Manic Depression Is A Frustrating Mess

There is a reason why my posts have been very limited over the last few weeks. As you can see from the title of this post the name of the monster I’ve been living with… not a nice house guest.

Many people know that manic-depression is the name people used to use for the “mental Illness” now called bi-polar disorder. The reason for the quote marks is because my experience with bi-polar disorder has me often referring to this as “a physical illness with a very strong mental component.”

There is a wide spectrum of experiences people have when dealing with this genetic disorder. Some people have stronger manias, or mood up-swings, some have stronger depressions, some people have moods that cycle rapidly, and some that live through long stretches of a particular end of the spectrum before swinging widely the other direction.

It’s a confusing, messy and very disrupting illness. It is also a chronic illness that kills a significant number of sufferers every year. Up till now the standard approach has been to find medications that suppress everything mood-wise, and that way eliminate the extreme highs and lows of the illness.

This approach can be useful when dealing with individuals that are going through the extremes of the illness and are a danger to themselves and others.

But when you’re a person who is very aware of his situation, works with all care to minimize the effects of this situation when it comes to other people, and is trying to have a healthy, creative life – the drugs become a real drag…

But I keep taking them – new and different cocktails of anti-depressants and mood stabilizers, pills to wake up and pills to sleep… because I keep holding out the hope that one of these combinations will help… one day. (read more go to theĀ  music play list…)

About the playlist:

It would be nice and easy if I could just tell people that depression is just being sad. I wish I could just put a smile on my face, pull myself up by bootstraps, just pull myself together…

But that’s not the reality of living with bi-polar disorder. This is a very physical illness that kicks your ass in so many different ways…


As I rode out a very bad depression this last week as I started putting this playlist together – not for entertainment, but to help illustrate what it’s like to live through a severe depression – to help anyone who would like to develop a greater understanding of this experience.

As my wife commented – she’s thankful she can skip forward through the list when she’s tired of a song – I don’t get to…

I’ll probably add more to this later (or not), but I thought I better get this posted before another four or five days slip by…

3 thoughts on “Manic Depression Is A Frustrating Mess

  1. Hi Jon,

    Happy to see you are back in business and I enjoed our discussion on Saturday. I told you about the doc I was listening to in DC last week. I now remeber all four of his elements to adress bi-polar disase. 1-Maintain a “mood journal or diary” that records through each day changes in mood through the day and records drugs taken, physical activity and diet of the day, etc. 2- Periodic discussions/thearpy sessions with psych. doc based upon observations from the journal. 3- Carefully controlled use of drugs that you and doc agree are appropriate based upon items 1 and 2 above. 4- (This is the one I forgot) Develop and maintain a nutrition plan that complements/supports both mood and drug thearpy.

    I think you and I have discussed item 4 previously and it, of course, speaks to my prejudice—but the doc made the point that in dealing with chemical balance in the body/brain, food chemistry can play a significant role.

    Hope you have good luck in getting back together with the Kaiser doc soon. Also, do you know about the Public Citizen advocacy organization? They do a lot of good work in medical/drug reseach from the consumer point of view. I use their drug information publication called Worst Pill/Best Pill to screen any drug suggested by my docs. I think they now have this info online and I will get you the address if you like.

    Anyway, when you are up and running at full tilt again let’s do lunch. I want to discuss the Nazi-Christian linkage from Germany in the 1930’s.


  2. Nazi-Christian linkage?! How did I miss that post?

    Jonny, I thought you had stumbled across a cocktail that was working for you. Sorry to hear you’re still on the treadmill. Admit it – the dogs help, don’t they!

    I have more to say, but the wife just woke up and wants to have breakfast. Hang in there.

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