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Tips For Stopping Moodiness From Hurting Relationship?


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#1 Think_Freely

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 10:18 PM

I've been with my boyfriend for almost 3 and a half years and was diagnosed with narcolepsy a year and a half ago. The first half of our relationship I was tired but it didn't affect me too much. After a year and a half of dating we broke up for a short period of time. That semester in school was when I realized my tiredness wasn't normal; I was constantly falling asleep in class, would go home and immediately fall asleep, and fell behind in my school work. I was diagnosed with N and C, then two months later my boyfriend and I got back together.

 

He has been EXTREMELY understanding of my N after he accepted that my disease is real and not just me being lazy. However, it has come to the point that my moodiness, irritability, and depression are hurting our relationship (and my psyche!). The only time we ever fight is when I'm irritable. Every noise annoys me and him just sitting next to me breathing makes my skin crawl when I'm exhausted. I've lashed out a few times and have yelled, thrown things, and slammed doors. Why he puts up with this I have absolutely no idea. I act like a small child when I get tired. I am scheduled to see a therapist in a week and I hope to get tools to help me manage my extreme ups and downs and irritability.

 

I would love to hear thoughts from fellow narcoleptics on ways to manage these mood swings. They are threatening my relationship and I need to get them under control ASAP. I've tried to calm myself down when I start to feel that fuzzy-headed irritability coming on but the emotions are like a giant tidal wave that indundates me with emotions I can't fight. How do you all manage the irritability and calm yourselves when exhaustion sets in hard?



#2 DeathRabbit

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 09:46 AM

Well you can't control emotions when they are brought on by the type of chemical imbalances caused by N. However, you can limit the damage you do. You say you can tell when one of these episodes is about to hit. Well, my advice is to remove yourself from situations in which a problem might arise. Just excuse yourself to lie down. And this is something I keep preaching to ppl with mood disorders because it has helped me so much: allow yourself to do or say nothing beyond the mundane (IE: "Please, pass the ketchup", or going to use the restroom) . Anything else, and you are risking an episode you'll regret. And above all else, avoid any decision making during one of these moods. It sucks that we have to go to go thru stuff like this, but yea, going into my turtle shell has prevented me from doing and saying a lot of stuff I shouldn't have, even though my current mood made those thoughts seem logical at the time. I heard the best line in a song the other day: "Love is a decision to put away your ammuntion." So when you feel these episodes coming on, just do your best to "disarm" yourself. It's not always successful, and it may not work for everyone, but it's been an effective coping mechanism for me and some of my friends who have mood disorders. And I guess, finally, keep a disinterested third paty around that you can rant at, so if you absolutely have to explode, you can do it on someone it won't really harm. One of my buds last night was telling me how a friend of his called him out to a bar after he and his gf broke up. He spent two or three hours getting drunk and railing about how much of a *BEEP* she was and listing everything she did that pissed him off. At the end of it, he was like "Thanks a lot for listening, man. I'm gonna go get her back now."



#3 Think_Freely

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 11:53 AM

Solid advice! However, I've tried removing myself when I begin to feel irritable but it's not a realistic situation for me because I get irritable every single night. My boyfriend and I both don't get home until around 6 or 7 every night so if I'm irritable during that time and go to the other room or ask him to just let be me when I feel like that, we would never see each other or interact. And that's not much of a relationship. So after a few attempts at removing myself I realized it wasn't going to work. I 've also been thinking (although I know I shouldn't be diagnosing myself from things I read on the internet) that I may be narcoleptic and bipolar. I definitely display bipolar disorder symptoms but I'm not sure if it's just the narcolepsy or a combo of mood disorders. I'm seeing a psychologist on Thursday on campus and maybe he can give me direction in regards to good psychiatrists to see. I just hope I can figure out my moodiness soon. Its obtrusiveness into every aspect of my life is getting old. 



#4 DeathRabbit

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 03:44 PM

I think bipolar would not be correct here, as the mechanism is different. IE: with proper sleep, you wouldn't have these issues. However, it might be worth trying lithium or a low dose of lamictal to see if it helps. I'm on a fairly high dose of lamictal myself, actually, because it reduces my fatigue migraines associated with N and improves my brain fog, and I have noticed it even me out just a tad, though it's not a panacea for N symptoms. But I understand what you are going through. Sometimes I just pray in the moirning, "Lord let me get through this day and at least be semi-productive and manage not to hurt anyone." The thing about chronic conditions is that you aren't the only one who has it. When you have a chronic disability, your family has it, so do your friends, so do your love interests. It's a rough road, but I just keep telling myself each day, that "yea it sucks and it's *BEEP*ing unfair this bull*BEEP* is happening to me, but it's not any of my friends/family's fault either, so I'm gonna do my damndest to minimize the damage to myself only." Doesn't always work out that way, but hey, you know what they say. "Shoot for the moon and at least you land among the stars." Sorry I'm all out of useful advice and devolving this convo to platitudes, haha.



#5 Think_Freely

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 02:13 PM

No, you're fine!! I post here for discussions to connect with others with N, you don't have to stay on topic! Just hearing that I'm not alone helps a lot. I don't actually know anyone else with N so the Internet is where I get all of my knowledge and support. Thank you for sharing, and for commenting on all of my posts!! :)

And yeah I feel the same way. Every morning I just hope I can make it. I hate living day to day though, and that nobody knows what mood to expect to see me in. I dont know either. I'll be fine and then tumble down into a deep anger in 2 seconds because of a headache or whatever. I try to keep it to myself and not show my boyfriend that I'm being affected by my mood, but that boy knows how I feel just by glancing at me. Im hoping ill have time during the summer to do some serious research and figure out a long-term treatment plan.

#6 DeathRabbit

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 02:52 PM

Well, I know you'd like to hide all the mood issues from him, but maybe it's a good thing he can read you that well. It's a whole lot easier to take some flak from someone when you know and understand that they are not in a good place, versus thinking everything is fine, then getting blindsided.  I know not being able to read each other has been kind of an issue between me and my gf, because we live an hour apart, and she is a shift worker, so we only get to see each other like twice a month. We hardly ever argue in person since there's the whole personal connection thing going then, but we've had our fair share of arguments over the phone/FB, just because one didn't realize what mood the other was in, or misinterpreted something, even unfortunate typos, etc. Good luck and remember, while we can never be normal, we can make things bearable, and noone deserves to live in misery, so don't take no for an answer from your docs and etc until you find something that helps you be you.



#7 DogDaze

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 08:48 PM

Thank you both so much for posting this!!! I am going through the same things myself. My relationship has been put through the ringer to the point that we are basically just living together long enough for me to get a stable job and money built up so that I can support myself and then we were going to separate! However more recently we have been able to talk about our issues more and figure things out that it might look like we can salvage things. One huge help was me reading this to my bf and us realizing that it isn't ME wanting to be a huge *beep*, it's these stupid mood swings and uncontrollable irritability making me this way. It has been a few months now of me acting more and more uncharacteristic of myself and not knowing why or what was causing it. I was to the point of blaming my bf for making me unhappy - but in reality he has done nothing but be BEYOND supportive! Like you said how the littlest things would "make your skin crawl" - I too have had the same feelings and thought it was because maybe subconsciously I wasn't happy with my bf and it was my way of trying to find things wrong to end the relationship. But I would be insane to get rid of someone who has been so supportive and understanding and willing to work with me on these problems. Any guy in his right mind would have left me by now for the way I have treated him lately - with the constant blowing up on him, yelling at him, blaming him for everything, I've even kicked him out of the bedroom because his snoring "makes my skin crawl"! (Also with his snoring means I don't get any sleep, and well I don't have to tell you how the lack of sleep makes us with N even more irritable!! - what a vicious circle). My bf had made the comment of thinking it was the Adderall causing my irritability, and I had posted earlier today asking about if others have had such side effects from it - and thank you DeathRabbit for replying, you are my favorite support person on here all ready! But after reading this I realize it might be the two combined making me this way. I really thought about what you (DeathRabbit) had said about the time of day when the Adderall started to wear off exacerbating me being so irritable - and sure enough like clock work I can tell you when things start to effect me more (6pm-ish)! Unfortunately my bf usually gets home around 5pm, so he only gets about an hour of being with the "happy" me before I start yelling and blaming him for things :(   After reading this to him and us talking more about my moods he was so understanding to say, "I will work with you on it", and as long as I just simply am able to recognize that it's not "me" and what I'm yelling at him for isn't really the cause and apologize to him for yelling at him he's willing to stay with me and make things work! So my advice to you is keep your guy because he sounds like he's a lot like my guy - understanding and supportive- and just have open communication and apologize to him when you might blow up on him and explain to him that it's not the real you when you act like that. I was still in tears when I was talking with my bf about it because I had said, "it's not fair that I put you through this, you shouldn't be treated this way,why would you want to live your life like this with me?" His answer was, "if you just apologize more often so I know it's not the real you and know that you recognize that it's not really me making you feel that way then I will be able to forgive you and move on with our lives, I will be able to remember the times when you're in a happy mood more and know that's why I am still with you because I like that version of you"! Something tells me if you do this you're guy will react similar to mine, and we're pretty damn lucky to have found a guy like that!! I hope things start getting better for you, and I'm so glad I came to this site today to find others with similar problems, I hope we can help each other through this hard journey! It's so soothing just to know there's others dealing with the same and that I'm not alone and to read what helps others through the hard times. 



#8 salomeforever

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 09:55 PM

I'm getting married in May, and have been living with my fiancĂ© for about a year now.  I get the same irrational irritations some evenings, but I think there are a lot of other things besides straight up Narcolepsy that contribute. Living with a significant other is a HUGE adjustment for which nothing, not roommates nor long weekends together, can prepare you.  The first few months we lived together, I thought we'd never make it. It takes time to adjust, especially if, like us, you live in a tiny apartment and share a bedroom.  I grew up an only child and I love being alone; living in close quarters with anyone  new would make me a little crazy. 

That said, I now can't imagine living without him.  It took a combined effort on both our parts to get used to my Narcolepsy, which has also rapidly increased in severity over the past two years. While he's never been unsupportive, I think it took him a while to really 'get' what having Narcolepsy fully entails, how it reaches slimy fingers into every single aspect of your daily life, and how the stress and depression related to vigorously maintaining your health and relationships is a substantial disability in itself.  Likewise, I had to learn to express in the best way possible that which is ultimately incommunicable: what it feels like to be me. I feel like I am holding up my part of the relationship responsibly when I disclose how I feel and what I need that day, and he is holding up his by not mistaking my brevity for callousness or disdain, not letting that which is out of my control hurt his feelings. I do my very best not to snap and to listen to my own emotional needs, which means not letting the guilt of not being happy at the moment affect my perception of my actual emotional state.  I'm not a perfect person, and sometimes it takes me a second to realize what a ***** I'm being, and in those moments I quickly apologize and disclose how worked up I am. 

I think many people internalize guilt when they can do nothing to alleviate a loved one's struggling, and this guilt can subconsciously manifest as anger and hurt feelings. It's crucial in any relationship that each party strives to identify the origin of their own emotions, and not hold others responsible for their own happiness.