It means my craziness has a label now and is confirmed; no more wondering if I am or am not, nuts.

It means for the rest of my life I will be on the insanity see-saw of mania versus depression.

It means that I need to straighten this doctor out immediately; his question to me rings with a patronizing tone that tells me he is confusing mental illness with retardation, and he should know better.

It means I will be looking for a new shrink, one not so renowned likely, but a lot less condescending, forthwith.

It means I am ripe to become a Bipolar Clinic guinea-pig for trial testing of new drugs, especially since I’ve already been on almost every antidepressant available.

It means I get to tell my children that I have a mental illness with genetic components that bears no markers. In other words, my kids will have a proclivity to develop bipolar disorder but cannot be tested to show whether there are indicators they’re going to get it, or pass it on to their children.

It means I need to choose how to live with this news that has left me feeling even more indecisive than usual, that’s what it means.


11 thoughts on “WHAT IT MEANS

  1. Thanks to all who have commented with such kindness and insight here. This is indeed, autobiographical but it is also quite “old news” so the pain has been blunted by years of acceptance, compliance and learning to deal — interspersed with the odd spate of death-defying episodes of “something unexpected” when the shrink involved at that point would say, “we don’t know why that happens”. Fortunately such episodes grow further apart and less severe the older I get (or perhaps I’ve just learned to control my moods and inclinations better…)I do know at one point, after a rather bad time, when I almost lost everything…family and life … and did lose a beloved doctor when he took his life … I finally made a conscious pact with myself and my family to stay sane and not ever consider suicide as an out, I was by no means cured but I finally realized there was never going to be a magic pill (medications I need, yes — a cure-all, no) and therapy could only do so much. And knowing what “could” happen to them is a plus for my kids as the earlier they’re treated (if need be) the better. That’s one thing, it seems, we all agree on. Part of the reason I became as ill as I did as I went undiagnosed for so long and then misdiagnosed. Hopefully they wouldn’t have to contend with that…Phew, what a long reply to comments…thanks again all.

  2. For me this is a courageous, strong post made even more so with the repetition of “It means…” I think being able to put a name to what we have to deal with gives us the strength to take action. The management of bipolar disorder has come such a long way since I was a young nurse (eons ago) but there is always need for better intervention. If this is autobiographical, or even if it isn’t, I hope clinical trials will continue to make breakthroughs. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Not assuming that this is autobiographical; if it is, then this is something huge to deal with; if not, you’ve done a great job of presenting the scale and shock of receiving such news and its implications.

  4. A searching question! How often one reflects on one’s own self. In this instance one tends to be biased towards one’s own self. The analysis tends to be tainted. Nicely SE!


  5. Well, I’m not sure that people’s work is autobiographical, but any diagnosis involving one’s mental state is pretty shaking. On the other hand, there may be a relief in knowing that one’s own mind is not always the strongest arbiter of reality – for me this type of understanding is useful – knowing that I have strong tendencies to take things in certain directions at moments that may not be correct. The poem is very well done. k.

  6. mmm…yeah, hugs. that will def rock your world a bit…and rather frustrating on the doc…and not an easy conversation either with the kids…and what a big choice there in the end as well…

  7. I think of a lot of great artists, poets, actors and actresses who have shared this diagnosis.; in this day and age it seems to be quite treatable and manageable. But undoubtedly hard to deal with the diagnsos, especially as it could be passed on. Peace.

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