Riding the Wave ... And the Trough

I am mentally ill, diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I, OCD, ADHD, PTSD and a vitamin B12 deficiency (a key element in brain development). For over 12 years, I took anywhere from 5-8 psychotropic meds each day, and have been recently giving myself a monthly injection of B12.

In January 2012 I was hospitalized for depression, and management of my currrent med cocktail. Immediately all but two of my meds were discontinued and, after a few weeks of adjustment, and some near hospitalizations, things seem to be going much better.

I have been on permanent disability since January 2010, and am adjusting to life on a very limited income.

My prayer is that in walking with me during the ups and downs of Bipolar Disorder, you might find solace, and benefit through my experiences.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bookmark and ShareSince being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 1994, I have had to suffer secretly, not allowing my diagnosis to become public. Those days are gone, and now I don't have to hide any more. It's not quite what I thought it would be.

Since I don't have to work any more at not appearing bipolar, my illness seems more profound. It's like the walls have come down, and I am fully exposed. I never realized how much I depended on that wall. At the time I hated it, but it's what kept me sane. I realize it now and, though surprised, I'm not discouraged. In the words of that great statesman, Pink Floyd, it's "just another brick in the wall".

I've learned a valuable lesson as I move through the MI mine field. I started out watching it happen from a distance (if you can imagine). Over time, the distance between MI and myself became shorter and shorter until, an this happened only 8 weeks ago, I now look out from inside the MI. It's scarier than I thought it would be, but I get used to it over time.

So, I've decided to:

NAME IT: It's a mental illness. It's not the plague. It's not illegal, immoral or catching. You have a sickness that is, for the most part, controllable and easily regulated. Sure it will impact you life, but what doesn't? Face it, you're mentally ill; get over yourself and live your life.

CLAIM IT: Stop running. Ignoring it won't make it go away. Trying to be someone you're not won't change it. Pretending it's not a big deal doesn't make it so. It's a big deal to you. Don't hide it; hiding it only makes you feel like it's bad. It's not; it's you. The more of us that stand up and say, at the top of our lungs, 'I'M MENTALLY ILL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO HIDE IT ANYMORE!' (with apologies to "Network"'s Howard Beale).

TAME IT: It's a part of you, or maybe it is you. Regardless, it's here to stay. As much as you're able, put it to use. You have already defined what it is and decided to accept it as your own. Now you have to take control of it. Don't let it control you.

Don 't bother asking yourself if you enjoy being mentally ill; of course you don't. There are times when it results in creativity, and times when it makes it hard to get out of bed. It can take you to the top of the mountain, and deep into the valley, sometimes a few times a year, sometimes many times each day. Sometimes it can be your best friend, or your worst enemy.

Befriend it, and get on with your life.

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