I’m a poor sleeper. It was 5am “last night” when I last looked at the clock. (I didn’t used to be, to be honest I used to drift into a coma I’m sure rather than sleep). So today of course I’m a right old grump with a foggy mind and yawning nineteen to the dozen.
There is a reason - I have bipolar, which by all accords is quite the “it” thing to have at the moment. No Oscar actor or Grammy award singer would be complete without bipolar on their list of accolades.
Naaaa, that’s unfair, I know. It can’t be trivialized. It’s a monster of a thing which cripples everyday life. Nobody ‘wants’ bipolar.
But there it is, I have it, I’m stuck with it, I learn to cope with it, I take lifelong meds for it, I’m learning to live with it being there all the time.
When I say I’m learning to live with it all the time, I really am learning. It’s very early days in my diagnosis, which is quite unusual. It’s more likely to be diagnosed during teenage years. It’s been official since June last year, though many a doctor before now have ‘toyed’ with the idea, there was never confirmation. I’m OK with the confirmation as there is now a box for how I feel. A firm category. I no longer feel as though I’m going out of my mind and there is nothing I can do. Now I just feel I’m going out of my mind and there are things that can be done.
Meds by the sack load? No worries. Dr’s visits and constant medication adjustments? Fine. Endless hours of psychotherapy? OK. Giving the problem a name is good, it’s trying to solve the problem that is the problem…. If you get my drift.
The diagnosis is just the start of a very long journey and learning experience, not only for the patient but for the whole family.
Months back when the whole thing was at its worst, my Dr, lightheartedly put it that they would have to create a new me. I came home did a very bad impersonation of the Six
Million Dollar Man, (complete with the “Dana danaaa, dananna dananna danaa”, theme tune) ….
(Now I can see you scratching your head and thinking I’m totally bonkers, not bipolar).
Anyway…. I’ll continue…. I came home and told the family to worry no more “they have the technology to rebuild me”. It was funny; it was a way of lightening what had been some seriously dark months.
But it’s true. I thought it was a laugh! (In fact at the time I’m sure I didn’t laugh, I had no idea what was going on never mind anything else, especially laughing). But there really has to be a new me because apparently “the old Beth didn’t work”. The old habits and cognitive thinking of the old Beth caused me to mentally breakdown, so there is no use ‘rebuilding’ me back to my old ways, when my whole frame of mind has to change.
I had been wearing a mask on the outside for a long time to appear normal. Certainly for the first part of last year until the crash in June. Friends said that they would never have known – guess I’m such a terrific actress, lol. But seriously thinking about it I’m almost sure that I’ve been wearing a mask for much, much longer. Which then makes trying to find the ‘real Beth’ is so much harder.
This is a long story. The experience, diagnosis and recovery.
I’ll probably type in parts, when I find the words to be able to explain.
Currently I feel I’m in no man’s land.
Not quite the scaredy cat with no memory following ECT treatments, and yet not the sociable outgoing person that I was before. Its baby steps. I know that as things stand I wouldn’t be able to hold down a job. My memory can be foggy which is frustrating; my confidence wouldn’t allow it even if I’d want to. I’m hugely unreliable as I’m not sure how things will be that day. Helping with Grade 5 homework can sometimes be a struggle (or maybe I’d find it a struggle anyway – ha!)
I’ve become reclusive to a small point, somebody who just dips in and out of things. Blogging, facebook and twitter are fabulous ‘masks’ to be able to be out there amongst friends, without physically being there. I’m guessing if some didn't know what was happening, they really wouldn’t know.
There is some good news however - having stood aside from the charity for a few months, I’ve now taken my job as President back. It’s massive. Huge step. We’ll see……
Thanks for reading what was a difficult post for me
Until the next time
Zero – there, that was easy!