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The Bipolar Birthday Test (totally fake) (updated)

Posted Jan 22 2009 6:45pm

Background: I'm compulsive as hell and I've been hitting the wine pretty hard these past few days. No more bulimia, but I'm killing bottles now, which is cheaper than the food I was buying. The alcohol isn't helping stabilize my mood, that is clear, at least not in a chronic sense, but as I said, I'm compulsive, and dangerously curious to find things out. And so I'm learning: yes, I can still get trashed while on meds; yes I can still feel manic if I want to because that's what's starting to happen. Well, I'd say it's hypomania, not full-blown mania. How can I tell? Well, I'm still a nervous Nancy, but I talk to myself and when I close my eyes I see flickering images move and sway, like an animated film. This only happens when I'm in a really, really good mood. My thoughts are gaining speed. I am starting to be more divergent in my thinking. I'm sleeping like 3 hours, maybe. I'm eating very little. Drinking like a fish. I'm feeling...well, crazy, confident, wanting to be around people, ask girls out left and right, flirt non-stop. I can't help it.

Oh did I mention that it's my birthday on Monday? Did I also mention that it's the end of the term here (almost) at university? It is! Since my friends will be bogged down with all that, I'm celebrating early--Saturday! My parents deposited some money into my chequing account last night. Which leads to the next section.

Hypothesis:I bet this money will be a serious point of contention for my fiery mind. Already I can think of a dozen things I would spend it on, so the hypothesis is that because people who're feeling hypomanic/manic REALLY like getting specific rewards, sudden reward-enabling gains should increase the mood and time spent shopping. Could also cause serious delays in choice making. I predict that I'll buy a ton of books and maybe a videogame.

Methods: Wachovia bank card. Bike. Automobile. Participant will be given sum of money as a "present" to spend on gifts for him/herself. Time measurements will be taken as each item is purchased at various retail locations.

Results: I ended up spending 200.00$ on books yesterday .
Books purchased (organized by genre)

- Breath: a Novel, Tim Winton
- The Boat, Nam Le

-Witch Craze, Lyndal Roper

-Darkness Visible: a Memoir of Madness, William Styron

-Pure Immanence: Essays of a Life, Gilles Deleuze

After: Poems, Jane Hirshfield .
The Dream Songs, John Berryman
- Songs of Innocence and Experience(/w full-color plates), William Blake
-The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (/w full-color plates), William Blake

Also purchased
Bottle of Catalyuna (white wine), Rene Barbier--4.99 .

Also happened:
Bought ticket to a musical comedy show on campus but I ended up getting distracted by my friend (also has manic depression). She wanted to go on a liquor run/walk, so I went, thinking I'd make it back in time for the show. This didn't happen. We ended up drinking cheap bourbon, wine, reading Plath, talking about nonsense, mental illness, raving, etc. I wore a pink wig (see: Lost in Translation ). I also had a brown out, got separated from my friend and her entourage, and fell asleep. outside. on a picnic bench near McGill (a dorm where my friend lives), in 20 degree weather. I was apparently very angry she left me, but at least I still had the wig.

I was brought inside by some people and I waited in front of her room...probably for hours...for her return. My friend from France noticed I was perhaps unwell and told me my friends phone number so I could call her. Things were okay, though it was so cold I just said "fuck it" and waited in the dorm lobby for daylight. I read Plath, Berryman, some of the Blake. I might have dozed. I was feeling rather paranoid and jittery. Since then, I feel better, but my thoughts are racing and I want to know what happened last night.

Discussion: My psychiatrist, after hearing about my book-buying spree, asked about sleep, mood, etc. He was surprised. Damn should be. He was treating me for depression and there I was, hypomanic, laughing absurdly in his office. He told me that he thinks I'm Bipolar-II, which makes sense, doesn't it? He upped my meds (just Abilify) and let me go. Positive symptoms like hypomania aren't so bad if they don't get in the way of things, so many clinicians feel. I'm left feeling like his concern is misplaced, but then, I've lied to him about the drinking and maybe that was why I was laughing. At any rate, these results suggest I'm insane, or I feel like I'm crazy and only getting crazier.-Mt


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