Thought of the Week: Diagnosed Bipolar…

…and pissed about it.

So goes the tagline of one of my favorite bloggers, lifeonaxis1. As of last Tuesday, it turns out she and I have something in common.

Such was the offhand remark my psychiatrist made when I went to see him about having stopped my medication. “Well, we’ve been giving you these four different medications for a couple of years now, the results have been so-so, you’re having withdrawal symptoms and oh, by the way, you’re bipolar.”

Thanks, doc.

The funny thing is, I don’t feel bipolar. I actually feel pretty level most of the time – anywhere from just plain ordinary to mopey and depressed, but never hyper. Never gone through manic periods, never had wild mood fluctuations, never felt like I was in charge of the world. For me there’s just depressed and more depressed.

At least that’s what I thought, until I looked back at the past few days and weeks. Since going off my medications entirely, I’ve written five chapters of my book. That’s 28,000 words in less than four weeks. I’ve written nearly every lunchtime at work, nearly every night before bed.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, since going back on my meds my mood has stabilized immensely:

Wild mood swings…

Wild mood swings…

See that point about two weeks ago? Yeah – that’s when I started the meds again. It just so happens that one of the medications (actually several, I think) is used to treat bipolar disorder. It was the last one I stopped taking, and the first one I started again. It suddenly feels like a paper bag being popped – out exploded all this nervousness and anxiety and manic obsessive behavior that I didn’t even know existed. And now, I’m trying to cram it all back into a new bag.

I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do about it; I’m not sure if it even changes anything. For years (decades, almost) I’ve been desperate to have a diagnosis, a sign of something, of “this is what’s wrong with you”. And now I have one, I feel very let down; it’s as if what’s wrong with me is something mundane and ordinary – something anyone ought to be able to deal with. Perhaps it was the way the doc said it; perhaps it’s how I took it. Either way, it doesn’t change the deep down feeling I have that what’s truly wrong with me is that I just can’t cope with life like other people can. That I’m just bad at being a person.

But then, isn’t that kind of what bipolar disorder does to you?

Disclaimer: you’re not a bad person, lifeonaxis1. Just me.

Featured image from http://s686.photobucket.com/user/mnemophobiax/media/Gifs/Wallpaper/bipolar.jpg.html.

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2 thoughts on “Thought of the Week: Diagnosed Bipolar…

    • A great way of looking at things! I’ve been tracking my mood for a while and it seems there’s a kind of cycle – several weeks of feeling pretty good, followed by several weeks of feeling horrible. We’ll have to see how it pans out.

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