Saturday, 2 April 2011

So it's a beginning of sorts ...

Well, after several people suggesting I write a blog for whatever reason, I finally gave in & decided to give it a go. The final suggestion - the one that pushed me over the edge, if you like - came from my counsellor, and here's why.

On March 23rd, after nearly a year of visiting my GP, two counsellors & a psychiatrist, & being sent to stress management classes & repeatedly offered anti-depressants, I was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. It was a weird moment; over the last 8 years or so I've gone from being understandably upset after a big life crisis to being 'kind of moody' to being very aware that I suffer from bouts of depression to having inklings that it might be more than 'just' depression (the 'just' in no way suggesting that depression is in any way a minor or trivial thing, because it's NOT) to the moment when my counsellor suggested - about two months before the diagnosis - that I might be bipolar. The months following that were a struggle to get to see an honest-to-goodness psychiatrist (I heard the phrase "I can't diagnose you, but ..." from FOUR different people) while I went from thinking that it couldn't possibly be bipolar disorder to thinking that it probably was bipolar disorder & right back again ... over & over.

Now I'm told that it is, & according to the psychiatrist who diagnosed me, it's a 'pretty textbook case'. So, that's that, right? Now they put me on drugs that I'll have to take for the rest of my life & I'll turn into an emotionless zombie, right?

Wrong. Oh so WRONG.

First of all, I'm sure the drugs that are used to treat bipolar disorder don't really turn people into emotionless zombies (at least, not any more). I've done a bit of research so far, & I've heard lots of good things about going on the drugs. But personally, I have always had an aversion to drugs. I don't even like being on the contraceptive pill, & if I get so much as a headache I'll suffer for as long as I can before I pick up the painkillers (possibly a bad attitude for someone who suffers from migraines, I know). But that's just me. I prefer the natural approach; alternative therapies, holistic healing, & all that jazz. So when the psychiatrist asked me how I felt about taking drugs, I told him I wasn't thrilled with the idea. His response surprised me somewhat; rather than the expected monologue about how I needed the drugs, how the condition wouldn't go away on its own & would get worse, etc, he instead told me that he thought I'd developed good 'coping mechanisms' & could go without the drugs ... for now. One day, I'm going to get worse, & I'll almost certainly have to go to my GP & ask for a prescription for some of those shiny mood stabilisers sooner or later (I'm hoping later).

My counsellor, on hearing about my diagnosis, echoed the psychiatrist's opinion on my 'good coping mechanisms' (I love that term), & then asked me what I planned to do next. I told her I planned to research the condition, look into alternative ways of coping with bipolar disorder, & see how things went. She applauded this, then suggested I blog it, so that perhaps someone else out there, who hasn't got these awesome 'coping mechanisms' that I apparently have, might be able to take some use from it - or at least a little comfort that they're not alone. Having always been a bit of an outsider, a bit of a weirdo, & all those other charming terms, I rather like the idea of knowing - & letting others know - that I, & people like me, aren't really as weird or alone as we might sometimes feel.

And lo, a new blog is born.


  1. Sounds a good idea, do you think it's helped typing this down for anyone who's interested to see. I'm trying to ask which you think feels better or easier to do, doing this virtually or do you think its easier to talk to some one face to face.

    Glad you're sharing,


  2. Well writing it down is therapeutic in itself. I think the face to face approach is important as well - I've found seeing a counsellor very helpful in just having someone to discuss things with - but writing is different, you can pour out everything in writing even when you can't say it out loud. It is a little weird writing this stuff & knowing others will read it, but if someone can get even a little bit of good from it, then it's done what it's supposed to.