Well, I guess that cinches it, that bipolar runs in my family.
I've suspected it forever, since most of my biological family has a slight mood swing thing going on, but none of us except the one cousin ever had mania, just a light "punch-drunk"-ness now and then, or spurts of creativity, for the artists among us. Then the past month, I tried anti-depressants for the first time in years, as a little boost for this mental health jag. They were fine. Gave me more energy. And then...I started only getting only 4 hours of sleep every night. And then...only 2. And I didn't miss it. Or rather, I knew in that funny way you sometimes get with pain medication, that my body was NOT happy with me and was going to have words with me later, but my mind didn't care, because it couldn't feel a thing. So on it went.
That's what anti-depressants do if your depression is of the bipolar kind. They shoot you through the roof. I didn't quite get shot through the roof (I was on the lowest of the low doses possible, and this appears to only be a chemical tendency, nothing close to the full disorder), but with that sleep schedule, it was probably going to happen eventually if I stayed on it.
So. Off of that. Trying an ADHD medicine, of all things. Sleep schedule took a week to get back to normal as the anti-depressant left my system. Now the stimulant is one of those that if I take it in the morning, I'm up. I won't be able to go back to sleep. It's...amazing, for the first time in my life, being able to get out of bed and not feel like a bear. (I don't drink coffee. Now I think I understand.) And...setting my clock for an early time (for me), with hope because I'm not going to feel like #%*# getting up then, even if I didn't get my full 8 hours before. Used to be it was such a struggle to function on less-than-adequate sleep, that if anything else challenging in my life was going on, it'd near well wreck me.
I think it might be cutting down on the ruminating problem, too. I'm starting to think ruminating was lack of focus--I knew on some level I kept repeating stuff in my head so I could remember it, not forget it. Sounds a bit like ADHD, right?
But... I never wanted to be stuck on medicines for the rest of my life. I still don't. Beyond a few disorders that almost purely chemical, I don't consider them as necessary, and sometimes with nasty side effects. So I suppose they will teach me a little bit more about how my brain works, give a little more insight into downswings, when they come, but the real problem has always been me running into that certain breed of person who uses me. And they say if you keep doing that, it's not them, it's you.
Well, maybe, the other night, when I was thinking about this, I found the answer. When I was a kid and suicidal and no one believed me about the nasty going on at home, I vowed to myself I'd never just stand by if I saw someone else going through that. That I'd give others the help I had so desperately wanted but ever got myself. And so I did. But...at least online, that put me in contact with a lot of people who just wanted to take advantage of my sympathy, and I was without the IRL cues that would have otherwise told me they were just a drama-queen instead of someone temporarily at a low spot that needed some help. Not to say drama-queens aren't a bundle of pain and issues too, but there's so much less you can do for them--and it is dangerous to at times, because of how manipulative and controlling they can get.
So I played into the rescuer role of that Karpman drama triangle, and got what I deserved from there on out. I'm still torn on laying aside that old promise of mine, because I think it IS necessary and helpful for some. But maybe one of the rules I have to lay down is never for anyone on the internet. For one, there's just not much I can do when it gets serious, beyond at the very most tracking an IP address and calling the police in the area, and that's only if anything immediate is going on, instead of a slow downward spiral or persistent ant's nest of chaos like most of these folks do.
IRL it's barely happened. I've got better sense and know when to keep my mouth shut, just let things be. But I am getting out of the psychology field. I feel on some level it was necessary for me to gain the necessary boundaries and perspective on my own life, but it just isn't really a healthy field for me. Certainly not right now when it's being battered by identity politics and the like. But I also don't think I need the excuse to become enmeshed with unhealthy people, and I certainly certainly don't want to handle any malpractice lawsuits as is the kind landing on doctors (mental and physical) at an alarming rate these days. I don't know, that one's a bit like...everyone's stressed and upset, so they go after the ones they think should be able to do something to fix it, when really...no one can. And it's scary, like a witch-hunt as we eat our brightest and kindest alive, to satisfy the black hole within.
Well. At least I can survive to doctor another day, if at some point I decide to go back into that field, and the politics are no longer so crazy. What I'm doing now feeds me, even though the motivation is so hard to come by some days. That is still one last wrinkle to iron out in this mental health business; maybe this time, I will finally not be having any nutcases involved and making things that much more complicated for me, though.