Full video of this episode can be found on Angus Eye Tea’s IGTV.
Hey there, Heifer, and welcome to Angus Eye Tea – the podcast all about anxiety, depression, and now, BIPOLAR DISORDER! WEEEEEEE!
Yes, you’ve been punk’d for over a year now, SUCKER.
All jokes aside, a little over a year ago, I saw a psychiatrist for the first time and when she put the sorting hat on me, it yelled out “bipolar.” There’s been a lot of changes in my life, as you can imagine, and just when everything was leveling out for me, the pandemic hit. This is kind of a scary episode for me to post because I don’t know how people will react. I don’t know if this will affect any opportunities for me in the future, like if future friends/coworkers learn I’m bipolar and decide to stay away from me. I wouldn’t want to hang out with those people anyway but you get the picture. I don’t want to become a terrifying demon because I’m bipolar – I’d like to earn that right fair and square!
I’m excited to talk to you more about my experiences with bipolar disorder. Thank you for all of your support. It means the world to me.
00:00 SURPRISE! I HAVE BIPOLAR DISORDER.
01:00 Why I didn’t tell you earlier teehee and I’m still me!
05:30 How I learned I was bipolar and came to grips with it
10:50 Giving an *unprofessional* breakdown on the differences between my ol’ anxiety/depression and my bipolar disorder. Here are some resources that speak better on the ins-and-outs of this mental health fun:
21:10 That good ol’ medication change I was talking about and how it’s changed my life.
22:30 I feel like I’m finally getting to be me.
25:02 So, what does this mean for me and for you?
28:40 I say “thank you” about 50 times and it’s a *bit* much.
[00:00:00] Hey, Heifers! Welcome to Angus Eye Tea, the podcast all about anxiety, depression, and as it turns out,
bipolar disorder. The sequel. The two, the two the Bipolar II potentially who knows? Well, I guess I know, I know and you don’t, but now you do know that I have bipolar disorder. Um, yeah. Remember that time I got a psychiatrist and I had a medication change and everything has just felt a lot better? Uh, well that is because I had originally been misdiagnosed and I [00:01:00] had bipolar disorder instead.
Um, yeah, I haven’t really known how to like, say this. Like I’ve wanted to do this episode for a while, but I wasn’t ready to do it. Uh, and then I was afraid to do it because I know that people have a lot of thoughts and feelings about bipolar disorder without knowing a lot about it. And also I’m in my weird life sabbatical thing.
Right. And I will probably need a job at some point. And I, you know, it’s illegal to discriminate against mental health things. Right. But that doesn’t mean it can’t still happen and I can’t stop it. And so. I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m like screwing myself over right now, but my friends made an excellent point to me.
They were telling me that every time I hear about someone we know, or there’s like a celebrity or even like another podcaster I [00:02:00] just love, every time they come out and say they’re bipolar, or I learn about it. I light up, I feel so much better because that’s not one that people tend to speak up about.
Because like I said, there’s more of a stigma. I’ve always talked about how anxiety and depression are kind of hard to talk about. Um, and even then people are just now feeling comfortable coming out about it. There are a lot more resources out there. You kind of see it everywhere. I would say, I mean, there are like TV shows are covering it.
People like if you go on Instagram, I’m sure people are opening up their panic attacks and everything. Right. But you don’t really see that with bipolar. Uh, and also I’ve talked about how it’s kind of been fluffified – anxiety and depression – it’s become mainstream in a way where, uh, it’s almost. Not cute or endearing to have it, but there’s like a big marketing thing behind it now.
So which take it or [00:03:00] leave it. At least people are talking about it. Right. But like there’s nothing cutesie that really comes out about bipolar. Um, and so there’s fewer. People with the words and it just occurred to me like, you know what? Like I already have taken so many big steps in my life. I’ve already gone through a lot.
This is important to me. And I’m at a point where I feel okay sharing with you that yes, I have bipolar disorder and I’m still me. You’ve been listening to me for. Maybe two years, maybe you’re new, but you’ve listened to my past episodes. Right. And you didn’t know, you have heard me go through different, uh, life struggles, uh, depressive episodes.
I’ve had major anxiety. I’ve worried about normal life things. And then I’ve worried about things that I, my [00:04:00] body shouldn’t react to in the way that it does, but it does. And. That is all the same. The entire experience is the same. And I thought it was anxiety and depression, but it wasn’t, it was bipolar.
And there’s something weird about having a whole experience and then you get a diagnosis and you look back on those times and it all clicks, but it also all changes. And I’m not sure it should always. So what I mean by that is I suddenly have normal anxiety and depression, and now I’m scary bipolar, and I, it’s such a weird, different, I feel like people just treat bipolar people like they might be murderers.
Uh, like when I look in the media, there is not a lot of great, accurate representation [00:05:00] of bipolar people. A lot of the time they’re either so hardcore on drugs that they’re just not there as a person, or they are like screaming in a garden, in a nightgown burning houses down. And they’re very unstable.
And I think that’s part of a bigger issue where mental health disorders are kind of played up a lot. And I’m not saying that these things can’t happen, but, uh, you don’t have anxiety and become a murderer instantly. Uh, you don’t, you’re not depressed and suddenly murder people. Same with bipolar, just ’cause I’m diagnosed with bipolar does not mean I am more likely to kill anybody. Unless they steal my Taco Bell.
I’m kidding. That’s not worth murder. And you can probably hear some anger behind my, uh, my voice. And I think it’s because I’m still kind of reckoning with a lot of that. And when I, uh, well, let me, let me [00:06:00] start back at the beginning if I can. Um, so I had a weird feeling that something was wrong. You will remember this, this was about a year and a half ago.
Something was wrong. I had just upped my medication and I kind of felt okay, but something wasn’t connecting. There wasn’t a good vibe. And what was happening is I’d have like really good days. And then I’d kind of have some bad days and they were happening in like four day spurts. So maybe the weekday would be okay and I’d hit the weekend and it would just be like low depression, but then come back on Monday, everything seemed fine.
And it was, you know, it was kind of a lot. So I just thought I wasn’t good at socializing, or there just wasn’t enough to occupy my time. Um, I don’t know. I got really in my head about it, but the thing is that when I went to go see the psychiatrist, I had been doing [00:07:00] some Googling and I was, I just assumed I was on the wrong medication, but I, I kind of freaked out a little bit because
I kind of fit the bipolar description. And when I sat down on that couch in the psychiatrist’s office, the entire time in my head, to be honest, I was thinking, don’t say bipolar, don’t say bipolar, and we’re going through, and she’s asking me the basic questions. And I tell her, like, I’m not sure my current medication is great.
Um, lo and behold at the end of, uh, or in the middle of the session, actually, she says, I believe you have bipolar disorder. And I don’t remember the rest of the session ’cause I kind of tunnel visioned and everything stopped around me. I was 25. I thought I had kind of figured out my [00:08:00] life. I knew my lot in life.
I knew anxiety and depression. I had really worked on myself. I thought I was kind of going on this one trajectory and yeah, this wasn’t great. I get a new medication, but now it had a different name. And when I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I felt relieved because I had a name for what was going on and I didn’t know it was going on.
So it was just nice to know that, “Oh, this isn’t just like a I’m weak” or “I can’t handle life.” It’s a disorder. And now I can work with it now that I have information about it. So I kind of felt this relief. I mean, it’s not like, it wasn’t like the best time of my life. Right. But like I had. Some kind of benefit from knowing it, right?
So when I was told I had bipolar disorder. I didn’t feel the same way. I [00:09:00] felt like I had just been knocked down, um, kind of like flipped some tables, a volcano erupted, glaciers melted, well that’s happening anyway. Um, and that would be a very slow process. Well, depending on how we do things anyway, not about climate change right now.
Um, this is about me all about me. But my whole world just turned in not a fun way, learning that I had something else, not in addition, just whatever I was… wrong. You’re wrong. Change it. I was shook to my core. I was not okay with it. And I think the worst part of it was that I unknowingly had my own preconceived notions
about people with bipolar. I didn’t know I had it. And then the second I was diagnosed with it, I, I don’t know. [00:10:00] I thought, Oh shit, like that’s serious. And does that mean I have to get shots? Like, it’s hard to explain, like I just thought of every like horror asylum movie. And honestly, that was the worst part because I am a mental health advocate.
I have this podcast, I’m a very open person. And then suddenly this happens to me and I wasn’t okay. And I got really mad at myself. Um, not to mention, I felt. Like something had infected my body and I couldn’t do anything about it. Like now I had bipolar, even though I’ve had it for awhile. Um, but I, it just was not a good time.
I had a lot of issues trying to accept this diagnosis as opposed to my anxiety and depression. In fact, not a lot of people know I’m [00:11:00] bipolar. I don’t feel the urge to tell people. I actually did a whole episode about this, about how to come out with your mental health disorder. And you don’t have to tell people.
I was at a point in my life where, uh, a couple of years ago, it made sense for me to tell more people than I probably normally would because it was affecting my day to day that it was necessary to explain, Hey, I have anxiety. And that’s probably why I’m about to be very weird about whatever scenario we’re about to enter in.
So it’s not you. This is just something I go through and that was fine. If I had known I was bipolar back then, I don’t think I would have been as open about it, uh, out of shame now I think that might still be a part of it, but more likely, I just don’t think it changes anything.
You know, like I’m still me and I still know everything. I know. I’m just bipolar. So yeah let’s get into that. What is, what is the big difference, elaine? You’re bipolar. What the hell, you liar!? I know this whole time, every time I’ve been [00:12:00] like, “Um yeah, I have an anxiety and depression disorder. Um, that actually cumulates into bipolar disorder.
Yeah, though. Just that’s it.” I’ve kind of felt like a fraud, but it’s all the same experience. Uh, everything I’ve told you and nothing in that regard has changed, but the chemical reasons why certain things happened and my reactions make a whole lot more sense. And, yeah. So with bipolar, it’s Bipolar II, which is technically what I have.
Possibly. The big difference, and I’m not a medical professional. I’m just going to throw that out there right now. I say that all the time, but just big emphasis. I’m not that this is going to be very layman’s terms. Take it as you will. Bipolar disorder. You have two sections. There’s Bipolar I and Bipolar II, one is not necessarily more hardcore than the other.
Uh, they just manifest in different ways. [00:13:00] So you’ve probably heard about manic episodes. It’s when people feel very elevated or they can feel very anxious, they want to take on the world, or it’s just very overwhelming. It’s like you had five Red Bulls every hour or something. They might not be able to sleep.
They start a lot of projects. Um, they might do reckless things and that – when you’re manic a manic episode, I believe lasts, it has to last for seven days to be considered manic. Again, take that as you will. Um, but there’s something called hypomanic and it’s that, but in like three or four days, so manic hypomanic, that’s a big difference.
So Bipolar I, you have manic; Bipolar II, you have hypomanic. You only need to have had one manic episode to have Bipolar I. So it kind of doesn’t matter to be honest, when I say bipolar, because I wasn’t diagnosed, but I think back to certain times [00:14:00] in my life, and I’m like, I could have been manic for longer, who knows, but if we want to get really nitty-gritty Bipolar II, but it means kind of nothing in the end.
That’s right. I burn your DSM V or are we on the six? I don’t know. I don’t, I’m not subscribed. I. If you had any ounce of belief that I knew what I was talking about, I hope that that truly proved to you, you should not trust me as a do or die resource, but my experience let’s get back to that. So with bipolar, you get the manic, the high.
And so for me, I would experience this, uh, where. I would feel so creative and I’d feel so good. And I try to drink as much caffeine as possible because I wanted to extend the high. I didn’t really know that at the time, but I would take cold brew from our office. For some reason, we had a keg of cold brew, which my god, we were all [00:15:00] cracked out on cold brew, but apparently that keg they sent us was supposed to be diluted.
Like you would pour the cold brew and then add water in to dilute it. I would pound four cups of undiluted cold brew to a point where I could feel my brain. Cool. Didn’t know that was a thing. And then it happened, I, yeah, so I, I’d try to get a ton of caffeine, which means I wouldn’t really sleep, but I didn’t need sleep.
I’d wake up and I’d be ready to go. I was in a cheery mood. I was really witty. I was on point. When it turned though, it turned, when I got anxious, I got so anxious. So if everything was good, I’d live in this happy world. And then one tiny thing goes wrong and it was explosive. So I was actually incredibly anxious and to be, it’s uncomfortable to feel that high, to feel that level of hyper constantly, it- it’s [00:16:00] a lot.
And so. I would sometimes spend my money. That’s been my reckless thing that I do. I’m so lucky that it’s been contained though. I just spent more than I should, but I never had credit card debt or anything like that, but it could have gone that way. So that’s kind of what my highs were like. And again, it’s kind of weird to go back in my life and now realize, Oh, that was probably a manic phase.
Huh? Because I used to use that as the standard for what my life should feel like. And I’d have these tiny glimpses. I would, I would say like I have it in my journals. I would say, I feel like I’ve had a tiny glimpse of what a happy life could be like. And then it’s ripped away from me because with the highs come the lows.
So depressive part of bipolar. Yeah. So you had the depressive episode. Um, I [00:17:00] don’t believe you normally like always go for manic depressive. Um, you can go back to stable, then it can happen to hit depressive, go back to stable, but you know, it can be whatever kind of fun rollercoaster. It just depends. But, um, my depressive episodes were really bad.
I would go from this high to just such a low, I hated my, like everything. I didn’t like the way I was living my life. I got mad that I wasn’t as happy and great as I felt during the week. I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong because clearly things would be okay just a couple days earlier. And then I’d hit the next three or four days and everything was just awful and I didn’t get it.
And sometimes it would extend to a whole week. And then I’d have three days of happiness back to a whole week of depression. There was no middle ground for me. And that is because the medication I was on that I had just increased was actually one of the worst medications I could have been on for bipolar disorder [00:18:00] because it heightens the manic and it shortened the cycles, so to speak, uh, that was existing within me of manic to depressive.
and so what probably normally would have been a week of manic maybe, or hypomanic again, three or four days, back to stable, maybe some depressive, whatever. I crunched all of that in basically every two to three days. So three days manic, three days depressive three days manic, three days depressive, two days stable.
The whiplash was insane. I did that for, I mean, I think for all of 2018 that was happening. And then I upped my dose in 2019 and it was bad. And that’s why it was hard for me to say that things were not okay. Because another fun thing, if you recall, uh, when you’re depressed, sometimes you get brain [00:19:00] fog, which means you’re not able to like, kind of keep up with what’s happening and your memory can sometimes suck a little bit.
So you might not remember everything that’s happened. Same thing happens when you’re manic. You might not remember every detail. So imagine constantly being in a state. Where you don’t recall how you truly got to feel a couple of days ago, and you think that whatever you’re currently feeling is the majority feeling you have.
I would be in my depressive episode and I would feel like I had always been depressed. And that the last time I felt good, felt like ages ago. But then I got sucked back into the manic and it was like, the depressive episode had only lasted for 30 seconds. I forgot about it. And I was like, no things are fine.
And I am okay. Crash back down to the depressive episode. It’s been like this forever. Things aren’t good. Having that mindset switch wore down on me. And I didn’t [00:20:00] know why, cause I didn’t know what was happening. Cause it was hard to keep track. I started journaling so I could try to figure out what the fuck was going on.
Um, but in my head I was trying to figure out what was going on life-wise. I didn’t know that what was actually happening was me, documenting with dates how I was feeling. So now I can go back and see, wow, depressive episode, manic episode. One day, I got really tired of all that shit. Everything on paper in my life looked okay.
I had a great job. I had great friends. I was doing stuff, but that, that really low, low kept happening. And I wanted to keep my high. But without getting super anxious, because then that would twist even my happiness. So where was my happy? There was no happy. I thought that my manic phase, which I didn’t [00:21:00] know that was what was going on at the time, was the closest I would ever be able to get to
normal happiness that everyone else has. Just having a surge of energy that was very unstable, was the best I could do. And after a while, that just was not going to cut it. It was not good. So I felt myself just slipping and it was harder because if you just, in my head, based on my experiences, when I had ever been constantly depressed, it was easier to note like, okay, I’ve been depressed for a very long time.
Something’s clearly wrong. I had never heard of this. I had never heard of being really solid and then killing it. And then suddenly you’re really, really anxious. And then you get depressed. I even, I have a journal entry where of, I remember I wrote down, I don’t know, what’s worse to be honest, the hyperintense anxiety I feel, or this low, awful depression [00:22:00] every other day.
Y’all it was, it was a lot. So that’s when I realized, okay, I should go see a psychiatrist. And I talked to my friends a lot and they really urged me. Like, I think you should try it. I didn’t want to, because as an anxious individual that would be me setting up another doctor’s appointment. Um, but I did my research.
I found a psychiatrist and I was just hoping it was a medication issue. And the reason I went to a psychiatrist was because this was my fourth attempt at a medication and or dosage change with my primary care physician. And I had told myself after that I needed to go to a psychiatrist and she had rec, my doctor had recommended that as well.
I did it. Um, and again, I’m sitting there I’m terrified and she says the word I am fearing the most. But with that came the knowledge that my medication was making this even worse than it was. And then I began my medication change. I [00:23:00] got off the old medication, which caused a lot of brain zaps, a lot of weird mood ups and downs.
Um, I actually had to get almost off it before I was able to really start the new medication. Um, and my new meds were actually a lot better than the old ones for obvious reasons, but they had less side effects. I noticed that I didn’t have the constant urge to eat. I suddenly was leveling out.
I had more consistent moods for longer periods of time. My emotional scale used to be incredibly high highs and incredibly low lows. Right? Like I was a huge roller coaster. And that space got a little shorter. It was a lot more concise. My, my tube of life, my life tube was a little skinnier and like just, you know, kind of bouncing in there instead of being like, just flung into the universe, bouncing around la-di-da.
[00:24:00] And I felt like I had peeled off another layer that was weighing me down. And so when I tell you this past year, that has been so confusing because we had 2020 happen, but I also got a diagnosis and a medication change. It’s a weird time. I feel like I am finally getting to be me. And I thought that the last medication change, I thought that the last diagnosis, but now I
just, I feel like this is right and it might not always be right. I might have to go back in again. That’s just how this game works. Right? But I feel me and I feel so much better. I did not realize how much I was suffering until it was gone. Because my scale of what’s okay. And not okay. Is kind of fucked up because I used to be very, very depressed and very, [00:25:00] very anxious even before the bipolar really kicked in.
And so being able to climb just a little higher up and be like, Oh, well I must feel better because I’m not as depressed as I was. Even though I was still depressed and like not great. Uh, my scale isn’t trustworthy is what I’m saying. My scale of what’s bad, uh, is a lot longer than other people’s. And so I’m not great at gauging where it actually should be like where I should probably be feeling.
Now I just feel good. I feel like. I can trust what’s going on. I don’t have manic phases anymore. Uh, and that’s actually, uh, there’s so much, I’m excited to talk to you about now because one of my fun things now is am I happy and excited or am I manic? Because when I’m manic, I have to do [00:26:00] things a little differently than when I’m happy, excited.
So kind of, do I trust myself? But, um, there’s so many fun episodes coming up now. Uh, but now I have clarity and I have been able to do so much more. Um, I was ready to take over the world in March. March was when I officially leveled out on my new meds and then the goddamn pandemic hit. And I have never been more offended by timing in my life than that.
So, uh, it’s kind of weird. That’s kind of sad. I mean, kind of sad. It’s very sad. Uh, but for me, particularly in that situation, it kind of sucks that I finally was just ready to be my best self and feel great and get to experience life through this new lens. But now that all just got taken away, she left the building.
She’s gone. Arrivederci. [00:27:00] Unless that’s a greeting. I don’t know Italian. I just, I played Assassin’s Creed once and that’s as cultured as I… So what does this mean for me and for you? Great question. I have known my diagnosis now for a little over a year, uh, and since my medication is doing a pretty good job,
i, is kind of hard for me to think about it. I forget I’m bipolar until I have to go sign a form at the doctor’s office. I no longer get to check anxiety or depression. I have to scroll down. And then there’s a scary box it’s like
MeNtAl HeAlTh DiSoRdEr and it’s like, in parentheses BiPoLaR. And I’m like, Oh, okay. Okay. Um, I’m gonna have to like check that now. And, um, there’s a lot of little things like that. That kind of make me feel shitty [00:28:00] now. Even though to me, the experience has been the same it just manifests in different ways. Like there are people who can have worse anxiety than I have bipolar.
Does that make sense? Like bipolar doesn’t necessarily mean I am the pikachu while y’all are pichus. It does not mean I am Zapdos while y’all are electrons. Jolteon. That’s what I meant science Pokemon. Anyway, I don’t know why I’m comparing everybody to Pokemon, but there we are. With those examples,
I do have a lot of things that I’m excited to get to talk about. And, um, probably my biggest reasoning for doing this as well is because Bipolar II is one of the harder things to diagnose because it can just look like anxiety and depression. And if I can talk about my experience and maybe get somebody out there who thinks [00:29:00] they were in the same boat and they’re able to get the right help.
That would be pretty sickening because I wish I didn’t have to go through all that. I wish I didn’t have to get on the wrong medication for two years. I gained 30 pounds on that medication. I had night sweats. I sweat all the time actually. And then it clearly made my symptoms worse. Now I’m on my new medication.
I just, I feel a lot better. And now that I understand how I work, I feel a lot better. But it’s hard to figure that out to the naked eye. So that’s really what pushed me to do this. I just wish someone else had been like, bitch, you bipolar. So I will now be the bitch who tells you. Yeah, no, I mean, you might not be bipolar.
I’m not going to diagnose you because I don’t have the degree or the knowledge to do that, but all I can do is share my experiences with you. So. [00:30:00] Yeah, I’m kind of shocked I didn’t cry during this. I guess I’ve closed out all emotions, but this is kind of a big, I’m scared. I will say I’m kind of scared to put this out there because I know people just kind of go, “OH GOD, bipolar. Poke her with a stick.”
But yeah, I’m a little, I’m a little, Ooh, kinda about putting this out. I’m recording this right now on February 4th. So I don’t know when I’ll actually put this out into the universe, but. I think I’m ready. I don’t think I’ve had an episode that I’ve been stressed about the response before or anything really like this for that matter.
Uh, so I think that’s where the nervousness comes in, because I don’t know if people are gonna distance themselves from me. I don’t know a future opportunities are not going to be taken away from me. Um, and that might sound like an exaggeration, but. That’s what it’s like to have a mental health disorder.
[00:31:00] So thank you for listening to me being anxious and depressed. Now you get to listen to me being bipolar. I will not be changing the tagline or anything because I still experience anxiety and depression. I feel like those are pretty, uh, universal things we all have that can stem into any fun mental health disorder.
Right? So that will be changing. Honestly, things are going to just be the same. I’m just now going to talk about my symptoms through the lens of bipolar. So it’s more specific and has better grounding. Um, I’m still me. Podcasts is still me. You can now have fun going back and listening through the 2019 episodes and perhaps catching.
Oh, maybe Elaine’s manic there because she’s talking very fast. And talking about spending money and how she went to Japan after thinking about it for a week and then spent all that money and just went to Japan. I’m not saying that was a manic episode. I’m just saying it, it [00:32:00] happened, right. If you made it this far, I really, really appreciate you listening.
Uh, I’m excited to learn along with you. And I hope that you stick around. I just really, she, that you listened this far. Thank you. Um, let me say thank you one more time. I’m just a bumbling idiot at this point. I don’t know. I think the emotions are hitting, but I love having this podcast because I get to talk about this stuff.
And I think if I hadn’t had this podcast. I don’t know if I would have been as introspective about all of this. I don’t know if I would have thought, Hey, I talk about this every week. I make myself think about this. Maybe I should do something about it. So thank you. Oh, there she is. Wipe that tear away. Bye, bitch.
If you liked this episode and you want to join me now on this next leg of the fucking journey, please come over and sit [00:33:00] yourself over on the couch. And I hope that you feel confident in who you are regardless of what you have, who you love, who you are, how you look. I just hope you feel good. Uh, and with that, I will talk to you next Wednesday.