Not all of them, granted. There are some out there who do their jobs properly. I met one psychiatrist the other day who seemed quite competent at diagnosing someone. I also have a great psychologist who does what she is supposed to do, namely challenge thoughts and behaviors and help me live my life better.
But the rest - and there have been many - that I have seen since I was 19, well they can all bite my shiny metal ass. (erm...) How can that many shrinks of one variety or another and that many GPs (also lots) miss something like Bipolar?
Bipolar 2 Disorder. Bipolar Lite, if you will, which means I'm not about to spend the family fortune, shag everyone I meet nor will I talk a thousand words per minute and think I am Jeebus. But I will visit the deepest darkest pits of hell of depression and be serious about others being better off if I weren't here. I will also have amazing ideas for projects that take up all of my time every day, that I am not physically capable of doing, and no one else seems quite as enthusiastic about it as me...
My psychologist made me do a test. I love doing test. Love.them. This one was an hour-long online assessment through the Black Dog Institute. It took an hour to complete, and I didn't need the whole hour to realise into which box my answers would be fitting.
- 30 out of a possible 30 for Depression (still? really? shit)
- 24 out of a possible 24 for Functional Impairement (that's some fucked up functioning)
- Severe PTSD
- Moderate Anxiety Disorder
- Moderate Social Phobia
- Moderate Panic Disorder
When I saw the psychiatrist last Friday for a full assessment, the online assessment was confirmed and I was advised to start taking the mood stabiliser par excellence Lithium and the anti-psychotic Seroquel.
Tonight I have popped my first Lithium, and so begins the new med-go-round. I hope this doesn't play out like the trial and error of getting my pain management right. I don't want to waste another two years of my life trialling meds before I am stable. I have lost so much time already from not being properly diagnosed when the Bipolar first appeared when I was 14. I dont want to dwell on how different my life would be had I been treated then. I want this diagnosis to play a positive role in my life now.
I now have a label on which to hang many things from my past. I have a way of making sense of things that seemed nonsensical. Nothing in me has changed. My behaviour hasn't changed, or not until the Lithium kicks in anyways. I'm still the
It is unfortunate that with this label comes society's prejudices, assumptions and negative ideas about Bipolar. And with those comes the likelihood of being discounted or dismissed because I'm manic (even when I'm not) or as just another nutter who doesn't have anything to contribute (when I do), or as someone whose friendship may be too difficult to manage (I'm harmless, promise).
The trick for me now is to concentrate on the benefits of knowing what
Fuck the haters, right?
It's my 42nd birthday in two days and I'll be happy about being Bipolar if I want to.