Being Bipolar isn't EASY

and the Art of Slowing it Down


It’s 1:16 in the morning on 01.06.2011 and I am singing:

My husband thinks that I crave to be noticed (during my episodes) because I am a middle child. He says that psychologists would say that “it always goes back to ones childhood”. (Oh – how very lucky I am to have married him!)

He is most tolerant but to my point logical + rational and although I have said a number of times, in the last 3 ½ years that we have known each other, “YOU don’t understand my disorder!” – I think he does… I think he understands it as I once did before I accepted that it’s in my best interest to take get medicated. (I’ve gotten kind of lazy since I started taking the drugs and regretfully my spiritual practices, those that I used to use “keep myself in line” have suffered most: yoga, meditation, etc..)

That said, I imagine that I’ll get back to my spiritual practices one day (they are good for me) and I am proud to say that I have been coping in LV on a very modest doses of this or that for the last 4 ½ years. I have tried a myriad of things – on occasion a medicinal cocktail or two but we (my family, my psychiatrist and I) have learned that I don’t really need the anti depressants – I need an anti psychotic!

By the grace of God, I don’t suffer from depression the way some people do. It’s not that I haven’t been depressed, I have and I can tell you: it royally SUCKS! (My heart goes out to those that are victims of depression. I wish it were easier.) I suffer from the MANIA and, as I am going to tell you here in this blog, it has been somewhat devastating (relatively speaking) setting me back weeks at a time.

I don’t suffer from violent mood swings, anger or frivolously spending. Thank my lucky stars. Rather I map, track, multi task, make radical associations on occasion, have racing thoughts, eat fast, drive a little faster, dress and accessorize appropriately (like some TV anchors and politicians), organize more than usual, log, record/ save, write love letters, pay closer attention to nature, listen to other people’s music, obsess over logo’s + tag lines, have grandiose righteous thoughts and dream BIG.

Since I met my husband I also laugh, sometimes uncontrollably. I am no longer paranoid that some private investigator or Government Agency is watching me; rather I am extremely happy and EXUBERANT about waking up tomorrow. (Normally, those that care about me most will remind me that, I am ever so: OCD, IMPATIENT and on a good day PASSIONATE. It’s sometimes hard to tell if I am stable or borderline episodic.

But I digress, back to my remarkable husband. In the natural progression of things, as they sometimes go, (Did you notice the day? The time?? You should… as my late Grandfather Bud would say, but didn’t fully recognize like I do – or so I think, these are magic moments: if you add it up you get a very special, sometimes perfect, number. The time = 8; the date = 11; 8 + 11 = 19; 1 + 9 = 10 or 1. I don’t rely much on numerology these days, as I have my very own semi universal secret code and think should you not have one of your own – you should adopt one. But take my advice – don’t fudge the numbers.)

…My husband and I were talking last night and short of discussing the URL and title for my blog we were discussing a… how should I refer to him? …a male figure from my past. I disclosed some things to him that are inappropriate to share now – you’ll learn about that “male figure” later if you read on but he, my husband, took it in great stride. He not only understands my disORDER, having unlike my immediate family read little about it, but he intuitively understands that we have had other relationships/ life experiences which led us together. <insert happiness>

… we were talking last night, before putting our 3 month old son to bed, about what I should call MY Blog and, having respected my privacy and not read my journals to date, to help me along he was asking me what was it going to be about. But more importantly he asked me if I was “Bipolar”, even my current doctor questioned the diagnosis as well*, the malady is not prevalent in my family.

But after my 3rd (diagnosed Bipolar) episode, in July 2006, I was certain that I had something. Under my family’s recommendation, and much to my older sisters rationalizing tone, I moved from the Nation’s Capitol (where, predominantly as a pedestrian, I was doing many things I like: designing, building, practicing yoga regularly, meditating, learning: “the Art of a Spiritual Warrior” and naturally about law + politics) and relocated to LV, however very DULL that was going to be, under my parents’ supervision. It was only then, after 3 years of paranoia and 3 ½ hospitalizations, that I was in agreement that I was somewhat “Bipolar”. Only then did I concede that I needed a caretaker during my frantic moments and, as if struck by lightning I, was willing to start taking drugs/ medication. (Call them what you will. I think both terms have their moment.)

If you are honest with yourself, you may very well cope without a label. So a word to those that are listening: Being BIPOLAR isn’t so bad. Suffice it to say, I believe many people, might just have a shade of something mentally disabling at times. Serotonin and other chemicals in our brains fluctuate. (I read in the latest issue of RealSimple that it drops in the afternoon – but a snack will help keep it in check.)

Hence my problem, I am still searching for another Label. One day, my doctors and I may find the appropriate term for it. A very, albeit kind but better, astute psychologist in DC called me: “acutely sensitive and idiosyncratic”, or something very similar. I’ll have to find that diary… that said I am not holding out. I am okay with being Bipolar; for now!

I am and I am not particularly “Special”. I refused the label when I was diagnosed in my early 30’s. The Georgetown hospital released me as having a “Manic Episode with Psychotic features” in September of 2004 but the jackass (researcher I might add), from a reputable Washington, DC University Hospital, told me that I was “Bipolar”. He’s not a jackass (anymore) because he labeled me but he’s a jackass because HE FELL ASLEEP while I told him my story! He didn’t even read the three page overview on my health that my parents prepared. Instead of reading it he said… “Do you always put so much effort into presenting yourself like this?”

??? I wish I was making it up. (I promise you I couldn’t dream that one up.)

Like many of you that have ever sought “Help” – I just wanted him to hear my story along with present that I had been mentally stable until that fateful day, at age 31, that I ran down CT Ave., in the heart of DuPont Circle, terrified that the ‘ambulance men’ were after me. (My little sister was trailing behind on her cell pleading with our parents: “What should I do?”.) Shortly after being taken down and handcuffed by the Chief of Police in front of Starbucks, I entered the hospital screaming “Protect ME” – “Protect my Family”!

And only now almost seven (again a special number) years later, am I ready to say, “My story begins…”!

I just pray, and I don’t pray ‘traditionally’ much at all these days… but I am praying now, that: my tales in this blog don’t put anyone else besides me to sleep! (God only knows that half my battle is getting proper sleep, it’s been a few rocky nights but I am coping well. The 10mg valium has been helping me rest well.) I can’t help but wonder about all the other passionate people in the world that have days/ nights like these when they just have to get something done, or for those that write are otherwise desperate to get something off their chest.

*That was at least until today… today, 01.07.2011, my psychiatrist confessed after two years (including one modest episode + medicating me thru our pregnancy) that I was indeed Bipolar! I am crushed. I wanted to call my URL to be We, my husband and I, have wishful thinking.

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