grab" onto life, like I'm a train without a track; a catapillar trying to climb glass; a cat on black ice. Other people are moving in life, achieving goals, moving forward, or enjoying where they're at. I'm just sitting in the moors, my feet wet, being rained on and thinking, "Well, so what? I could go somewhere else, but it will be just the same." Meanwhile other people pass me by and say, "Well, you know I'm headed to the mountains over there, it'll be sunny." And I know that they can get there. But I can't. Because for as long as I've walked, it's been the moors.

Does anyone feel that way? Like the chronic everlastingness of it? Like not "getting it" when it comes to life? Because the only place I felt even CLOSE to fitting in was a borderline support group, and then only because most people had their lives completely destroyed. That's what my life is -- completely destroyed... but it didn't explode (like a borderline personality disorder does), but has just been sucked dry by an enormous army of ticks. I'm just looking for people I fit in with, that know where I'm coming from, that can actually offer me support instead of triggering thoughts that there is even something worse wrong with me.


10/22/2009 11:33 PM
inkaduPosts: 15
New Member

Oh, and just some quick things -- I've been treated with anti-depressants in the past. It's either not helpful or kicked me into mania. Last time I tried anti-depressants while on mood-stabilizers I made a marriage proposal to a girl I'd been dating for three weeks and dumped her two days later. So I'm definitely not going on those again.

I do cycle, I realize that, and since I've had the dx of "bipolar 2" (after ... perhaps 12 years of treatment for depression) that I have hypomanic periods, too. And even when I'm "high," I still don't "get it." I have grand plans and I can work like a beaver, but I feel like I'm running towards something or away from something, and it almost never makes sense, based on my past, it never lasts, and it never works; I can do something because I think it might get me somewhere, but almost never because I enjoy it. I have no compass. Everything is as good as anything else, but that means that nothing is also as good as everything... since one direction is as good as another, I'm always drifting in circles.

Here's another example: I think I should like music. And I do. I think. Sort of. So I've tried playing guitar, piano, violin, flute, clarinet, penny whistle, harmonica, djembe ... but I never really enjoy it that much, and can't sustain the effort, so I quit. But I still have this sort-of hankering for it. So I pick up the instrument again, or try another one... and it just goes nowhere. That's basically my life in a nutshell. You know those people who play guitar in a band and they don't know that many chords, but they have fun, and they "love this song..."? I'm not one of those people. I've taken a lot of guitar classes and know a lot of theory, but ask me to strum accompaniment and I don't really know what I'm doing. Why is that? I think it's because the part of my brain that enjoys things is disconnected somehow. But it's not such a WOW! factor as being suicidal on occassion, or having psychotic visions, but it is absolutely and thoroughly debilitating. It's not part of an "up or down" cycle, it's always there, this complete lack of feeling, whether I'm feeling "good" or "bad." It's like a candle without a wick.

Does this sound familiar to anyone?? Is this your bipolar 2??

10/23/2009 03:59 AM
yabbadabbadooPosts: 5
New Member

I relate to you both so much. I have done this for a long time. Being diagnosed with depression as a teenager and being on anti deppressants for fifteen years. They worked for many years until about thirty and looking back I can see that is when things started to change. I was just diagnosed with BP2 last month and reading the list of symptoms and reading forums like this I feel like I have found a missing piece. But finding the answer does not mean I know the answer if you know what I mean.

I have always been a great isolator and when I am social I always feel like an outsider. I stay on the low side of my illness. If there were a horizonal line to represent normal(be nice to know what that is like)I hover just below most the time with dips down sometimes. It is those time that I loose interest and spend alot of time sleeping and avoiding everyone. This is a danger for me.

I have such a hopeful heart in me and it beats loud alot. This hope and probably some delusions have allowed me to make some very poor decisions and I swore they were answers that were the right path. That ended right back where I started or worse off. And this became a pattern for me and more frustrating with each trial but I still had this hopeful heart.

I believe sometimes it was enough just mania to impair my judgement. Other times my beliefs and perspective were off and usually to my advantage that often hurt me or others. And then it is just a desire to be well and that hope that beats in me I thought it was the right path.

I think as lost as I feel in this life and as frustrated as I am I have to find healthy ways to express my hope and deal with my illness. Music is my avenue. And in depression I have lost interest so much I have sold my instruments or sold cds and I love music. I play with my brother and use to play out for some extra cash. Mostly original stuff. I enjoyed it so much. It has its on "buzz" associated with playing, people interested in and singing your stuff. I have to watch myself this can be unhealthy too. I also do clay sculptures. I loose interest in both, I dont always do them. But I believe I would not have this creative imaginative side if I didn't have bipolar. I wish I was normal but I am not. But I want to be better and utilize what I do have to make me better and when I fall I want to try again. I believe the Universe is bigger than this and I do believe I can have a happy healthy life that goes somewhere. But I do have to be wise enough to realize maybe I'm delusional.

That's the thing about hope it never disappoints us. Sure my hopes have been dashed I have even lost all hope but it never fails I seem to always hope again.

Post edited by: yabbadabbadoo, at: 10/23/2009 04:09 AM

Post edited by: yabbadabbadoo, at: 10/23/2009 04:13 AM

Post edited by: yabbadabbadoo, at: 10/23/2009 04:16 AM

10/23/2009 07:33 AM
Posts: 31

I relate to this alot, I very seldom have manias I'm mostly just depressed or like you said never fitting in...... I have no interest or hobbies seems the only time I had fun was when I drank alot and hung with my drinking buddies but for years now that's not even of any interest to me. I feel like I'm just waiting for my time to die I often wonder if I were told that I was dying would I then get the zest for life and want to do things....... I'm glad that you wrote this because I was begining to wonder if I was really Bipolar II because I just don't have the highs and lows anymore just mainly stay low.

10/23/2009 08:48 AM
Posts: 340

Anhedonia is the name. This is a description of me, too. Meds get rid of my deep depression, but I never have a "happy" feeling.

Right now I am settling for contentment, which is sure not a great goal, but it is giving me some rest and relief from the expectation that I should be happy. Is it a pretty day? Okay, take a walk and enjoy the scenery and listen to the birds. Is it my day off? Okay, do something pleasant whether I feel like it or not.

I think that my brain was depressed so early and for so long that my ability to make the "happy chemicals" is shot. That's one theory of the condition, and in my case it seems right (I was a very anxious and unhappy baby, and noticeably depressed at times by the time I was 5).

This article talks about anhedonia in a general way: anhedonia.htm

My pdocs and tdocs have never been very interested in talking about this, either telling me that I'm still depressed and should take more meds or that I'm craving a manic episode. I think that's because they don't have an answer to the problem.

The only medicine recommendation other than the standard ones we've all been on already is Mirapex (the restless leg syndrome drug). I have not been successful getting an Rx for this, so I don't know if it works for anyone.

10/23/2009 08:54 AM
Posts: 340

Okay, so this made me go looking again. The NIMH is doing a study on Mirapex (pramipexole) as an antidepressant!

They are looking for subjects for the study, but won't take bipolar people (HEY! What about us? Smile )

I'm going to ask again and not let the pdoc convince me that I am craving a manic episode.

Since this is going far off your question and may not even be relevant to you (sorry) I'm opening a new thread.

You rock for bringing this up.

Post edited by: Marimac, at: 10/23/2009 08:55 AM

10/23/2009 09:08 AM
inkaduPosts: 15
New Member

yabbadabba - keep on trucking. your situation is different than mine because you had activities you enjoyed, and are still able to enjoy a night out playing music. that's great! but I wouldn't lean too much on bipolarity as having anything to do with creativity. it's not. it's nice to pretend there's a bright side to mental illness, but there really isn't. you'd still be creative without the illness, and you'd be more productive.

kylisa - yeah. bipolar 2 covers a lot of ground... but i like to think of it as chronic depression with a twist of mania. the first step in treating it is to get rid of the mood swings. that's where it seems we both are right now... i think it's hard to up the mood, though, because the anti-depressants tend to make us manic. and that makes me think maybe we're just broken in a deep way that goes beyond a defective sine wave mood pattern.

marimac - yeah, the word is anhedonia. but nobody else knows what it means and doctors don't seem to care very much. it seems to be unrelated to my mood; even when im "active" it's an empty kind of activity. I'm motivated to do things, but it doesn't matter what it is I'm doing; and I'm not particularly motivated to do things like hobbies or regular activities. I'm motivated to do things that take a lot of activity like outdoor work....

Thank you for you theory -- that our brains are missing some chemical... but I'm going to bring this to my pdocs (and I'm sure I'll have several) and see if I can't talk them into treating it separately from depression. The doctors don't seem to get it. They just measure my mood and activity level like I'm some kind of farm animal. Where did you get this idea that Mirapex treats anhedonia?

10/23/2009 09:20 AM
Posts: 340

Looking for anhedonia treatments, you will find a lot of studies about Parkinsons patients who have a very high incidence of it.

Mirapex is apparently effective for a lot of them. Of course, they're going through something totally different in a lot of ways, but it is still a dopamine problem.

10/23/2009 09:25 AM
inkaduPosts: 15
New Member

found this interesting article about anhedonia... ya might want to have a look marimac:

also did my own research on mirapex, so you don't need to answer that one.

10/23/2009 09:28 AM
Posts: 903
Senior Member

inkadu.. I like the way you write, you should do short stories.

I understand what you are saying, and it is really sad. My prayer is that you will reach a state of contentment. Good luck...



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