At one point in the year after I was diagnosed as (ha) bi-polar, I began having my strange thoughts that all my friends hated me, and if people didn't say goodbye with the right expression on their faces I would cry all the way home. If Marcia said hi to Libby before she said hi to me I would obsess. This is not situational sadness.
One would think I would have recognized the depression when it came back. Here's how crazy I was: I argued, "But Dr. Guiffra, they really DO hate me. Marcia used to say 'hi' to me first, and now she says hi to Libby first, and I know it's because she can see what a bad person I am. I can see it in her face. I think I need therapy, not drugs. I'm a Very Bad Person."
"No," he said. "Just try these anti-depressants in addition to the bi-polar drugs. Just for six weeks. If you're still a bad person after six weeks we'll stop the drugs and start some heavy duty therapy."
And of course, I listened to him and the medicine made my brain chemistry all better. (Every once in a while Marcia tries to make that face I described to her as the Marcia Hates Me Face, but usually she cracks up.)
At the next visit, he noticed I've gained twenty-five pounds (and how could you not). So he suggested I go off the current 'mood-swing medication' and instead try a different 'mood-swing medication' for a while, one that makes you LOSE weight. (Joy, joy, and even greater joy.) Then he continues (in his Peruvian accent) "and then I think maybe you aren't having mood swings at all. Let's stop that medication all together. Maybe you were just a little depressed when you first came to see me."
I would like to say I gaped in disbelief.
Or, I would like to say I jumped on him and hit him with my little fists and yelled "I told you bastards that two years ago!" But no. It is testament to my trust in him that I said, instead, "Are you sure? I was really upset when I first came here."
He said, "Well, sometimes depression can exhibit itself that way. Not typically, but sometimes."
Still blinking against the bright light outside of the cave, I said "So I'm not bi-polar?"
And the lying bastard said "Oh, I never said you were bi-polar."
I piped up with, "In the second paragraph from the bottom of the letter you sent my neurologist, gynecologist, and general physician." (YOU LYING DIMINUTIVE BASTARD I thought.)
He looked it up and yes, there it was. He said, "these things are tricky. You have a family history of bi-polar behavior, plus your MS, but now maybe I'm thinking not so much . . ." He noticed I was gripping the weight-loss medicine. "But we'll keep you on this until you take the weight off. But just go cold turkey on the old mood-swing medication. Stay on the anti-depressants." We talked about it, and I now stay on the anti-depressants because my brain cells can be nibbled away at any time. I only go on the weight-loss mood-stabilizers when I have to be on the steroids because my MS is flaring up and the steroids make me wacky and manic. So I decided he wasn't a lying bastard.
Last time I saw him, he asked if it would okay with me if I just stayed on the Celxa for the rest of my life. Of COURSE it's okay. Its great. Just don't ask me that when I'm crazy.