#FOWC: Euphoric

I haven’t felt really happy for longer than a few minutes at a time in a long while. I mean, yes, sometimes I laugh out loud and feel pretty good for a few moments. Overall though, I feel irritable.

I have never experienced an euphoric mood as far as I know. Then again, in mental health, euphoria isn’t seen as something positive. It is one of the manifestations of the (hypo)manic phase of bipolar disorder. The other, dysphoria, is not as commonly recognized as a bipolar or mood disorder phase.

I’m not bipolar. I never experienced mania or even hypomania. I do however experience dysphoric symptoms. In fact, I’m almost always irritable.

Back in the day when the DSM-5 was being drafted, the term for what is now called disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, was temper dysregulation disorder with dysphoria. Neither term feels right to me, as someone who may’ve been diagnosed with DMDD as a child had it existed in the mid-1990s. I feel mood dysregulation disorder with dysphoria would be a better name. I mean, yes, of course these kids are disruptive, but the focus should be on their unstable mood. DMDD is characterized by the occurrence of frequent mood outbursts combined with a generally irritable mood even when the child isn’t experiencing dysregulation.

Thankfully, irritability was added to depression’s mood criterion in DSM-5 too. Before then, it was only a criterion in children and adolescents. I, however, have always experienced dysphoric depression. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m diagnosable with persistent depressive disorder.

This is one reason I might want to experience a bit of an euphoric mood at times. Maybe I do get it, but usually it happens at an inconvenient time. I mean, I occasionally experience an extreme flow of ideas combined with an urge to act on them. Usually this happens during a night I cannot sleep though, so I cannot act out my impulses immediately. Then often the next day I’m back to my usual, irritable and slightly depressed self. Even though I know that it’s not an entirely positive thing, I wish I experienced euphoria for a longer while at times.

10 thoughts on “#FOWC: Euphoric

  1. I find my current state is 99% anhedonic. I just feel zero joy. But when I do feel it, it’s hardly a manic episode or euphoria. It’s more like putting fuel into a car’s tank-it keeps me going a few more miles.
    You can have major depressive episodes even if your primary is dysphoria. But doctors can be lame brained sometimes, they get so wrapped up in that DSM (Douchebaggery Simpletone Manual, I call it) they can miss obvious things or not even hear us state obvious things.
    Just because you can laugh out loud doesn’t mean you’re not in a major depressive episode. I think that is one thing that earned my disdain toward the DSM is they’re very hung up on how long a manic or depressive period lasts (because bipolar is just their new go-to for everyone these days) or they don’t know what label fits. They ignore the third axis-cyclothmia- which is mood dysphoria without the extreme shifts toward too happy or two sad. Cyclothymia does, like the axis one and two, come with ‘hypomanic’ bursts where you get super productive or creative and might feel pretty good.
    I’m hardly a professional and the DSM is always changing, but one thing I have learned- labels be damned. If your gut tells you that your depression isn’t just some fleeting dysphoric mood…Speak up. No one should have to live in a major depressive episode because it doesn’t fit some book label.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for this. I agree with you doctors are often dismissive of people presenting with atypical symptoms. I was finally diagnosed with recurrent major depression (should’ve most likely been persistent depressive disorder) in 2017 after suffering for 20+ years. Still, I didn’t feel comfortable asking for a med tweak until a year later when I had a new psychiatrist I trusted (the one diagnosing me was just providing me a second opinion so no treatment). I tend to be caught up in the idea that if you aren’t a pain in other people’s necks, there’s no reason for treatment. Probabl a result of 9+ years on psychiatric units being considered a major pain in the behind.

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      1. The world does such a disservice to the mental health patients, it’s shameful. I just got rid of HORRID psych nurse who kept shoveling higher doses of Zoloft at me even though I told her it made me more depressed and I didn’t want to live anymore. She just didn’t have the experience, she was all about what the books say and what worked for 50 other patients she handled.
        Now I have an older more mature male psych doctor (it”s telepsych via TV screen and computer,psych center can’t get or keep doctors) and he has been amazing. Even at my last appointment when maxing out my Cymbalta, he was already asking about what I had tried and what had worked or not, trying to plan ahead in case the Cymbalta simply wasn’t taking. I like that planning ahead thing because, big shocker, my med resistant brain is not responding even to 120 mg.
        It took me 12 years to get a bipolar diagnosis, 12 years being fed wrong meds that worsened my mania, and after that, I started being a squeaky wheel and speaking up. If you can’t advocate for yourself, then who will?
        Oh, I’ve been told so many times what a pain in the butt I am and they always insisted I just have a difficult personality. But I always knew there was something off kilter because even alone, I annoyed myself and knew I wasn’t thinking clearly.
        I am glad that you’ve finally found a provider you trust, it is so important. The year I spent with that hellish psych nursem about had me ready to quit my meds and just end up in the looney bin, anything to escape her ‘treatment’. I didn’t trust her and it matters.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, don’t get me started on MH providers telling me I have a difficult personality! I was misdiagnosed with dependent PD because I advocated for the care I needed rather than the care the psychologist wanted me to get. A psychologist I saw later on said that psychologit probably diagnosed me for the purpose of being able to discharge me from the psych hospital without much after care after 9 1/2 years. After all, the hospital was facing budget cuts and I was still young’ish (30) and didn’t experience psychosis. The psychologist who misdiagnosed me claimed, when I admitted to having experienced some level of insitutionalization (then again, what long-term patient doesn’t?), that she needed to diagnose that as something and the closest is DPD. Well, no, she didn’t need to diagnose a systemic problem as an individual’s personality flaw.

          I’m so happy you found a provide ryou can trust now. I’m not sure about my current psychiatric team yet, as I moved out of the area the psychiatrist I mentioned in my previous comment works in. However, I know I can trust my care facility staff and behavior specialist. I do want a psychiatric team on hand as needed, but my main helpers are my staff.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Psychologists creep me out, honestly. It’s like a podiotrist treating a fatal foot fungus yet they can’t prescribe antibiotics. What is the bloody point???
            As long as your team has your back, that is awesome. Though I do hope you find a psych that you can relate to, it really is so important in how our mental space perceives treatment and responds to it.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I can definitely relate–I feel irritable most of the time too, although like you I’m not bipolar and don’t experience mania. That said, I do have times of semi-euphoria, where I’m full of ideas and creative energy…but those times always pass, and then I’m back to my usual irritable self. Thanks for sharing this! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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