How far can my loved ones understand me when it comes to my disorder? Sometimes I think they get it, other times…not so much. When I am manic, for example, no one takes my credit card and tells me to stay in the house and not do “outrageous things” like spending sprees. However, if I get depressed and have one sliding thought of death, people are quick to take my medications away. Both things, in my opinion, are equally dangerous, so why be “picky” of one thing over another? Simply because there is a thought of suicide or just death does not mean my pills have to be taken away (my parents like to snatch my pills if I’m depressed in fear of me overdosing on them), it simply means I had a thought and that it is not necessarily something that will be carried out. I want my loved ones to understand that there are different levels of depression and mania and that even a simple negative thought should not lead to major actions against my will.
For me, there have been two levels of mania I had experienced and fortunate enough to not have experienced full blown mania. There are also three levels of depression. I can have mild, medium, or high levels. For mild mania, I experience racing thoughts and having difficulty when I am talking as well as not sleeping as much as I should be. In medium mania I have the same symptoms as mild mania, but add in spending sprees and increased sexual drive. As far as high mania I can say I am fortunate enough to not have experienced a full blown manic episode.
In regards to depression, mild depression for me includes excessive crying and feeling sad. When I am alone I want to be with others and when with others I want to be alone. Going to work is highly difficult. I may also have what I call “sliding thoughts” of suicide, but nothing I would act on. The way I experience medium depression is similar, but I would add in lots of extra sleep and loss of appetite. Lastly, my form of major depression includes mild and medium depression symptoms, but could also include attempts at suicide.
However, I am lucky enough to have these “spells” not last long. Most of the time, my mood is “normal” and I am not manic or depressed. I call this a mainstream state of mind. Although, I tell close ones even when mainstream, I tend to hear voices. It comes and goes and I do not see a pattern. Whatever state I happen to be in during that moment, I do not expect my loved ones to understand everything, but I expect them to believe me when I tell them something. Sometimes that does not happen and it can be highly frustrating. If I can recommend anything to loved ones, it is to listen. In having this disorder, I sometimes hide my feelings, true…but I never hide the facts.