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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bipolar Journey

I was diagnosed in Fall 2013 with bipolar 2 "disorder"--my psychiatrist said that she hesitates to call such things a disorder, as most psychiatric illnesses are considered just that--illnesses of brain chemistry.  She said last session that the two people who have called me mentally unstable--the person in question and one other--are likely uninformed, and probably have conditions of their own which are untreated (plus it's a smoke screen--much easier to tell people that I am crazy in case they get caught doing something awful or illegal).  She said it is a shame such prejudices still exist, and sorry that one of them did not trust enough to see me get better in every way possible.

I can only focus on myself for this.  I have to say that Lamictal delivered my self back to me--I am more creative, happier, sleep better, dream better, worry less, yet still have the full range of emotions, without cycling into the deep depression which is the hallmark of my own illness.  I have learned from my doctor that my brain got walloped for years with prednisone to save my life and this can really elicit bipolar more than any other drug on earth.  When I was assaulted in the club, that kindled my first and last really serious episode (other than when things fell apart in November 2013--too much came down on me and I was newly on Lamictal and coming off Prozac).  Now I am able to deal with situations very well, and am able to finish many projects, and even have happiness in the middle of the things I still grieve. I am only sorry I resisted this diagnosis.  One of my friends is bipolar with mania and has been on Lamictal for many years; she is productive, happy, free of the ups and downs, and is working in the medical field quite successfully.

I recently asked my doctor what Lamictal actually does, and she says it strengthens the brain's cell walls in order to normalize electrical activity, thus normalizing all the brain processes.  That is all it does, and that is the "belt and suspenders" I needed to get well again.  My concerns about work are with my state of health under chemotherapy--I do not know if it will undo all that I have done to get well.  Plus, I have gained so little from working for the State of California--they do not even offer a pension plan for people who work two classes or less like I have to, due to disability.  I only pay into a savings program, which is enough to put a new deck on my house (the first thing I have to do in order to get new appliances in and out, etc.).  It's a nearly seventy year old house and has a lot still to do.

Well, I guess all this rumination is a bit boring, and I need to get ready to write today...after all, that is my real life, the reason I am here.