31 days of bipolar: day 1

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The meme, the whole meme and nothing but the meme.

1. What flavour of bipolar are you? What does your diagnosis mean to you?

My diagnosis started as bipolar ii, but then my shrink kindly handed me the updowngrade with all the extras: Rapid and continuous cycling bipolar I, with mixed and psychotic features (childhood onset).

Its meaning. is all sorts of things. It’s an explanation of almost all of my life and although my psychiatrist says it’s a justification too, I don’t see it that way. Although given its neurotoxic nature, I probably should. But the past is past and I’d prefer the forensics to be brief.

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Otherwise I have to wonder who I am even more.

It means that finally after 44 years I started on the journey towards finding the right meds. That means going through all kinds of states of mind, as well as an astonishing array of side effects of various levels of discomfort. A sudden world of enornous doses of heavy medication and multiple trips on the meds go round with no sickbag. It means I spend a lot more on my health. Bipolar is allegedly the most expensive disorder to treat. There are claims that it’s more expensive than cancer and diabetes too. I also look at life very differently, having learned about the impact of bipolar on life expectancy. That is a very reassuring and positive one for me – and nope I am not being sarcastic.

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It has been and still is a whole new learning curve, though it’s not as steep now as it was. Researching it not only makes me feel a bit more empowered, it also (oddly enough) serves as a really good distraction from the unpleasant reality of it all. And since manic depression is thought to correlate to creativity, there’s a whole new angle to looking at art etc. That one gets old fast though. It’s forced me to learn stuff about neurology and chemistry, which is a very welcome change from psychology – and it gives my lazy brain a workout too.

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It means thinking harder about whether and what to tell people. I still haven’t told very many people at all. Already one of them looks at me as though I am unexploded ordinance. I’ve always been open about stuff (being queer, being a survivor of abuse etc), so it’s new territory.

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It came with an access all areas backstage pass into a very complex world full of broken and beautiful people. It started me writing again after over a year. It makes me cry, but occasionally it makes me laugh. It’s shifted my priorities a lot. It’s made me move from solitude to loneliness.  Aloneness. It introduced me to new friends who alleviate the loneliness. It caused me to love old friends even more.

It made me even more mawkish than I was before.

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