History, part three. Sex, drugs and Jack.

In my late teens as alcohol and sexuality became interwoven into my life I began to utilize a coping mechanism for dealing with social anxiety.  Hindsight being 20/20, I now realize that what I was doing was inducing hypomania.  Back then I had given it a name as it represented a collection of desirable characteristics.  This is the kind of thing that actually gives bipolars a bad reputation and lends credibility to ridiculous myths about multiple personalities.  I didn’t have another personality, I was still me, still conscious and cognizant, though at times it felt like I was a passenger along for the ride.  I called this “alter-ego” Jack McBastard.  He could do things that I definitely could not.  The funny thing being that he was me.  I was him.  Nothing had changed in the slightest, I had just engaged my hypomanic fit and rode the wave.  I was the weapon, I aimed at the target and fired Jack Mcbastard like ammunition at my desires.  Then I just strapped myself in and watched it happen.  This is the “life of the party” symptom that you’ll hear about, mine had a name.  It was eerily similar to the concept of Jim Carrey’s character in “The Mask”.  Up to and including the inability to take it off.

Wednesday night and you can’t convince the boys to come out for a session of binge drinking Dysphorian, old chum?  Jack would whisper in my ear.  No worries, I’ve got this and now inexplicably you are sitting at a table full of girls that you didn’t even say hello to.  How about that?  And that is an accurate description of how events would play out.  I would watch myself walk over to a table of attractive women who are obviously on a “girls night” with no intention of having anything to do with men.  Jack would sit right down in the first empty chair, or grab one from a nearby table.  Of course the women wouldn’t react at first.  The audacity of this manoeuvre was essential to it’s success, so next you really pour it on.  You look at the lady across from you and before she can react you calmly and politely say: “Excuse me miss, could you please stop staring at me?  It’s making me really uncomfortable.”
I wish I could tell you that an average looking guy like me got beaten up by bouncers a lot.  I wish I could tell you that this only worked fifteen percent of the time, tops.  But no.  No, this actually had a ubiquitous success rate.  I mean, I might not sleep with one of these women, but I was going to be their mascot for the rest of the night.  There is nothing better for a presentable young man than having three to five attractive women already showing interest in him.  Also, they become natural wing-women.  They think you are sweet and harmless, goofy, spontaneous and fun and this opens doors.  Also, best ladies night ever.  The women would talk about this night for years.  I did this a few times, still know women that I met this way, we are friends on facebook.  Being my actual friend takes significantly more effort as you will see.
We can talk about Jack another time, I think I will likely do a whole post on him.  Remember this isn’t multiple personalities, this is like a poorly grafted frankenpersonality.  My regular self, Dysphorian is actually really bland and mostly hollow.  He is morally sound and believes in justice.  He wants to help people, protect them.  He has few hobbies and a quiet little life.  Dr. Jekyll.  Ever roiling in the back of his mind are the Mr. Hyde desires.  The hypomanic tendencies.  The binge drinking, the drug abuse, the womanizing and the spending.  They are one and the same, they just haven’t reconciled their differences yet.  I had been controlling that part of myself quite nicely until the zoloft.  It seems that without Jack, Dysphorian withers.  My depressions broaden and become more unbearable.  Because both are and developmentally have been my personality I cannot live without at least some of both of them, yet they are polar and at odds with one another (bipolar, duh!).  Poorly grafted frankenpersonality…
I was telling my new therapist this.  I explained these behaviour patterns before I quit my medication, because as we now know I was BPII.  Antidepressants are like steroids and speed for hypomanic behaviour.  They have the exact opposite desired effect. Full destabilization.  Even anonymously I have a hard time admitting to the things that I was involved in around this time, so I won’t.  It was bad.  Some of it was illegal.  Nobody got hurt, nobody died, so please don’t worry.  It was pretty intense and I would rather not talk about it for fear that I put my face and name to this one day.  You can guess, but keep it to yourself because I will deny everything even the truth.  My new therapist was more worried about checking off little boxes on a sheet of paper in order to get me passably functioning at normal capacity.  Which as I have just said was so far from the reality of the situation.  I am so glad that I quit my meds on my own, I might be dead right now.  I went to see my attending physician.  I told her I was off meds.  She was a little upset especially when I wasn’t comfortable telling her why.  Then she did the greatest thing that has happened since this whole mess started.  She made me an appointment with a medications consultant.
The greatest doctor of all time.  This guy started in the mid seventies.  A few years before I was born.  You might think, an old guy and psychology?  Isn’t his thinking going to be a little outdated?  You would think, but no.  This guy was a pioneer.  He worked on the research and construction of some of the first lamps ever built to test their effects on SAD.  He was originally a chemist, one of his first jobs was brewing up large batches of LSD for his ivy league college to test on schizophrenics and for various other researching purposes.  This guy was old but also well versed and state of the art.  A real gem.  I entered his office and he as we were making introductions he pulled up my case file by computer (sent by my doctor).  He took a glance at it, no more than a few seconds.
“So, it’s been almost seven months and you quit the zoloft a month and a half ago, why is that?”
“I was much worse when I was on it.”
Then he did the best thing any doctor could have done, he personally assessed me right there on the spot, rather than having me fill out one of those huge sheets that asks you the same twenty questions with twenty different phrasings.
You don’t sleep too well do you?  Four maybe five hours a night, since my late teens.
You get bored easily?  They thought I was ADHD in school and just passed me along until high school and I dropped out.
College? First year for art, didn’t make it to second year.
Creative, of course.  Intelligent.  But you never had a job for more than three years am I right?  N-n-no, how did you…?
Never had a relationship last for more than two?  No…
Find yourself alone and lonely a lot?  Yes.
Angry because you don’t know why?  Yeah!
Because you see, you are the life of the party, charming and fun to be around, so you get frustrated that nobody seems to care about you.  You have a load of friends of facebook but nobody writes, nobody calls.
By this point I was blown away.  It carried on, he was concisely describing my personality, my habits, my traits, my flaws and my behaviours.  Eventually he was winding down, this whole thing took no more than 5 or so minutes.  He concluded with something to the effect of: “…and you know why?”  No.  “Because you are bipolar, and it sounds like you have hypomanic episodes so I am going to guess you are type two, the zoloft was a terrible drug for you, great for unipolar depressives, poor choice for you.”
And just like that I had met the saint of medications.  As I obviously can’t use his real name here I guess I will call him Dr. Saint, why the heck not?  He gave me new meds, plural.  Instead of SSRI antidepressants I should be taking medications in the NDRI range if not general mood stabilizers.  But for the positive side effects including keeping a sharp mind and having energy he started me on wellbutrin.  While classified as an “antidepressant” its mechanism of action effects the dopamine reuptake rather than the serotonin which for BPII I am told is an important difference.  However, I am on a trial with this medication and should it not work, as meds frequently don’t, we have the gamut of mood stabilizer options after that, his goal was to try the ones with the most positive and/or beneficial side effects first.  Not only did this guy understand my illness, see it immediately and know how to treat it, he was putting me on the best possible track from the word go.  Then as he handed me my prescriptions he said, “I also wrote down the title of two books that you are going to buy, because for you I think therapy hasn’t been so good.  You can get them on amazon.”
The books were “Why am I still Depressed?” by Dr. Jim Phelps and “Shadow Syndromes” by Dr. John Ratey and Dr. Catherine Johnson.
Both were brilliant, I highly recommend them to anyone with BPII, maybe not perfect for you BPI types, but still full of useful information.  The first of these books is more specific to BPII and I consider it a roadmap to navigating the rocky terrain that is this disorder.  I would have been lost without it.
Here we are, all caught up to the present.  I feel okay for the most part but the grim neutrality and numbness is pervasive.  I still feel fairly depressed most days.  There was something that I was curious about asking of other BPII or even BPI types.  How do you react to death?  Because for my entire life it has had no effect on me.  I have a really strange comfort with the passing of life into death and it has never caused me any grief.  I have yet to be upset by the death of another and I don’t know if that is just me or part of the disorder.  I’m not a sociopath, they ruled that out early on.  Death just has no emotional value for me.
Coming soon, that all too handy robotic chart of symptoms and which ones apply to me and to what degree.  Also, a look inside Jack Mcbastard and debauched tales of his exploits.  How a man with a poorly grafted personality builds interpersonal relationships when half of him is thinking about having sex with every woman in her family, the girl next door, the lady at the tanning salon and necking a bottle of Finlandia.  Especially when the woman you are with is viewed more and more as an enemy standing in your way of doing these things.   These and probably so much more.

History, part two. Uncomfortably Numb.

I had admitted to having thoughts of suicidal ideation with growing frequency and intensifying vividity.  The fantasies had existed for most of my life.  As a creative person with exceptional visual imaginative capabilities, these fantasies become elaborate masterpieces in the macabre.  Stephen King could take lessons from the twisted scenes I had played out for myself.  Some were needlessly elaborate and brutal to a near cartoonish degree.  I cannot speculate as to why they get this way except that I actually like these thoughts sometimes.  Then the realism of them sinks in, they graduate to the planning stage.  This is where I get worried.  I claim that I didn’t know I was depressed, perhaps I didn’t perhaps I was oblivious or maybe I was in denial.  The strange thing about being a young, proud, virile, competitive alpha male type is that you refuse to admit to any kind of weakness.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not the jockish former high school football star who still plays hockey with his buddies on weekends.  I am not a knuckle-dragging mouth-breather.  But I do like to stay fit and exercise my mind.  I am six feet tall and I do weigh two hundred pounds, I am in good physical condition.  But I am no meathead.  Still, as a male you feel pressured to tow the line.  To bear the brunt and weather the storm.  I feel infinitely stupid for having done this now.  Had I been honest with myself, had I paid better attention to my family history and my lousy behaviours I might have gotten help much sooner.

I had been having these incredibly unhealthy thoughts my whole life little by little and over time they were increasing.  Instead of a sad, gloomy corner in my mind they had erected a playhouse and begun putting on full scale productions, featuring yours truly as the victim.  As I mentioned in my last post there was always a seasonal component to this.  Winter had always been my favourite time of the year.  I can’t stand heat and my home city is gloriously beautiful in it’s historic majesty under a layer of wind tossed snow.  Yet, despite my personal affection for the aesthetic and comforting charm of winter, it turns me.  Like a werewolf under a full moon, winter gradually makes me a wretched, groaning, limping, shambling creature made of loathing and self-pity.  By March, I think about killing myself on a half-hourly basis.  I have become accustomed to this.  From what I have been told, it isn’t normal to just accept this as the way things are and carry on with it.  In fact, with dysphoric hypomania, it can be downright dangerous.  Adversely when spring hits, especially in recent years, I feel like I have super powers.  I feel (to carry on the werewolf theme) like Teen Wolf, like I could run full speed for miles and catch rabbits with my bare hands.  I feel like women are just waiting to throw themselves on me (sometimes they are and that isn’t actually a good thing).  In short, testosterone and adrenaline.  Lots of those.  Now spring has become my favourite season.
So we arrive at my breaking point.  Fortunately my company has a VERY extensive health package and they were able to set me up with doctors, counsellors and medication.  At first this seemed great, but it was a rush job.  I can do a whole post on how terrible my initial mental health counsellor was.  I gave her every indication of my current diagnosis.  Depression, hypomanic episodes with dysphoria (which at the time I didn’t have words for, I merely described them), grandiosity, sleeping on average four and half hours a night (for YEARS), racing and multi-thoughts (not only do thoughts come rapidly but you have several threads going simultaneously), distractibility (I would interrupt myself while reading to start gaming, or watch a movie, then back again), spending hundreds of dollars, doing recreational drugs and engaging in risky/meaningless sexual encounters.  At one point I had read an article on narcissistic personality disorder and many of the things in the symptoms rang bells as I read down the list.  Next session I had asked her about it to which she replied “Is that the diagnosis that you would like?”  I have to fucking tell you this.  If you work in mental health and you have someone who is depressed and objectively sees a correlation between their symptoms and NPD, you are dealing with BPII, straight up.  If you don’t know this already, or you do absolutely NOTHING to get to the bottom of it get out of the industry.  Go flip burgers.  This is by no means a complete list of things that we spoke of.  I say “we” but seriously, this woman was phoning it in.  I spoke with my attending physician and requested a referral to someone competent.
In the meantime I had been prescribed Zoloft.  It is an antidepressant.  The BPII experienced readers here at this point are thinking “OH FUCK!”  With good reason.  Things got worse.  Much worse.  I was married during this period.  So, while going through some serious emotional and psychological turmoil on medication that generally aggravates my condition I still managed to have one of the happiest days of my life.  But as the zoloft was making a home in my system things got worrisome.  I live a three hour drive from where my wife lives, yeah… Support network.  Ouch.  Not living together is another challenge and there are times when I am convinced that my relationship is actually really bad for me.  Ultimately being lonely and alone while depressed and dysphoric is obviously worse.  During these drives (on a very windy near mountainous highway) I would find myself comfortably doing really sketchy things.  I would be behind a guy who was already doing respectably more than the speed limit, but decide that this wasn’t satisfactory, I would look ahead and see a car about three hundred yards out.  Then I would pass.  By the time I got back into my lane I could see the white of the oncoming drivers knuckles and tension in his jaw muscles.  And I really didn’t give a shit.  Blind corners, I would gamble.  Crest?  Fuck it.  I had completely stopped showing any concern for my well-being.  Though… I wasn’t miserable.  Which was new.  I wasn’t actively hating my existence.  This comes with an addendum, a fairly horrible one.
Anhedonia.  You learn a fair few words when you are losing your mind.  While I wasn’t depressed I also wasn’t happy.  Sure, in tiny little bits I could receive happy signals to my brain.  I got married, it was a happy occasion but fleeting.  I slowly stopped doing things and my habits changed.  I drank more.  Way more.  I began spending money like the market was about to crash.  I used recreational drugs and engaged in activities that I considered morally reprehensible or beneath me and felt no guilt.  I still don’t, perhaps due in part to the way this information was stored in my mind.  There were some dark times.  I was a hemorrhaging beast crashing frantically through the bush with a hunting party in close pursuit.  I was frantic, erratic.  I was desperate to have a sensation, anything.  I had gone emotionally numb, I was incapable of sustaining any feelings and this gave me a sense of concern.  Not a feeling, but a logical, well-reasoned cause for concern.  I stopped the meds.  After a long night of driving with next to no sleep and the waning effects of a recreational drug in my system I called my wife on the phone crying, finally a feeling.  A big feeling.  I had a sad.  A really, really big sad.  I spoke through wracking sobs for the next three quarters of an hour.  I was having a serious burnout, doing seventy MPH in the rain.  While this might sound horrible it was actually deeply comforting to me.  Just knowing that I could be sad.  That I was able to feel remorse, loss, sympathy and regret.  That it could overwhelm me and wash over me in a gigantic comforting wave of despair.  Zoloft was not for me, but we had not come to my diagnosis yet, it was assumed that I was unipolar.  Just depressed.  I had a new therapist at this time and despite telling him all about this he focused primarily on some menial details of my erratic behaviours.  He was labouring under the misapprehension that I was unipolar and needed guidance.  In reality what I needed was a new diagnosis, new meds and a new therapist.
Off meds.  The time between medications is an awkward coming home period.  I will continue from this point in an upcoming post.  I hope that reading this is useful for someone, writing sure has been for me.

History, part one.

A little bit of patient history so you can get a feel for some of my behaviours and triggers.  I will provide the robotic chart comparison version in an upcoming post so you can see exactly how neatly I fall into the BPII diagnosis.

I was only recently diagnosed in my mid-thirties.  You might wonder how this could possibly be for a self-described “extreme BPII”.  Our understanding and observation of this illness has graduated some over the last twenty years.  However, it gets a little bit trickier to pin down this illness in certain environs without clear definitions and dividing lines between abnormal psychology driven behaviours and cognizant elected bad or “negative value” behaviours.  In simple terms:  is this guy off his nut or just being an asshole?
I was on my own early in life, I was bold, brash, arrogant, passionate, opinionated and zealous.  In addition to these though I was also intelligent, eloquent, cultured, well read, for the most part polite and even incredibly poised when the situation required.  One would think that the world would be my oyster.  Holding me back however was the fact that I was woefully underachieved.
Long story short I had left secondary school and despite attending college, I didn’t manage to make it to second year.  Incredible wells of frustration and anxiety would cause me to switch off.  I wasn’t even worried.  I was like Mel Gibson’s character in “Conspiracy Theory”.  I would experience some deep frustration or anxiety and my programmed response was to find the nearest bar and get wasted.  Like clockwork.  Not alcoholism exactly, I would be sober all day and even a few nights a week.  This was how I “coped”.  This and occasionally drugs.  And meaningless sex.  Okay, so in my twenties we can see that I was a twenty-something.  Except here is where it falls apart:  I was going way harder and way deeper than my peers and I wasn’t concerned about whatever damage I might be doing to myself or my life.  I wasn’t even aware that there was any damage to be done.  We are SO resilient in our twenties.  Sure, my friends drank and fooled around with women, but they carried on.  They made deadlines and finished projects.  They didn’t ride that wave of debauchery until they washed out.  I did.  Nobody was monitoring this.  There wasn’t a guardian angel looking over my shoulder, none of my friends were worried for me.  They were doing the same things, surely I was fine, obviously I could handle myself, I was a big boy.  And there it is.  This reckless behaviour hides itself in the standard shitty behaviour expected of young men.  The old: “Boys will be boys” attitude that we have toward young males who often turn up as rapists because we didn’t check their behaviour.  While there wasn’t an angel on my shoulder there was a devil on at least one, if not both.
I don’t think I need to cover my teens.  Teenagers are still wrestling with fresh emotions and I think that we all understand that they are each characters in their own private Italian soap opera.  I was a teenager, like any other.  Amidst those raw nerves and growing pains bipolar can hide rather easily.
So here I am, in my thirties.  Last winter I began to feel really bummed out.  I always felt a touch worse toward the end of winter but this was worse and had been building.  I had an epiphanous moment.  I realized that I didn’t really have any interests.  I was mentally taking note of things that I wanted to get done in my life, a bucket list if you will, and it dawned on me that I don’t have many interests.  I haven’t traveled much, yet there aren’t many places that I was piqued to see that I felt that it would be worth the sheer terrifying hassle of travel.  By this point in my life (as a former sous chef) I had eaten nearly every conceivable food.  Between this and rampant alcohol binging I had drank more than my fill of beverages and figured there were no new experiences to be had there.  I had consumed every imaginable drug known to man in some form or another.  I was feeling very much like there wasn’t a thrill left available to me and the epiphany came:  Life isn’t too short, it’s too long.  In less than thirty years I had lived more life than all of my peers.  I had partied harder, seen and done more.  My hypomanic need for instant gratification had burnt me out.  Now, in a state of depression (which was fairly regular for me, more on that later) with this new realization that I was looking at the last sixty percent of my life and it had NOTHING TO OFFER.  This was very bleak.  A total crash.  It happened at work.
In the middle of a small fit I was throwing aloud in the smoking area about some trouble I was in about some such nonsensical thing, I let this out.  I said to a friend and co-worker something to the effect of: “Life is too long, I have absolutely nothing left to live for.”  In all sincerity.  It didn’t even occur to me that this was a twisted thing for others to hear.  I later realized that these little outburst, these “rants” I had been having since my late teens, were actually dysphoric episodes of hypomania.  They were frequently coupled with hypermotor agitation (hands clenching or gesticulating).  Little did I realize that I had these from around three to over a dozen times a day.  Before this however I had been having little intrusive thoughts.  Subtle, easily dismissed little thoughts of taking a walk on the frozen over lake in the middle of the night with a bottle of vodka and some sleeping pills.  Driving my car into the woods, running a hose from the muffler to the back window and drinking the aforementioned vodka.  I had been ignoring these little images flashing through my mind, attributing it to my seasonal moodiness.
Depression.  I had no idea I was depressed.  Seriously.  I knew that I didn’t feel good most of the time and frequently felt downright horrible.  I was convinced that everybody felt this way.  That this was everyone’s default state.  I was under the impression that depressed people had it somehow worse.  That the pain that I felt anywhere from thirty to sixty percent of the time was average and if other people could manage I should too.  Depression meant you were really messed up.  I was really messed up.  I pushed my way through depressive bouts by externalizing.  I made it into anger and I fought.  I fought my way through most days, fortunately I found myself in occupations where this wasn’t abnormal.  Though once as a sous chef I had a young college student who was working with us for the summer, I am pretty sure she was a Psych major.  One day while we were working together on the line before she really knew me she turned to me in all earnestness and asked rather excitedly: “Do you have tourettes?!”  Apparently I had been muttering, ranting and swearing for a solid ten to fifteen minutes.  So sometimes it can be comical, but often times it can also be frightening.
Back to my outburst and crash.  My friend did the right thing.  He went to my supervisor.  My supervisor was actually one heck of a guy.  He came to me and point blank hit me with the question: “You haven’t been thinking about killing yourself have you?”  I don’t know why, maybe the frankness of it, but normally I think you would try to hide it.  You would feel like someone was interloping.  You would feel beset upon.  Here in this moment, with heat behind my eyes, and a raw question hanging in the smoke and vapour in the cold air: I said “Yes”.  This was the beginning to a fruitless and frustrating year.  But, it was a start.  An admittance.  Having a disorder isn’t so much of a problem if you own up to it and can get help.  If you let it though, it will hide and fester.  It will hollow you out and nobody will help you.
The first year of my treatment will be covered in part two which I will post soon.

Introductions

This is intended for an audience of one. Myself.

-Why put it online for anyone to read? You might ask.
Fair question and rather easily answered in several layers. First, there are people out there who are suffering from this very illness right now who might feel alone. They feel the weight of the indefinable loathing and loneliness and need to know that there are others taking up the mantle in this struggle alongside them. Perhaps reading real world accounts succinctly written as graphically as possible will help them see the many facets of their illness and help them to identify aspects of their own lives that they may not have been aware of. In this way they may be forewarned of unseen hazards or alerted to pitfalls. Vice versa can be said of those readers who reply with feedback warning me of dangers I had yet to encounter, we can be mirrors reflecting the ugly demons within one another, fireteam partners watching each others backs.
Secondly, there are people who may be curious about bipolar II and have read a thing or two but still aren’t quite convinced that they lie within the realm of the hypomanic. After the studying I have done and the sessions I have had it has been determined that I am a very typical extreme bipolar II. Without going too far I am like a poster boy for the illness, I skated by in life without being diagnosed until I was in my 30’s. The change being that my hypomanic periods gradually went from euphoric with occasional dysphoric episodes to only dysphoric. This happened upon settling into adulthood as the illness slowly began to shape my personality, demeanor and character. Dysphoric hypomania is one of the most dangerous types, you are peaking, revved up and your mind is roiling and fuming as the “mania” would suggest. Yet, it is all negative, bleak, dark rotten and horrible. I will go more indepth into this at a later time, but this experience is one that is difficult for most to identify let alone define. Most sufferers do not even realize when it is happening, until they do something dire and extreme. I am one of the few who can now after some work begin to see these moments and perhaps put them into words. It is my hope that this, more than anything, will help others. Defining those illusory sensations that touch down in our mind like a force of nature and take us on an unexpected journey (there has been some observation about the similarities between this experience and PMS). For people who are not entirely certain about their own illness or that of those they love, or those who are merely curious I hope to shed some light on the inner working of a typical case of extreme bipolar II and what that might look like by way of behaviours and reactions to certain social settings and environments.
Third and finally, beyond tracking my own progress and feeding curiosity for my fellow sufferers and their loved ones there is the last category which is actually two categories that I have lumped together. The medical professionals: psychiatrists, psychologists, pharmacologists (I take meds), and untold other psych related professions that I have no awareness of etc. Then there is the other side of the intelligentsia/academic coin: the rubber-neckers. No disrespect, in fact you are the purest of knowledge seekers. For you are here to gain insight on things unrelated to your job, unrelated to your personal life/familiar affairs. You are here to understand something merely for the sake of understanding something, which is the noblest of pursuits, especially given this particular subject. It is these people that I hope to entreat the most, for I cannot foist the knowledge of my illness upon people and expect them to understand my behaviour and forgive it. You have to want to do so on your own and it is my hope that through my writing about my illness in my own solitudinous little corner of the interwebs that maybe one day it will contribute to spreading awareness. That it will reach people who otherwise have no reason to stop and pay attention or care. Don’t we all want to be understood?

-Surely there are other blogs and support sites out there for people with bipolar II, why not become a contributor to them?
I fully intend to. Also, they are not mine. I know that this might sound really arrogant (bipolar II is frequently mistaken early on with narcissistic personality disorder), I have been told that I have a gift for the written word. In order to utilize this gift to its maximum potential as a weapon in my fight against MY OWN PERSONAL DEMON, it is best that I write about MY illness on MY blog. This seems to me the zenith of logical reasoning. This is a tool for me to grow, adapt and overcome a enemy that has a camp within my own mind. It knows my every thought and action, sometimes it controls them. The expression of thoughts and ideas and preservation of them in the form of written communication is a very powerful tool. It allows me to track and gauge my thinking on a chronological timeline and record my progress. Moreover, it allows me to share that progress and experience with others (despite this being primarily about me). BPII is different from person to person and while I will eventually be contributing to other sites this will be the consolidation of my own experiences.

-Who are you and what do you do?
I will not reveal my personal details for several reasons a few of which follow: The world is actually fairly unaccepting and misunderstanding of BPII and there is a stigma attached to it and other forms of depression. Outing myself as BPII could damage my career (as things are it probably will anyway). As aforementioned, being in the public eye related to a mental illness could pose some challenges that I am not ready for at present. Down the road this will more than likely change, I am really not ashamed of my illness. I am not ashamed of having blue eyes either. There is nothing I can do about it, however I can limit access to my person for the time being. My occupation is an aggressively exacerbating factor in my illness and a defining feature of who I am. Sooner or later one might be able to guess what I do but I will say this up front: I have no intention of openly revealing my profession until I no longer work in that field, which is a very real future possibility.

-What’s with the name Dysphorian Grey?
I concocted the word dysphorian as one who is of dysphoria, as a Scandanavian is from somewhere in the region known as Scandinavia. So, a dysphorian is someone of/from dysphoria. This made a nice first name, but what about a last name? Several things occurred in my mind simultaneously (as they frequently do with us BPII cats), I thought of how bleak a life of depression is and that it can seem like one is wearing a filter leaving only a grey scale. Also I thought of Dorian Gray, from Oscar Wildes book “A picture of Dorian Gray”. How he stays pleasant and youthful on his exterior but internally he is rotten and horrible as depicted in the painting of himself that he keeps hidden away from everyone elses view. This is an interesting thing about BPII, for the most part other people may not see the vile, pustulent, scarified, hideous, demonic, wicked, loathing hurtfulness and hatred that boils and festers beneath the surface. You may not even see it yourself. You may have locked it away in your attic (interesting metaphor). Rest assured however, it is there and it is growing and getting uglier. It will gain in power and what it really wants is for you to die, unless you kill it first. But you can’t simply kill this demon, because that would mean killing yourself, which is exactly what it wants, you have to starve it to death. You have to stop nourishing it. You have to empower yourself. You have to learn self control and self love.
So there is the source of the name, you have Dysphorian (someone of dysphoria), you have Dorian Gray (the outwardly youthful man whose debauchery tarnishes only his hidden characteristics and painting) and the colour grey which is the ambiguous, bleak, flavourless state of being when faced with the pits of despair to which our depression has us sink and sometimes remain for excruciatingly long periods of time.
Oh, it has come to my attention also that the wealthy pervert in “50 shades of Grey” has the last name Grey, hence the title… I cannot help that the proper spelling of the colour grey is with an “e” and it happens to have been a good choice of a last name. I am keeping the name, I rather like it.