Sunday, December 04, 2005

Today is Better

For most of the past week, things have been wildly up and down...not "down" per se, because I just don't seem to get depressed anymore since I starting taking SSRIs...but not "up" in that wildly expansive way that makes some people say that "mania is an addiction." (Little Miss Tiffany Lee Brown said it to *me* first, whilst scolding me for my predilection for going off my meds.)

Manic dysphoria is actually what I've been experiencing, and I'm throwing it our there because I think it's a powerful phrase, one that certainly gave me insight into my condition once I heard it for the first time. All by itself, "dysphoria" says volumes about what you're going through when "mania" isn't any fun anymore.

Wikipedia has a so-so definition of dysphoria here, but while the Online Etymology Dictionary doesn't even list it as a word, it offers other information that allows us to piece together a working understanding.
dys - prefix meaning "bad, ill, abnormal," from Gk. dys- "bad, hard, unlucky,"

euphoria - 1729, a physician's term for "condition of feeling healthy and comfortable (especially when sick)," from Gk. euphoria

Like the wikipedia, this definition seems to imply that dysphoria is the *opposite* of euphoria - but that's a mistaken identity...if that were the case, you'd just *feel bad*, why, it'd be just like depression and you'd been damn sure you'd know what to do. But manic dysphoria just isn't that simple. Manic dysphoria is a kind of agitation that feels quite a lot like manic euphoria - except that at any fucking moment, you can turn into a raging raging bitch and start crying hysterically if something doesn't go your way. Oh - and did I mention the anxiety and the edginess, kinda of like being coked up all the fucking time?

Here's another interesting thing about the word "dysphoria" - it is used as a follow-up to the word "gender" when describing someone who doesn't exactly feel quite right in the gender they were born with. I personally have been known to feel "gender dysphoric" - particularly during a Seasonal Affective Disorder induced bout of "manic dysphoria." Does anyone else have any thoughts on whether these two states of dysphoria have any relation to each other beyond using the same word to describe them?

Have you ever felt like you were the opposite (or perhaps even a third) gender when you are manic dysphoric? I'd love to hear from you.



At 11:07 AM, Blogger magdalen said...

the great thing about manic dysphoria is that it really isn't very fuckin' fun. if my mania had remained consistently euphoric, i think it would've been a hell of a lot more difficult to stay on meds and choose the stabilized life. it may sound dull, but i've been terribly glad i chose it (about 8 years ago). so if one can be addicted to manic and mixed phases, one is more likely to be addicted to the great fantastic over-the-top euphoric madness than the dredgy, annoyed, irritated, rage-filled, sloppy, chattery, creepy version... and both of them can fuck up your life equally...


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