Bipolar Disorder Community
Normal State - Really?
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Bipolar Disorder is also known as "Manic Depressive Disorder". This forum is for questions and support for people with, or for loved ones of people with Bipolar Disorder. The forum covers topics ranging from Aggressive Behavior, Affect on friends and Family, Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Appetite Changes, Chronic Pain, Denial, Depression, Difficulty Concentrating, Euphoria, Guilt, Manic Depression, Medications, Mood Swings, Poor Judgment, and Sleep Disorders

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Normal State - Really?

Is there such thing as a "normal" state...I mean, really?  there are times when I feel less manic/depressed - but is that what normal feels like?  More and more it seems like my manic states are shorter and my depressed states longer.  I'm sure folks can relate, but i am so tired - mentally and physically - of going back to Pdoc to have yet one more adjustment in meds or another added/subtracted.  If the choices are doc visits or trying to manage the increasing manic/depressed episodes and hoping something resembling "normal" is in there somewhere, I'm inclined to try and manage on my own with what I'm on now.

So remind me again, what does normal look/feel like?
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18 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
I wonder the same thing all of the time.  I don't know that I have ever been "normal" so I wouldn't know what that feels like.  It's hard to keep going back and forth on meds to attain some level of "normal".  It's almost like you get jealous of "normal" people because they just get to be who they are without trying to medicate yourself into who you are.  

It's hard, and I believe most of us have times like this - questioning everything and being exhausted by the disorder.  I know I am!  I question so many times what stable is - am I there?  Am I leaving stable to go into another episode.  It's exhausting to constantly check yourself.  
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202665_tn?1248810333
I read an article today about how people that are BiPolar have much more vivd and detailed dreams.  they are also more likely to have nightmares and even though night terrors are typically in children, it also occurs in adults with BP.

I have to say that i like the manic phases - don't like that I can't sleep and just walk around all night - but when I do sleep, I also hate that I do not dream in s much detail as before.  Probably odd to say, but i almost miss the nightmares and hallucinations.  at least when I had those it reminded me i'm alive.  on meds, sometimes it just feels like I'm walking through the day not feeling anything.
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952564_tn?1268372247
I will agree there are a lot of nightmares. Just the past three nights I've been having nightmares that keep me in a half wake/sleep state and I don't feel well because of it.

I don't know what normal is, either. I can tell that I do not do as well as I used to, no matter what my mood. I don't know what is wrong, but I do know that something is wrong and I used to be better than I am now in areas that used to be really strong for me, like memory and concentration. It is scary and I don't know what to expect anymore.
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Avatar_m_tn
I can honestly say that there is a state of normal. Ever since I was put on my newest medication I feel like this. I don't remember the last time, if ever, that I felt like this. The best way to describe it is that I no longer feel extreme. Before, I would be okay feeling but then instantly spiral into a suicidal depression or violent rages with extreme sickness and energy (that eventually resulted in deep depression). I could very easily cry for hours EVERY DAY and not be able to get out of bed.
After taking this new med, I suddenly feel so much more calm, I don't cry like before, sleeping normal, HAPPY, not depression spirals, not obsessed with absolute structure and I don't always feel like I always have to be perfect, .
My head is playing tricks and making up memories for me a little bit, but it's negligible.
I know that feeling of believing things will never be normal. However, don't lose hope; what you're looking for is obtainable. I don't know how long it will take but I'm sure there has to be something that will work.
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Avatar_f_tn
Share what you have been prescribed, if you don't mind!
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Avatar_m_tn
i agree with you..i think about wtf is normal...i wished someone knew this

and post it for us all...i was recently put back on lithiem went toxic in 08..now sit and worry..so yes i do to understand..i,d rather be mainc then down like you gt..im more down than ever hypomaninc...my pdoc said i was bp 1,2  there is no 1 or 2 ur 1 or the other..im bp2 all the way...so i gt mabey 3 monthes out of the year hypomanic..and belive me  I LOVE IT!! it dont last though....

and the real kick in the ***..is that bp is just 1 of our problems but takes everything we have to gt were we are...what about living..or pains..pleasing the ones we love...i agree it ***** beekeeper....
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202665_tn?1248810333
One of the things that bothers me are the medd.  I mean...was I not normal before I started taking them?  If the meds have "changed" me to deal iwth BP or BPD or whatever...am I really the same person I was before?  So you look around and think to yourself...people can only deal with me - consider me "normal" as long as I take a couple handful of pills each day?  Well now that just *****.  i get to the point of not even knowing who the real me is...the medicated one or the unmedicated one.
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Avatar_f_tn
One of the thing my therapist is trying to "help" me with is finding my true identity - who am I????  Well, with medication and all, WHO KNOWS???  I surely don't know who I am!!

It's like we have a medicated personality.  
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Avatar_f_tn
My "normal" is when I'm not depressed - although I may be sad and annoyed and pissed off - or when I'm not manic - although I may be happy and loud and active.

Normal is when I can control how I feel, I can make a choice to not be irritable and I won't be. When I'm irritable because of my "mood imbalance" I can tell the difference. It really does feel like I don't have a choice.

and mostly normal is when i'm not thinking about bipolar or mood or energy or sleep or anything to do with bipolar 2.

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952564_tn?1268372247
I disagree that people who have bipolar don't really have a "self" other than medicated or not medicated. There are a lot of things about me that are not bipolar things. I'm a mom and a wife, but also a writer and I like to be funny and make people laugh. I love games and just hanging out. I know at the core I'ma pretty mellow person and I like to move slow on things, take my time, and just relax. These are things that are true about me that are not bipolar things. And they are not medicine things, either.

When I have hypo/mania I am irritable, snippy, easy to be angry, crawling out of my skin, pacing the floor, with my brain racing. When I'm depressed I feel like I'm crushed under a rock and crying at the drop of a hat. The confusion, lack of focus, memory loss, etc. all come with the episodes.

So I know who I am. I am a woman who just happens to have bipolar.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm trying to get to that place, too.  I know I am a Mom, wife, sister, student, employee, and friend, but it's the deep part that I have issues with.  I have become more "self-aware" lately, and that's a good thing.  My therapist says I am a chameleon (adjust myself for the situation), and that I need to find my true identity (I guess that's like from the old days of "finding yourself").  

My problem during the last 6 months is the rapid cycling that keeps me confused.  Sometimes (especially since having problems with Geodon) is that I stay confused or dazed.  What I was talking about is that the medications help us to stay "stable" and I guess it's a deep question is that is the unmedicated self the true self or is the medicated self the true person.  I think a lot of us question that.  

Personally, I think the medicated (when stable) person is my true person.  I have always been described as "eccentric", but a lot of that was during times before my diagnosis.  And honestly, it's when I wasn't stable.  Now, I am more calm and reserved and I feel more comfortable that way.  

I have been taken off Geodon and I feel more clear and that's helping me a lot.  If I can become level and stay there, I think that's who I am supposed to be.  I was stable for a long time and then lovely Geodon came into the picture and I started having problems again.  HOPEFULLY, that won't be the case soon.  
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952564_tn?1268372247
Due to my treatment not going well, and I guess really never having been treated, I guess I see it differently. Both the treated and untreated person is you. The difference is that the untreated person is the one that shows the illness. Just like a person with untreated diabetes, they have sever mood swings too. When their blood sugar is high for so long they feel sick all the time but they get used to feeling sick so they don't realize anything is wrong. Then they come in and change their diet, put on insulin, whatever. Suddenly their blood sugar is much lower, even though not normal range. They feel sick, they complain they feel terrible, they don't feel "normal." But the "normal" feeling they get used to is actually the bad dangerous thing. But, that doesn't mean everything else inside them is different. They still have the same views, dreams, and so on.

When I was a kid I made up this idea I was two people. One person was the ugly hideous monster that was the outer shell of my body. That was the person everyone saw and no one liked because I was not trendy or "pretty," I acted weird and was sad a lot and shy. The inside was this beautiful girl who could sing, write, tell jokes, and was nice and wonderful, but no one could see her so she was in a cage inside of me somewhere. Anyway, I was both things. I was the ugly (depression, delusions, bad self-esteem, hopeless,) and the beautiful (creative, funny, nice,) and it took a long time for me to come to terms with that. All of it is me. Even if I find a good treatment that works for me and become stable, I am still both of those things. All of those things made me who I am now.
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Avatar_f_tn
WOW!  That was awesome!  I don't think I have ever had it explained so well.  You are so right - we are both people.  I think a lot of the identity crisis is trying to avoid the bad things that might have happened or will happen (like a coping mechanism, I suppose).  

You did a fantastic job at explaining that!  It hit home to me because my husband has diabetes and he is a grump when his blood sugar isn't right, but not when it's normal.  He isn't a different person, he just reacts differently when his body is not in balance.  I guess I sometimes forget that a lot of our disorder is body chemistry, too.  

Thanks!
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952564_tn?1268372247
I'm glad it helped. :) I think sometimes when we get diagnosed with something we feel consumed by it, so it is important to remember you're still there. We're all still here. And "normal" is subjective.
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Avatar_m_tn
I think normal is an individual thing and not a universal thing.  Such as when you say someone isn't acting normal you should mean  that they aren't acting themselves.
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585414_tn?1288944902
I would say stability is key more than normalcy but for me I could tell but judging how people reacted and learning to understand their reactions as well and why. That was a mitigation of the negative symptoms of schizoaffective. As well I had some sense of why some past thoughts I had were completely delusional that were no longer present. The mood swings of course remain something else to be coped with but I can realize when they are approaching and learn how to not let them take over me. The other thing that was an essential thing for me is I no longer has this fear of my psychiatrist as a terrifying person who was trying to take control over me. I know everyone has different psychiatrists and some are better than other and I had seen ones in the past that were less than helpful but part of it was my understanding and approach to it as well. The more I saw them as there to help me the better the response I got.
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1355570_tn?1277290529
I know what I am...mom, sister, daughter...but I don't know who I am. It is hard to explain. All of my life I referred to myself as capricious. I had no favorite anything. My preferences changed frequently. I would be excited about something, then months or so later I would have no interest. My friends can tell me what their hobbies, favorite foods, preferred past times, etc. They have consistent interests and can track some of their interests back to childhood. I have no such permanent references. Who am I? I am not capricious. My "interests" change as frequently as my moods. I can not control my brain-it controls me. I do not know what normal feels like. I often wish I knew normal and me. I know what I am, what I am not-but i have no idea who I AM.
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909415_tn?1390585342
Nobody throw their boots at me, but I'm reminded of a quote from the movie, "Tombstone", at the end where Doc Holliday asked Wyatt Earp what he wanted and Wyatt replied, "A normal life."  Doc replies, "There is no normal life,,there's just life."  Maybe that's just the words of a defeated man that's dying of TB, but maybe there's some truth there too.
I have often wondered about the "me" before meds and the "me" after meds.  I'm sure I'm different.  I think one of the things we do after we're diagnosed (at least this is true for me) is we analyze EVERYTHING WE DO to see if we're starting to tilt one way or the other.  Maybe that's healthy, maybe it's cautious, maybe it's paranoid, who knows?
I'm trying (emphasis on "trying") to just be who I am, moment to moment.  I know it sounds like a stupid song lyric, and it probably is somewhere.  I just blew up at someone, c'est la vie.  I've been up till 3am the last 3 days working on 3 hours of sleep a night, c'est la guerre.  
Normal and I have not spent a day or night together for 30 years.  I'm mad at her, and if she never comes back, her loss, but I'm keeping the china.
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