Borderline Personality Mood Swings – Rapid Cycling

In some research, doctors talk about BPD and the propsensity to have rapdily cycling moods. Put simply: one moment you’re up, the next you’re down. Mood changes can be evident every minute, hour, a few hours, or daily. Sometimes external events, such as an argument, or alternatively, a very happy event, will make the BPD swing one way or the other. Personally, I have a tough time with these mood swings, especially since I am a bit isolated.

For example here is a breakdown of my daily mood swings ( somewhat accurate ):

12:00 PM Wake up – initially sluggish, sleepy, not really interested in the day. Slow to get out of bed and begin the day. I know I should exercise, but I don’t and go right to testing my blood sugar and taking my mental meds.

1:00 PM I’ve finished eating breakfast and showered for the day. My mood is up al little: I think the meds have kicked in and I’m ready to sit down at my computer for a few hours and work. The highlight of my afternoon is always checking my earnings, which lately, haven’t been so great – but I hold out hope for better days.

Along the way I consume 1.2 liters of Diet Coke ( 2 600ml plastic bottles ). This is part of my daily routine and the caffeine gives me an extra boost.

5:00 PM Now I feel down and sluggish again. The caffeine has worn off and my bladder aches because I need to expel all that fake sugar and chemicals from my body. My mind wanders off to negative thoughts: people who have robbed me, past failures, bad relationships, anger, etc.

At this point my eyes become heavy and I get very sleepy and immediately lose all motivation to do any more computer work.

6:00 PM I return to bed for up to a 2 hour nap. When I wake up on the other side, I feel tired, bored, and anxious to eat dinner – just because it will give me something to do.

8:30 PM I begin cooking dinner, and as usual get hung up on being a perfectionist. I try to tune my very modest electric stove to cook the perfect grilled cheese, or if it’s pasta night, to make the pasta soft, but not over cooked. My mood is generally neutral at this time – for the moment cooking distracts me, but I am consumed by trying to be overly efficient and perfectionist.

9:00 PM I put dinner on the table and watch CNN. I almost always watch Anderson Cooper 360, an amazing news show with very intelligent political commentators. Their election coverage on November 4th was unmatched by any other network, and was stunning with the speed at which they predicted the outcome and covered the various speeches. If the news is troubling, I usually feel down. If it is something that doesn’t bother me, I feel indifferent.

10:00 PM – 1:00 AMI watch regular TV after the news. If one of my favorite shows is on, I’m happy and look forward to being entertained for an hour ( especially if the shows are new episodes). I know it may sound pathetic, but since I live alone and don’t go out much, TV is actually a highlight of my day.

If, however, there are no good shows or movies on, I get agitated and feel extremely bored. This feeling gives way to frequent trips back and forth to my computer, where I try to assuage my boredom by randomly browsing the net, with intermittent trips back to the TV to see what might be on later.

If I’m watching late night talk shows, I usually only watch the monologs. The guests usually bore me – I like to hear actual comedy, not some actor promoting his/her new film.

After boredom sets in, the hopelessness and self interogation begins. What am I doing with my life? Why do I feel like Shit all the time? How crappy it is to be stuck in this apartment all day watching? How do I shake this boredom? How can I feel good about myself?

1:30 AM I start my bed time routine, a ritual of oral hygiene and bed time meds. At this point, I actually feel relieved that I’m going to bed, because this gives my mind something to do and I get some peace and quiet.

….and all again the next day.

I really wish my moods wouldn’t swing so much. It can make me happy and fun to be around one moment, but an hour later, I hate the people around me, get annoyed by loud music (if I’m out), and want to go home. I don’t get “second winds” at parties unless I’m unusually drunk.

Before I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, my mom thought that maybe I was Bi-Polar, and this was probably a good guess at the time. Unfortunately, with my BPD, I feel depressed more than elated – or euphoric as in Bi-Polar mood swings – and I cycle back and forth on an emotional yo-yo of sorts.

How can I feel just “normal” for the day? How is possible to feel positive?

I need to figure out how to regulate my moods, and, especially if I’m in a social situation, find coping mechanisms to get through the event and depart without giving people the impression that I felt uncomfortable, turned off, or irritated in their presence.

When I see my Doctor over the holidays, this will most certainly be one of things we talk about.

Using Sleeping and Naps to Escape/Kill Time

Up until the end of high school, I almost never took naps during the day. I was always too busy, active, or doing school work. I did the usual 8 hours per night attempt that High schoolers make, but most of the time it was more like 6.5 to 7 hours in the end.

In college, I slowly picked up the habit of napping during the day. Typically, I would sleep for 6-8 hours at night, and then grab a nap whenever possible (after lunch, before dinner, or just after dinner for 1/2 hour). I call this a “bad habit” because I would increasingly become more drowsy throughout the day and during class, because my body began to expect that it would have time to rest.

Paralelling this sleeping pattern – unbeknownst to me at time – was the development of borderline personality disorder and depression. By Junior year, my depressive mood, sleeping, and anxiety resulted in a trip to a psychologist for the first time, who gave me a preliminary diagnosis of dsthymia (chronic low grade depression). I also began taking Prozac, and then eventually graduated to Effexor to help with my moods.

All the while, as priorities and events in my life rapidly shifted, I would use sleep as an escape and also as way to kill time. When I attempted to kick my gambling habit Senior year, I found myself extremely bored and listless. Since I couldn’t sneak off to the casino, I chose instead to just sleep in my bed.

Later, when I was formally diagnosed with BPD and depression, and began taking more medication, I realized that I was sleeping a lot more than usual. It was almost like an addiction of sorts. Usually mid to late afternoon, my eyelids would become heavy, I would lose my concentration and focus, and it seemed the only cure was sleeping for 2-3 hours.

My first post college job in a supermarket working the typical 8 hour day was brutal. If I was bored or had nothing to do towards the end of the day, I would try and find a place to hide and fall asleep. Since I was a junior manager, if I was caught doing this I would have certainly been fired.

Fast forward to present, where sleep continues to be like an addiction and a way to escape boredom. Now that I’m working on my own ( doing freelance internet marketing ) and my office is only a few steps from my bedroom, the instant I begin feeling lethargy, depression, or boredom, I steal off to my room and lay down for up to three hours. This nap usually takes place in the late afternoon to evening. This sleeping pattern is more troublesome, however, because I now sleep at least 10-12 hours a night on top of my napping.

As a result, some nights I go to bed at 1 AM, wake up at 1 PM, work for 5 hours; and then sleep from 6 to 8, eat dinner, and return to bed once again at 1AM or so.

Increasingly, I notice that my mind feels more alive while sleeping. My sub-conscious entertains me while I sleep, and I wake up feeling like I’ve had a busy afternoon, when in fact it’s nothing more than a fabrication of my thougts.

When I travel, or if I’m not at home and off my “schedule”, I feel miserable unless I can take a nap. For example, if I’m traveling by plane and need to be awake, I feel completely shitty until I’m able to get some rest. Alternatively, if I’m at the beach with friends and they’re looking to spend the afternoon out, I almost always make up an excuse to stay behind so I can sleep and catch up with them at dinner. These deviations in my schedule don’t occur often, but when they do, I feel crappy and down.

Since college and my BPD diagnosis, there have been very few days where I’m awake for more than 8-10 hours straight. My days are instead broken up by cat naps.

I realize that working on my own exacerbates this problem, in part because I don’t live under the threat of a boss yelling at me if I’m asleep on the job. Working as my own boss has its pluses and minuses, and sometimes the fact that I can take a nap anytime feels good, and sometimes, it feels like I’m trying to escape from the world.

The excess sleepiness could be the result of my medication. I’ve never really investigated the effect they have on sleeping patterns, so perhaps I should.

Ideally, I’d like to go to sleep at 12 or 1 AM and feel like I’ve had a “full” day, where I take advantage of every minute and live life to its fullest.

This optimal situation, however, is the exception, not the rule. Instead I sleep off depression, boredom, or anxiety when it presents itself, which takes time away from my day as a whole. I suppose I should be living life to its fullest, taking advantage of every minute of the day, but this just doesn’t happen. I feel like I need to sleep a lot in order to feel any sort of satisfaction for the few waking hours I do have.

What gives meaning to a BPD life?

I watched with awe this evening as Barack Obama was elected president. It was a moving, historic, transcendant, uplifting moment that captured the hope of millions and the need for a new direction in America.

I felt good watching the various speeches and events of the evening, happy that I voted absentee so that I could be a part of history.

Then, BPD stepped in. At first, it was a selfish rage over what the hell I want out of life. As I’ve written in other posts I HATE THE FACT THAT I’M MEDIOCRE. More to the point, imagine the momentous and truly divine feeling of being elected President. It is an honor only 44 human beings have ever had – an honor unlike no other in the USA. Obviously Obama worked hard and long for this amazing achievement, and no doubt his life will be changed forever. His life now has a deep meaning as a leader of a democratic nation. He has immense power, responsibilities, and plans. He has a great family and supportive group of people around him. All smiles and happiness.

For a moment I thought, you know, why don’t you get involved with politics so you can experience the same? Why don’t you quit living in Costa Rica, return to the USA, and do something meaningful, or something that would make you feel whole? Why not do something like running for President so that your life will not only have purpose, but be remembered by millions for years to come?

And then, I started seeing stars in my eyes. Reality check…My blood sugar was going low after I changed my insulin pump inset to a new location. Instead of being able to relax and wind-down for the night, I had to prick myself in the arm, draw blood, and then suck down some juice to get sugar in my system. How shitty is that?

I had a BPD mini-rage moment where I pounded my bed and asked out loud: “Is THIS what my life is about? Diabetes and Borderline Personality Disorder? Feeling like crap all the time, sometimes not wanting to leave my bed, living alone and feeling depressed?

Is this even a life worth living? I hardly think so.

If I was President elect, that would be a life worth living. That would be a life that has purpose.

BPD and diabetes HAS NO PURPOSE, and neither does mediocrity. I’m smart but not smart enough; determined but not determined enough; passionate but not passionate enough… the list goes on; and it all piles up to nothing more than frustration and self degredation.

How lucky Barack Obama is. How I wish I had that path before me.

Instead quite the opposite: mental illness and physical illness that precludes me from military service and most likely public office as well. When medical records are released in major campaigns, who would want to vote for a Borderline Psycho?

Finally, is all this suffering, loneliness, and anger what my life is about? NOBODY GIVES A SHIT ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS OR DIABETES. Nobody cares that I feel the way I do, or that I hurt so much. Hell, my own family can hardly utter the words “mental illness”, instead my parents just say “How are your meds?”.

Wait you say, my doctor cares about me…my psychiatrist is helpful. TRUE – but don’t forget they’re doing that FOR MONEY.

Yep, they’re pimping themselves out for cash. If they were truly your friends, they’d do it for free.

But, since Borderlines mostly don’t have good friends, we succumb to the mental health professionals we deal with much like a John goes out trowling for hookers: since he can’t get the sex he wants for Free, he instead must pay for it. It’s pathethic, don’t you think?

And that’s the conclusion of today’s post. Hat’s off to Obama for living the dream many of us wish we could experience, and yet again re-enforcing the fact that my life is pretty much pointless, miserable, lonely, without purpose, and really not that special or noteworthy.