Thursday, April 06, 2006

Bipolar Diagnosis

The Queen at My Bipolar Life told an interesting story in her last post. I am reposting it here:

Something has been bothering me since yesterday. I went in with hubby when he saw his psychiatrist. He felt like maybe I could give her more insight into his behavior.

Anyway, I mentioned my diagnosis to her, and she said that she didn't believe I was bipolar. She said I was too well spoken and clear headed.

Trying to ignore the insensitivity of that doc's comment, and that he or she walked all over a peer's work, let's explore this a bit.

I have yet to meet ANYONE (except my wife) who agrees with my diagnosis. They think I'm too well spoken, or polished, or smart, or successful, or hard working or... But that is EXACTLY my issue. I live my life to keep it together for the world, and nobody is allowed a glimpse of what's behind the curtain. The family knows, they bear the brunt of my highs and lows, the meanness and the laughter. That curtain extends even to our home - I'm not comfortable with people in my house, and it took me years to realize why. The house is something too large and overwhelming to keep together. When my house is messy or dirty I often lose it. It's just too much for me to handle alone, and because I can't handle it alone, I'm often not able to handle it at all...

But back on topic. After watching my bipolar son struggle through school and struggle through life, I wanted to become an advocate of sorts. I began pursuing knowledge about this condition. the wife and I began to blog, slowly becoming part of the bipolar community. When I was finally diagnosed as bipolar after several yearly trips to the doc over depression related issues, it was almost a relief. From the time I learned about this condition, I knew I would eventually find this out, and am cool with that. In fact, I now have a legitimate soapbox from which to preach.

Onward and upward. My diagnosis of bipolar disorder is really secondary to any of this. I have a pdoc that rarely mentions the word "bipolar". We talk about successes and failures, highs and lows, and what can be done in the coming month. But perhaps most importantly, we discuss meds. How they are working, side effects, what is good, what is bad. Without meds I could live life the same as I always have. The highs would be higher, the lows lower. The curtain would remain, the exterior unchanged.

So why accept the diagnosis? Why take the meds? Because it makes life easier for my loved ones. Even medicated I'm still not an easy person to live with in many ways. In other ways I'm an adventure every day. But the quality of life of my loved ones is better when I'm faithful about taking my meds. Which brings us to the point of this post: It wouldn't matter if they rescinded their bipolar diagnosis. I am a better husband and father due to these meds, and I don't care what they want to call it.

9 comments:

The Queen said...

Jon-Thank you for this post!!

Sharla said...

YES!! I'm too smart, too savvy, too well-spoken, too funny, too whatever to 'be bi-polar' according to absolutely everyone except those who actually live with me. THEY know. Like you said.

Sharla said...

I forgot to say that sometimes even psychiatrists expect us to "act crazy"

Maggs said...

Yeah, I hear those things from my pdoc all the time. That I'm smart, sassy, blah blah blah. Still doesn't sink in though

Sage said...

(behind the tears) Thank you

DramaPrincess said...

I get the same thing... I've been working for lawyers for 10 years.. been with this one for 3... expect to graduate from college in December with my associate's as a paralegal and have a 3.4 GPA... the only reason it's taken so long is because I'm a single mom and I get burned out trying to be mom, full time employee, and school.

And I agree with your attitude on the meds: I'm a better mom and girlfriend with them. Without them I am one hell of a bitch. LOL

Daryl Dellamorte said...

I wish I had two things; as decent a pdoc as you do and people as present in your life as you do. Then, maybe my having hope about dealing with this disease would seem worthwhile. anyway, glad i found your blog. linking to find my way back...

Jon said...

Thanks all for your comments. It was a liberating post to write.

Jon said...

And to Sage and Daryl - thanks for stopping by, and I've added you to my links list.