Depressive or shy? Bubbly personality or Hypomania? Seasonal Affective Disorder or Bipolar? Introspective or antisocial…
how the psychiatric community is failing us
Find Joy in the beauty around you,they say, in the rising of the sun, the rustle of the leaves, the cacophony of birdsong that accompanies the first rays of light…In your family, your dog, your garden, long beach walks, a perfect cup of coffee, sharing a great book with a friend…
And then, when you have found such tremendous, overwhelming, humbling joy that you are filled with a radiance belying the sorrow which only moments ago had engulfed you, they say “Oh my, this looks like a mood disorder. Look how you have gone from sorrow to overwhelming joy! This cannot be possible. There must be some demon within you. We must medicate you to eradicate this demon that has allowed you to see and experience the very joy we espouse but have never truly known.”
And all you can do is sit with tears streaming down your face, wondering why no one understands the incredible beauty God has created has made all past and future sorrows impotent in that moment, that miracles happen every second, and that a small fragment of joy is a Gift great enough to bring happy tears to your eyes because you’ve discovered that God’s Grace is indeed limitless.
Those moments of euphoric, unparalleled joy are the Gift that reminds me how beautiful life can be. Why must I repeatedly be labeled and punished for finding inexpressible joy in trivial moments, for trying to fit as much as possible into every second I’m able to function, because I don’t know how many seconds I’ll have before my next attack? Why must I fight to prove my sanity because it is my fate to regularly experience such depths of pain and incapacitating fatigue that I strive to discover an equal height of joy in commonplace experiences? How has this striving to stay connected, grateful, and joyful, in the face of losing everything that mattered to me at the hands of an insecure husband, become a question of “Hypomania?”
Oh, and did I mention, periodic Hypomania is a classic symptom of PTSD? Wonder why so many therapists haven’t heard of that. Guess I use Google better than them….
“PTSD: Many people with PTSD experience high anxiety, high levels of stress hormone (cortisol), high adrenaline, and rapid beta brain waves. This may make a person seem stressed, on edge, and the person may clearly be overstimulated. Due to the stress response by the body and blocking of the “trauma” a person’s body may flood with adrenaline, giving them excess “anxious” energy. As enough adrenaline accumulates in the body, a person can develop a PTSD-induced hypomania. In this case, the person doesn’t have bipolar disorder, rather hypomania that was caused by their trauma. As the person learns how to overcome PTSD or some good coping techniques, they can achieve a more stable mood.” Mental Health Daily
And I HAVE those coping techniques. Which is apparently why she “didn’t see PTSD.” I greeted her politely with a smile on my face and a firm handshake. I didn’t pick my nails or glance furtively about the room. When she asked if I’m sleeping ok, I said I am now, and told her the coping techniques that have improved my sleep. When I became upset discussing my marriage I was able to hold myself together. I did not dissolve into a puddle of tears on her floor in retelling my story – due to the highly effective coping techniques I have developed over a lifetime, and carefully honed over the past three years. And when I found myself crying uncontrollably in the parking lot after I was triggered for the second time by the “professional” I had hired to help me, I used those skills to bring myself back to center in less than ten minutes.