Accepting your Bipolar diagnosis. Again and again and again.

Initially my diagnosis didn’t come as much of a shock to me. It was more of a relief. I did show up at the emergency room in the middle of the night exclaiming “Something is wrong with me!” after all. I was just too happy to finally find out what that “something” was.

As I got better and changed back into something that resembled a “fully functioning” human being, there have been times that I wondered if I was really ill. It usually only takes about two weeks for my mood to shift, as if to say “Ha! And there you thought you were well and health. Mwhuhahaha!” So I haven’t wondered whether or not I was really Bipolar very often. But that doesn’t mean I like it one bit, or that I don’t become frustrated and even enraged by it.

As of today I am, very reluctantly, back on Seroquel (anti-psychotics), and I don’t like it one bit. I worked really hard to get off it a few months ago, and it feels like I’m taking a step back. Unfortunately it’s become very clear, even to me, that my emotional reactions are disproportionate to what triggers it. And sometimes life happens and you can’t have a meltdown and become suicidal every time something upsets you. Speaking of suicide, I said to my psychiatrist: “Surely every person thinks about how it would be to kill themselves at least once in their lives. In my mind it’s a normal thought.” He looked at my wide eyed: “You might be surprised, but it’s actually not. People don’t just think about killing themselves.” Being depressed for roughly two weeks every month is not working out so well and with a stressful time at work ahead Seroquel seemed to be the only answer. I am mad and it sucks and I am going to get fat again and only start functioning after 11 if I’m lucky. Even though I know that Seroquel basically saved my life, I stopped in the first place because it feels like I have to navigate my whole life around it.

To come back to accepting your diagnosis. Taking my pills have become a habit and mostly I try not to think about it. It’s only when it gets mixed up again and I have to remember what dose of what and break pills in half (I am the proud owner of a pill cutter…) etc that I really become conscious of it again, like today. Somehow it becomes more real again and I go back to being pissed off, frustrated and feeling rebellious about it. I go back to hating myself, my life, my illness, the world, everything. I become acutely aware of the fact that I will be struggling to manage this thing for the rest of my life. And then I get overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and self-loathing for acting like my life is so much worse than everyone else’s. Of course all these emotions make my condition even worse. I have to get use to the idea all over again. I have Bipolar Disorder. It is chronic. It will never go away. I will spend the rest of my life struggling with mental illness. I will get better but at some point it will get worse again. Life goes on. Until I finally, again, accept that this is my reality.

On that note, with the Seroquel kicking in and the letters starting to swim on my screen, I bid you good night.

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4 thoughts on “Accepting your Bipolar diagnosis. Again and again and again.

  1. I was very much the same when I got my diagnosis, mainly because I had been in the system for many years and was getting more and more unstable and finally having a label was a relief because it was an explanation and meant there was something that could be actually fixed. However, about 2 years later and after many med trials and getting consistently worse it finally hit me that, oh shit! this is real and forever and I ended up having a breakdown, going into hospital and a year and a half after discharge I am just getting ready to face the world again.

    The difficult part is that I am starting to feel like myself again, to differentiate for the first time between symptoms and my own personality and I know that I feel like it is over; I have the skills to manage, I can recognise symptoms, I am mostly happy with my med combination and even though I know that it is likely that I will have another crisis again I find it difficult to accept that. It is like walking around with a little demon on your shoulder and, even though I can see it and feel it and hear it, I just don’t believe it is real sometimes.

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  2. You’ve nailed it yet again. Accepting it again and again and again!

    By the way, one of my huge destabilising influences was massive sensitivity to hormone changes, I. E. Going full suicidal like clock work every month, despite being on a hefty dose of mood stabilisers and being pretty ok the rest of the time. I got a Mirena put in and it had a massive calming effect. Do you reckon maybe hormones are having anything to do with your mood changes?

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  3. Every single time you write something, I can relate. Thank you for saying what is sometimes so difficult to put into words. Good luck on the medication. I hope that you will feel better about it soon. I know what a nuisance it can be. And I feel like this all the time. Good luck! 🙂

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