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Living with Bipolar Disorder: Is It Just Me?

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I received a Tweet from wonderful Twitter friend, Mark. He was asking why he hadn’t heard anything from me lately and I dissociated as I thought about the fact that I haven’t written any articles in at least a week. Without considering a real answer, at least one of substance I replied that I’d been lazy – which is true. I feel lazy lately; so lazy.

I slept until 5:00 pm today. I wasn’t even sleeping the entire time. I would rise up, consider getting up, talk to the dog, and lay back down. Why in the world should I get up? I shouldn’t. I won’t.

The reality of the situation is that my medications aren’t right. It’s very difficult to medicate those with Bipolar disorder, and this diagnosis is still fairly new to me. I have written before about the difficulty of medicating this disorder, but I have never written about the depression itself.

At the time I wrote that article I was considering the possibility of life without medicine. Since then, I have even more reason not to continue taking them. They thin my once lustrous and thick hair, and I can’t take a non-inflammatory pain pill, which is what I need for my brand of arthritis. For now, I’ll continue taking my medicines.

I have a great psychiatrist. She listens to me and seems to genuinely care. Dr. No-No (her first name is Nannette and I like the alliteration) tells me to get counseling. I know the value of counseling, but I don’t see how it’s going to keep me out of bed for most of my day. I’ve already had six years of psychotherapy and counseling. During that time I turned from a mean-spirited rager into a caring human being. So yes, I know the value.

I wouldn’t have stopped going, but my insurance changed. Psychotherapy is pretty expensive. It was $85-an-hour at the time. I might even start some more counseling, but at this point I am not motivated to leave my couch. Are there therapists who would sit in the chair across from my couch? They could hold my dog as we worked. She’s really cute!

I know the basics. Don’t allow self-pity and don’t whine to the world. I do not mean to whine. I just want relief. I don’t want to feel like the mighty manatee, with the boat of life occasionally cutting into my back. They’re beautiful animals; I just don’t want to be one of them. Family photos would be more difficult, I’m thinking. Ginae – Land Manatee!

With the combination of medications I am on, I am not that sad, just incredibly apathetic, more than I have ever been in my entire life. What I don’t know is whether or not the apathy is a byproduct of a nervous breakdown (the result of having been given the drug Geodon, then ignored by doctors as I descended), or if it is due to the mixture of my current medications. Hence, there is the possibility that I will not bother with mood stabilizers and anti-depressants in the future.

Why should I? Granted, I am not miserable in a sense. I am not suicidal, homicidal, or crying. I haven’t cried in months, and for the most part I haven’t felt the urge to. I just have to negotiate my every next move with the physical and the mental – and sometimes those two do not get along.

In my head, I want to get back into public speaking, join some type of social group, and take a class. I had the luxury of making those plans, knowing that I wouldn’t back them up even as I made them. So, when – if ever?

I went to see Dr. No-No yesterday, but she was ill and I had to see Dr. IdKillAllClientsIfICould. Ugh! She was rude, interrupted me at every possible juncture, and just generally had a palpable animosity for me. I explained I wanted to stop taking my medicines. She leaned back and said, “Sure. No problem. I’ll respect that.”

I could barely hold in my frustration. “What? No! I don’t have a doctorate – you do! Fight with me! Tell me why taking all this stuff is a good idea.” We eventually came to see that I have other health issues, undiagnosed at the moment, which could explain my apathy. She explained that if I could get more knowledge about my health, then I could make a better decision. She had nothing to say about my hair, my 90-year-old shaking hands, or my sleeplessness. Shockingly enough, she did say, “Good bye.”

I am scheduled to see Dr. No-No in a month.

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About Ginae B. McDonald

  • Thanks Crafty. I am also sorry that you had to see Dr. IKACIIC, or Satan as you might think of him/her. Thank you for your kind words as well. Hugs and blessings,

  • So sorry to hear that Dr.IdKillAllClientsIfICould is still seeing clients, my son saw her and her twin many times. I hope things get much better for you soon ((hugs)).

  • Thank you Kristi. I really appreciate your feedback! What you wrote rings true for me in many aspects.
    Thanks again.

  • It’s not just you. I stopped taking my medicine over a year ago because I couldn’t stand the apathy. I’d rather cry everyday and feel something than not feel anything at all. And it is a tough road if you don’t have an outlet. Mine is writing… whenever I am super emotional, I just write. Sometimes just the stream of consciousness type of thing, that gets down to the root of it all. If writing doesn’t help, I cry. I just full on let it out cry. Afterward, I feel emotionally spent and numb, but it gives me time to calm down and really work out a solution to the issue.

    No matter what though, I always try to be aware of my emotions. Whenever I feel “normal” by my definition, I memorize the feeling, that way if I am feeling gloomy or angry with no direct cause, I know that it is not me, but the underlying “demon” as I know it that is causing the issue. And I say to myself that it will pass, because ultimately, it will.

    I guess the biggest thing is not to deny your feelings. Acknowledge and accept your feelings. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re whining. You’re feeling. Some people just feel more than others. A lot more in some cases.

    The bonus side to it all? Since I’m a writer, I call it my “artistic temperament.” I also think the balance to the extreme sadness or rage we sometimes feel is that we can also feel extreme happiness. Sometimes uncontrollable, which can be a bad thing. Especially the flip side mania of it. But again, if you know you’re going through it, and can find a way to take charge and re-direct it all towards something positive, you can find a balance to living with it.

    ~ Kristi