My Life as a Roller Coaster 11 replies

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Superfluous Curmudgeon VIP Member

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#1 2 years ago

Well, not literally of course. Not even in the sense that I'm super busy. In fact, my life is quite the opposite in that sense. I'm referring more to my mental and physiological state. For the past 5 or so years, I've been swinging back and forth between relatively normal to high energy and mental states to very low energy and mental states. I don't mean "energy state" in any sort of new age/spiritual or physics type way - it's just a description of how I feel. In a general sense, it typically goes as follows:

A higher energy state entails me feeling fairly energetic. I can move around faster, think faster, and generally get a lot more done in less time. I'm also physically stronger. I wouldn't exactly call myself a powerhouse, but I am pretty comparable to the average to upper tier engineering student in terms of getting work done. I need less sleep at night - 7-ish hours works well. My sleep is generally a lot more restless - I simply can't make myself sleep much more than that at night. I talk faster, and am generally happier and have more ideas. This state lasts anywhere from a few days to several weeks with some minor slumps along the way.

Eventually and inevitably though, this transitions into a low state - sort of a polar opposite to my high state. Often it starts with me being really fidgety and anxious the day before. I don't know what ADHD feels like, but it's the best estimate of what I feel like. Just can't really focus on one thing. The next day, I'll get up, maybe needing a bit more sleep. I'll feel pretty normal for a couple hours, but pretty soon will feel a sense of lack of motivation and physical and mental fatigue. I'll sit around for a while trying to get things done, but might just end up staring at a wall/computer screen for a couple hours. My physical strength is lessened. After a day or two this condition might get pretty bad. Getting out of bed in the morning is the worst thing ever. If I have the option to sleep in, I might sleep in an extra 2 hours and still feel pretty groggy. Some days if I'm off work, I'll take a 2-4 hour nap. If I can't take a big nap, staying awake is like a waking nightmare. Constantly trying to get productive work done, but making not a lot of progress. In general, my brain is just clouded. On the worst days, conversing gets pretty awkward because I'll need to take long pauses to try to process what was just said and what I will say. A number of people have told me that they're convinced I'm a stoner when I'm like this. But as far as drugs go, I'm almost as clean as they get, with the exception of an occasional caffeinated beverage and even more occasional beer. If I've got an important test or presentation/social event I'd better pray that it's not during one of my low states because my performance just won't be very good. Physical strength and energy are generally diminished as well. Sitting at my desk is tiresome, and getting up and walking around is a bit tough. Additionally, some days, especially after running, my feet and fingers might tingle constantly. Not quite loss of feeling, but the very starting tingling you get when you realize your legs are falling asleep when sitting on the jon. This has gotten a little better since I've gotten back into running, but I still get it from time to time.

If this physically low state lasts more than a few days, it will inevitably turn into a sort of depression. The best description of an elongated low state is a sort of dead inside feeling, or feeling like I am dying, or at the very least a feeling of being in a long, waking dream. There's no physical pain, but it's a really dark state to be in. To use today as an example, I was wondering if I'd be better off dead, wondering if I'd ever really be able to live a normal life. Wanting to be able to contribute to society, have relationships with people, etc. but feeling helpless to be able to do so. Thinking that I need to push on even though I had almost no motivation. Thinking that suicide is just too complex to even contemplate, as it would require so much preparation to ensure I'd leave this life in a way that left people better off than when I'm here - it was just too complex of a thing to contemplate seriously. This was after a week of work literally doing nothing but driving to the work in the morning, fighting the urge to fall asleep each day like the plague, taking a ~20-30 minute run every 1-2 days during the work day, making a scary 1.4 hour drive home at night, trying not to fall asleep, playing 1-2 hours of a game as a means of staying awake until bed time, and sleeping for 8-9 hours before getting up and dragging myself through the next day. After napping for about an hour today, while still laying in bed, I sort of had a feeling that I was going to burst, or that I wanted to escape, and scream inside. I watched a movie and by the end still felt tired but felt good enough to go run for a bit - probably 15-20 minutes. After the first few minutes, I had a big burst of determination and energy so I decided to run as fast as my heart/lungs would let me. I was gasping for breath by the time I was done but felt pretty good when I was done. Like I was probably transitioning into a high state again. My head is mostly cleared, and I am in a completely different state of mind. Endorphins are probably responsible for a good deal of the feels, but why didn't running a longer distance 2 days ago do anything? And now here I am, typing this. We'll see how things are for the next week or so, but I have a feeling I'll have a good deal more energy for at least a few days. 

If this sort of cycle had remained the same for these past years, I wouldn't be so worried, but it hasn't. It's gotten slowly worse. The low states last longer and are more frequent. Now I think they take up more of my life than my high states. When I have a high state, I want to take on the world. In the past, I've gotten into many activities that I could keep up during high states, but not during low states. This has caused me to gradually pull out of activities I've been involved in. But the change is gradual enough to keep me asking whether I'm just lacking motivation / in a state of depression so deep-rooted that I don't even realize it's depression, or if it a legitimate physical issue? The thing is, what I actually do with my life is pretty constant. I do have a pretty non-existent social life and in fact get to spend this entire 3-day weekend all by my lonesome with a bit of exercise being the only excuse for getting out of the house. And I'm a good bit out of shape. A 15 minutes 1.3 mile run 3-4 times/week doesn't count as that much exercise but it's also more than nothing. My diet has been pretty decent and consistent as well. Appetite is one thing that rarely fails me. In fact I need a couple snacks during the day during work to stay satisfied. I'm also by no means overweight. I think my body fat mass percentage is under 10%. Not much muscle either. I'm about 6' weighing about 145 lbs (sorry if you need to do unit conversions to do a comparison).

So what do you all think? I apologize if it is too long-winded (it looks a LOT longer once published) or personal, but I wonder if this is something anyone has seen before. I'm in the slow process of getting check-ups for my heart as well as blood tests. I should have results for those in the next month (yes, I did in fact need to schedule an appointment ~3 months in advance).




FileTrekker Über Admin

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#2 2 years ago

Have you been diagnosed at all?

What you're describing sounds a lot like bi-polar disorder

It may be worth seeing a doctor or getting some medical advice? Being bi-polar can be both a blessing and a curse at the same time, often though people prefer to refuse treatment because the side-effects remove the hyper, happier times as well as the lower, more depressing ones.

If you have a spare hour, watch this;

It's a bit of an eye opener? See if you relate to it at all?


Danny King | Community Manager | GameFront.com



Superfluous Curmudgeon VIP Member

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#3 2 years ago

"FileTrekker"Have you been diagnosed at all?

What you're describing sounds a lot like bi-polar disorder

It may be worth seeing a doctor or getting some medical advice? Being bi-polar can be both a blessing and a curse at the same time, often though people prefer to refuse treatment because the side-effects remove the hyper, happier times as well as the lower, more depressing ones.

It's a bit of an eye opener? See if you relate to it at all?

I talked to my doctor (general physician, not a psychiatrist) at the beginning of the year and my description of my symptoms didn't quite convince him/me that it was bipolar or something similar, though it wasn't completely out of the question. At the time though I'd been out of a depressed state for several weeks, and it was very unclear to me whether my "depression" symptoms were depression symptoms or not.  When in one state, the other state feels entirely foreign even after a day or so, and my memory has a way of distancing itself/forgetting details of how I feel pretty quickly.

Immediately after I made my OP I spent a couple hours looking at bipolar and related disorders. I think it's a maybe at this point. I'll have to think about getting a professional diagnosis. Regardless of my emotional state, my logical brain is usually on decently straight - I don't think I've ever followed through with doing anything rash. You're also right that non-constancy might not be purely a curse. Maybe just a different way of living. Maybe a way of living I could get used to and appreciate. It certainly offers a different perspective on life. Makes you appreciate when things are good.

I'll watch the vid when I get a chance. Thanks.




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#4 2 years ago
"Superfluous Curmudgeon "So what do you all think? I apologize if it is too long-winded (it looks a LOT longer once published) or personal, but I wonder if this is something anyone has seen before. I'm in the slow process of getting check-ups for my heart as well as blood tests. I should have results for those in the next month (yes, I did in fact need to schedule an appointment ~3 months in advance).

I think it's good that you're getting tests done. There's not a trivial way that I know of to tell the difference between unhappiness due to a problem with the brain and unhappiness dues to other bodily systems without that.

Hnn, suggestions - from my vast well of amateur medical knowledge gathered mostly from wikipedia and House? :p

If we're just spitballing - not taking suggestions too seriously? That body fat percentage looks like it might be a bit odd to me. Athletes, on controlled diets and doing a lot of exercise, I believe have 6-13% body fat. If you're at <10% and exercising as you are with as little muscle as you have, that seems... off to me. Are you perhaps not eating enough to sustain the activity level and are running yourself into the ground?

It's usual for runners and those who focus primarily on cardio-vascular exercise to be relatively lean - and recovery rates for people vary. But I don't know. Just something that's got a mental question mark floating over it for me ^_^;




Mr. Matt VIP Member

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#5 2 years ago

My sister has bipolar disorder, so I speak from some level of personal experience when I say that if you have it at all, it's very, very mild.

You do sound a little underweight though, I don't know if that's a contributing factor. 145lbs is about 10 stone, which would be low for my stately 5'8ft height, let alone a freakishly tall 6ft giant. I'd take a very close look at your diet (vitamin and mineral consumption especially, as a lack or excess of these could impact on your mood and energy levels too), and have a think about doing some bulk-up exercise (exercise in general is often prescribed by doctors to people with mild depression anyway),  if I were you.

If nothing else, you'll feel stronger even when you're in a down-turn.




Superfluous Curmudgeon VIP Member

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#6 2 years ago

So a bit of an update:

Blood tests finally got done. My thyroid is a bit low, just below the threshold of normal levels, to the point where the doctor would only recommend medication/thyroid hormones if I thought it was affecting my energy levels. Ironically, low thyroid is related to slow metabolism and obesity - traits that I clearly don't have. But my appetite has decreased a fair amount the past couple years. I'm going to try to learn more about the thyroid before I go for medication.

Also got my heart checked. Something I didn't bother mentioning was that I was born with a bit of a heart issue to where one of the valves isn't quite right. It was declared minor to where it shouldn't be a problem so long as it doesn't change. This was the status 5 years ago when it was checked. Since then it seems to have progressed to moderate levels. If it progresses to severe levels, it could result in the need for surgery. However, the doctor said as it is now, it shouldn't result in very noticeable decreases in energy, but there may be minor affects. Combined with the low thyroid, it may explain the issues I've been experiencing.

I've been running/jogging fairly consistently a couple miles per per 1-3 days for about the past month. I think it's helping with overall energy levels, like raising the bar both when I'm feeling up and when I'm feeling down.

In response to Mr. Matt, I definitely agree that if it is mental, it's quite mild. I seriously doubt it is rooted in the brain. Any depressive symptoms seem to be more a result of prolonged exhaustion periods than the other way around. A sort of disheartening of dragging myself around for so long.

As far as diet goes, I sincerely doubt any of my issues have to do with diet. I've been taking vitamin supplements for as long as I can remember, consistently but not excessively. My diet has changed over the months/years, but for the most part I eat generally the same 3 meals each day. Morning: citrus fruit shake with frozen fruit, protein powder, and raw sunflower seeds Lunch: Salad with cheese, avocado, and lentil sprouts Snack: yogurt / cottage cheese / peanut butter sandwich / fruit Dinner: bowl of cereal with whole milk (previously eggs+potatoes or chicken based meal.)

The obvious thing missing here is meat. But to be honest, meat hasn't really affected anything. I used to eat meat a lot more for dinner but didn't really experience any difference in my energy patterns. Now dinner is cereal because it's easy and I just don't care right now.

I estimate the calorie intake is about 2000-2500 calories per day. There was a point 2 years ago where I was going to the gym 3-5 days per week to do some bulking. My appetite was pretty good then. I think I went from 140 lb to 150 lb over a period of about 3-5 months. I made just enough gains to barely notice. For the record my dad is about 5'11" and I don't think he's weighed over 135 lb ever in his life. He's a big runner though. Runs half marathons about once every 6 months.

TL,DR? I probably am not going to die right away, and a possible solution has been found.




Superfluous Curmudgeon VIP Member

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#7 1 year ago

Well, maybe it's time for an update. I don't expect to come here for solutions, but rather than burden my friends with my whining, I'll come complaining to you guys, and you guys don't have to sit and listen and pretend to be interested, so it's a win-win. :p

So I got a  blood test about a year ago, found that I was a tad bit low in some thyroid-related levels. I wasn't ready to go on medication so I opted to instead go for exercise and change my diet. Come summer, I transitioned from school into a full-time job. I was able to motivate myself to exercise regularly, and this helped with overall energy levels but for a good month or so  all I felt I had the energy to do at the end of the work day was slump down, eat, and maybe play a video game. I was totally exhausted almost every day. I decided to make some changes to my diet, completely eliminating dairy and grain-based foods from my diet. Carbs came from fruits and vegetables, and protein and fat  came from meat, eggs, seeds, nuts, and oil (like olive oil). Initially, my body had an interesting reaction. I was very soon much more energetic, but during the transition phase it suddenly became very difficult to sleep. I was very anxious and hungry all the time. But after a couple weeks, I felt more energy than I had in  years. I wasn't exhausted after work anymore, and felt like I had my life back.

For about the first half of the school semester coming out of summer, I was pretty energetic as well. Which was good because I was completely and totally swamped. More nights lasted until 4am than ever before. I maintained my diet but didn't have as much time to exercise. Towards mid-semester I felt myself burning out. It started with days where thinking was just very difficult. As time went on towards the end of the semester, having fogged, clouded, tired days became more common until the end of the semester. I'm pretty sure I performed less well on my final exams than I would have much earlier in the semester. Winter break was supposed to be a nice break, followed by getting a bunch of personal projects and maybe some social time in, but I instead crashed and never got up. My mind was muddled, and I played lots and lots of video games. I'm pretty sure I was hindering myself, but part of me was waiting for that drive that I had when I was younger to kick in and motivate me to get up and do something useful. That never came. The new semester started, and aside from about 3-5 days I've been a tired, unmotivated mess. Tired isn't the right word; exhausted would be better. Granted, I've gotten sick twice in the past 4 weeks which doesn't help, but the difference in energy and productivity between a good day and a bad day is a factor of at least 4. It's the difference between a panic and rush to get things done as I realize how behind I am, and how much I've been slacking off, and almost totally apathetic. Today was rather interesting. I've been muddled and pretty lethargic all day. Maybe even a bit tipsy. Dry-feeling eyes too. It's not enough to keep me from preparing food, but I can say that if I had to go through this working a full-time job, I'd almost rather be dead. All efforts to concentrate very quickly lead to closing my eyes and daydreaming. I want to say that I'm just lazy and need to get over myself, but it's rather interesting that when I get a good day, it's 100 times easier to focus. I decided to call it a day early today and take a hot shower. Maybe see if I could get some better circulation. I took a hot shower, and my head started to throb, and my ankles started to tingle. My jaw felt like something was pulsating through it. And I was really dizzy and just felt strange. I had to hold on to the side bar. My heart was racing. A couple times holding on to that side bar kept me from falling over. I swear I'm not highly intoxicated. Now, I have enough focus to write this obviously, but it'd be pretty difficult to take in and logically think about new information.

I almost forgot to mention, I got a new blood test about a month ago, and all levels now look quite good. Those thyroid levels that were a bit low last year are now dead center average. So nothing is wrong with me but at the same time, I feel like I'm slowly dying. I'm terrified of getting a job once I graduate because it means I have to get through the interview process, and for the past month or so, 7/10 days my thinking is so slow that a conversation, especially a technical one, is noticeably impeded. Trying to convince an employer they should hire me? If I'm honest, I feel like they shouldn't hire me and should go with someone who has their head on a bit more straight. So what if I have a good GPA? I can promise you  that 4 years ago I was much more capable than I am now. Now? Well, I just hope I'll survive. Figure out what the issue is. Or die quickly so that I don't have to feel like I'm living a waking dream anymore.

Maybe exercise is the issue. Maybe my body has extremely poor circulation and my mental and physical functionality is suffering far more than the average person would if they never  exercised. I can't reason out in my head why that might be the case, but I'm running low on options. My physician doesn't seem to have a clue. He suggested that I might be suffering from ordinary depression and should try some Prozac but didn't say anything more. It might be worth seeking out more specialized doctors, but I'd have to talk to my parents about whether they could afford it. And I'd need to muster up the willpower and brainpower to figure out who to call, make appointments, etc. That'd probably be the the biggest deterrent.

So yeah, I'm honestly feeling a bit hopeless for the long-term. I keep waiting, hoping that things will get better, and every once in a while I'll have a good week or two that's really good: so good, in fact, that I find myself almost unable to sympathize with how I feel at this moment. Unable to imagine what it's like on the other side. But more than anything, afraid to fall back down. But it seems to eventually come, and each time the transition back occurs I'm left feeling just a bit more discouraged than the previous time. 

I am very hesitant to post this, but here goes nothing...




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#8 1 year ago

Sounds a lot like depression, maybe even a  bit of bi-polar, but more toward the former.  In addition, those symptoms you have in the shower sound like panic attacks. I remember the first time I took SSRIs I felt like my entire body as contracting me into a pretzel.  And so I'd strongly recommend visiting a psychiatrist.  With all the activities in which you're engaged you may stretching yourself thin, and talking to a school counselor may help you get a better schedule so you can still enjoy the good stuff without pushing yourself too far.

Best of luck to you.


"I'd shush her zephyr." ~ Zephyr.



Mr. Matt VIP Member

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#9 1 year ago

Since my last post I've reevaluated life.

What you're suffering from is life.




MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#10 1 year ago
"Superfluous Curmudgeon " ... For about the first half of the school semester coming out of summer, I was pretty energetic as well. Which was good because I was completely and totally swamped. More nights lasted until 4am than ever before....

Are you getting enough sleep? Try 8 hours per day plus a little extra if you went through a time with less than 8.




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