On Autism and Mood Disorder (Bipolar)

Poor Hubby stayed home today, ill with the cold that wiped Liev and me out Monday. To make things worse, Egor has sciatica. His weekend guitar marathons are a likely culprit since he perches on our low-profile bed in an awkward, almost perilous position. Fellow spines shudder! Anyway, neither sickness nor sciatica will deter his strumming and singing, so I’ll sneak a proper chair into his room when he is not looking. 

My YouTube Project is humming along. Uploading and organizing videos gives me clarity and purpose. Falling asleep is a struggle since the satisfaction of organizing is so rewarding. Well, that and the eight cups of tea I drank!

Life hasn’t been all videos and journal transfers. Autism research devours part of every day.  A half-remembered article about depressed mothers and autism sent me on a Google Quest.  Did you know there is a “Broad Autism Phenotype?”  The B.A.P. is a constellation of traits that are not purely autistic but exist in the families of autistic people. With descriptions like “aloof, anxious, hypersensitive, overly conscientious, rigid, and untactful,”  I wonder how biased the researchers are. Despite the negative slant, I can say, “Maybe, CHECK, check, check, check, check.” Could this be a horoscope effect? Are these terms general enough that they apply to most people? Who isn’t anxious? Well, I know many people who are far from being conscientious, rigid, and hypersensitive.

I might be splitting hairs, however. These qualities manifest in our family. We are spectrumy. Am I diagnosable? Who knows, but I fit in the phenotype.

Examining heritability and autism, I uncovered provocative research. Giftedness and autism pop up in families with histories of bipolar and major depression. Up to 27% of people with Asperger’s also have bipolar disorder. Discussions arose about distinguishing AS from bipolar since AS people have difficulty with emotional regulation, which can present as bipolar due to intense mood shifts.

In our family, Dad, Egor, and I are exceptionally gifted. Depression and bipolar are rampant as well. Dad’s father was bipolar and cycled in and out of institutions, especially later in his life. Dad’s mother and Egor’s mother both have major depression. My mom? Hmm mmm. Anxious, compulsive, and coming soon on an episode of Hoarder’s.

What would I change about my life? Be less awkward, have more friends? Not if it cost me my thoughts. I’ll even keep my depression right where it is–manageable. The reduction of anxiety and obsessive thoughts that Lexapro has brought me is a blessing. I can sleep regular hours, and my life is not a 24 hour “Strange Addictions” episode, where viewers can watch as I google health issues late into the night while picking at the skin behind my legs. I like me, but I want to understand myself as well.  

*The link to the article I read with regard to autism and bipolar disorder is here.

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