Himself Alone

@dun_aengus
2022: Nice guy in my early 60s, musician, artist, husband, grandfather, woodworker, animal lover, human appreciatior, writer, scholar, researcher, but on medicare disability for over a decade. ■ I have had a serious, life-long battle with months-long Depression, only occasionally interrupted by very short periods of lighter depression and sleeplessness. ■ I have no mania, or 'normal' hypomania as such. Nevertheless, I have been diagnosed as having Bipolar Type II. I no longer believe that is correct, and my newest psychiatrist doubts it, as well. ■ I also deal with: Anxiety, CPTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), MDD (Major Depressive Disorder), TRD (Treatment Resistant Depression), Hypervigilance, Anhedonia, HSP (Highly Sensitive Person, aka SPS), Chronic Pain, Spinal Stenosis, SVT (Supraventricular Tachycardia), Diabetes Type 2, Asthma, Chronic Illness, AvPD (Avoidant Personality Disorder), ADHD (you know what that means), RSD (Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria), RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder), BFRB (Body Focused Repetitive Behavior: Excoriation and Stimming) , ED (Emotional Dysregulation), GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), Chronic Insomnia, constantly Stimming, etc. I'm Meyers Briggs type: INTJ. I'm a human smorgasbord. ■ Most recently I found out that I am probably Autistic: ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) with PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome), and it could be that this diagnosis (if true) will explain and account for me having so many "separate" mental illnesses; in other words, many of them may only be symptoms, traits, or features of ASD and PDA. I have not had the big medical assessment for it yet, because of the astronomical expense, and at my age, I don't know if I should even bother. ■ I have been on medications for most of the aforementioned diagnosed conditions for decades, and that has led to some real problems at times with drug interactions. ■ I have just recently spent a week in the hospital for having a life-threatening Lithium toxicity, which was due to my psychiatrist's PA (physician's assistant) over-prescribing the medication to me, and then did not follow it with monthly blood tests, as they were medically and legally required to do. It built up in my system to a lethal level, and I severely crashed physically, cognitively, mentally, and emotionally. Six months out of the hospital, I am still recuperating today. ■ It's all a ride...a ride I can't get off of. Peace be with you, and with those you hold dear. ♧ ♧ ♧ (February 18, 2022) ☆☆☆☆☆■ PS: I am here for shared community and hopefully for friendships, but only strictly platonic friendships. ("Penpals" would be great, too, especially if from Ireland, but not required.) I am NOT interested in romance or anything like it, so we can all relax now. I am here to learn about my illness, as well as to support others in their struggles, and hopefully be supported, myself. Friends are deeply appreciated, but no pressure in that direction. Peace be with you all.♧■
Community Voices

Why don't antidepressants and therapy work for me and my depression? Is it something else, C-PTSD or Autism?

I have lived all of my 64 years (that I can remember) being depressed. I didn't know what it was until my 20s, and read a book called REALITY THERAPY which described my symptoms very well, and offered me hope for the first time. I started therapy soon after, but living with depression ever since.

I have been in regular therapy since that time, and have had a wide variety of therapists, and a wide variety of antidepressants in those years. I'm currently on Effexor XR 300mg per day, and have been for over 10 years. It seems to have worked better for me than others I had in the previous years.

Still, the best that I ever feel is what I think 'normal' people feel when they say they're depressed. I call it "neutral", although when I'm questioned by a therapist or doctor, they classify it as 'depressed'. For me, that "neutral" state feels like a huge relief, and a time to freely exhale, and otherwise let my body loose, and to relax. But like I said, the doctors say that I am still depressed then, just not as much as I usually am.

Twenty years ago, a new doctor told me that the reason I wasn't getting better was because I was misdiagnosed, and he diagnosed me with Bipolar type 2. I started on Depakote as a mood stabilizer, and stayed on antidepressants as well. Then came a diagnosis of ADHD, and I have been on Ritalin ever since. I spent decades on the combination and still fought depression every step of the way.

Last year I was switched from Depakote to Lithium, at a high dose, and because doctors didn't check my blood levels each month, I ended up with severe Lithium toxicity, and near death. I was taken to a hospital with a Trauma Center a hundred miles away, and spent the next week there hooked to three IVs, and constant medical attention. I'm still recuperating at home.

My current psychiatrist doesn't agree with the previous Bipolar 2 diagnosis, but thinks it may be something else. C-PTSD seems to fit in a myriad of ways with me. But now I am wondering if even some level of Autism fits with me. It's hard for me to tell what might be actual symptoms that I have, and what might just be coincidences.

If my depression is not coming from 'depression', per sé, but is coming from C-PTSD or Autism, would that explain why the antidepressants and talk therapy over the years have never truly gotten rid of it? Or does it not make any difference, and I'm just whistling in some dark alley somewhere? I don't really have much hope any more that things can ever get any better. ♧


#TreatmentresistantDepression
#Depression #ChronicDepression #Bipolar2Disorder #ADHD #Effexor #lithiumtoxicity #lithium #Misdiagnosed #BipolarDisorder #neurodiverse #MajorDepressiveDisorder #Depression #SocialAnxiety #AdultDiagnosis #AutismDiagnosis #BipolarDisorderDiagnosis #Autism #UndiagnosedAutism #TheNationalAutisticSociety #AutismAcceptance #Anxiety #PTSD #CPTSD #PTSDSupportAndRecovery #ComplexPosttraumaticStressDisorder #Selfdiagnoses

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Community Voices

Do you know your Enneagram type?

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Community Voices

Do you know your Enneagram type?

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Experience With Sleep Paralysis and Derealization as a Kid With Trauma

When I was young — perhaps 8 or 9 years old — I started to have a recurring set of nightmares that felt different to any other. The features were always the same — a garden; flower beds; children; some kind of accident; people screaming. When I woke up, though, the nightmare would continue. I’d be unable to move in my bed, and I could hear a cacophony of voices all talking at once, overlapping each other, right next to my ear and in my head but so clear that I could almost make out their conversations. They were mostly calm apart from one or two; those were screaming in fear or fury, it was hard to tell which. It was so terrifying; I was desperate for it to stop. At the same time, although my eyes were open and I was by every description awake, I could still see the nightmare playing out, almost superimposed on my vision. I didn’t see anything or anyone in the room, but it was like a double-exposure photograph; I could see both. When it finally began to fade, the world felt… wrong. Things felt either too big or too small. I was the size of a pea and my bed was an ocean, stretching beyond the horizon. Then I was too big; I could grasp the sheets in my giant hands but they felt minuscule, or I could feel something small in my hands that wasn’t actually there, quickly changing, again, to something big. All the while, I was absolutely awake, trying desperately to grasp onto some semblance of reality. “I almost believed something supernatural was happening to me.” The final aspect was how everything looked; depth was warped, everything looking too big or too small, too close or too far away, or somehow all of these things at once. Everything looked too vivid, like someone had turned up the sharpness of my vision, making everything seem brighter. Eventually, the experience would fade and I would lie awake and terrified until finally, exhausted, I’d fall back to sleep. This went on for most of my childhood and teen years, happening maybe several times per year. I don’t know why, but it’s been a long time since the last episode. I tried talking about it to my parents. They didn’t listen, so I stopped mentioning it. I told a few friends, but they had no answers. It’s only in the last decade that I’ve discovered what I may have been experiencing, and in the last few years, I discovered the possible reason. It seems, to the best of my knowledge, that I was experiencing a combination of sleep paralysis and derealization disorder, a dissociation disorder common in trauma survivors but which can occur regardless. I have no official confirmation that this was what I was experiencing, but while it can happen to anybody, Marlene Steinberg, M.D., author of “The Stranger in the Mirror: Dissociation — The Hidden Epidemic,” once told The Mighty that: “Dissociation is an adaptive mechanism promoting survival within a severely stressful, inconsistent, or chaotic environment … People who have experienced repeated severe emotional stress or traumas during their childhood or adolescence are most likely to experience recurrent derealization episodes. Derealization can also arise in those who have experienced profound acute trauma.” As you may know from reading my work, I previously discovered that I was (probably) sexually abused by someone for whom my mother worked. I was also experiencing daily emotional abuse at home, bullying at school, and other aspects of an unstable household, like my wayward half-brother who had a drug addiction and a tendency for violence. Looking at everything I was experiencing, it’s no wonder that I was having these episodes of derealization. I can’t quite put a finger on the sleep paralysis — which likely caused the auditory hallucinations — but it was so scary to experience all of this without the language to describe it or seek help. I wish I’d been taught about sleep paralysis, dissociative disorders, or any of the ways my mental health might have been struggling. I wish I could’ve communicated this in a way that made sense. Or, maybe it wasn’t entirely on me. Maybe it was on the adults in my life to listen to my cry for help and try to delve a little deeper beyond “he had a nightmare.” It just stands to show why mental health education is so important. We need to listen to children when they experience something odd, and we need to get them the help they deserve — the exact help that you and I, as adults, deserve — and the answers they need. I felt so utterly alone in my experiences, but it didn’t have to be that way. In the absence of answers, I almost believed something supernatural was happening to me. It made those experiences all the more terrifying. Remember: dissociation disorders are common for abuse survivors, but anybody can experience them. They exist in a spectrum of dissociation from everyday daydreaming to dissociative identity disorder (DID). If you believe you’ve experienced depersonalization or derealization, please talk to a mental health professional.

Community Voices

Lithium, your experience?

My psychiatrist just prescribed lithium without much discussion. After researching, one of the main problems is reacting with Venlafaxine. Hello that’s my main anti depression med. I find my psyc. kind of useless. How did it go for you? #lithium

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What’s a song that got you through a tough time?

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