talked about "the good old days". Trust me when I say they weren't that
good, the good days are in the present and the even better days yet lie
in the future. Our songs are yet unsung.
I am (at present)
a 47 year old man who was first diagnosed as bipolar 7 years ago when I
experienced the first (and only, so far) manic episode of my life.
I suffer from
chronic joint aches and felt I might have arthritus. I asked my wife (who
is in the medical field) to get me an appointment with a rheumetologist.
She explained that you can't just get an appointment with a rhuemetologist,
you must first go to an internist and get a referral. So, I went to an
internist who did a series of blood tests, x-rays and even a clinical sleep
study (generating 2400 pages of graphs). He stated I do not have arthritis.
The results of the sleep study concluded that there was enough irregularity
in my rem sleep which was a common tendency with patients with clinical
depression. The doctors conclusion : due to the lack of much needed rem
sleep, it caused tenderness around the joints. He prescribed Trazadone
(an anti-depressant) to help me sleep. I took 1 tablet and it did not help
me sleep. By the time I made it into the hospital a week later, I had been
completely sleep deprived for a week; and, it took 2 deputies the size
of linebackers and handcuffs to get me into the hospital.
Sure, there are many people who would have sued the internist for malpractice;
but, I really don't believe in suing people unless absolutely necessary
and, what he did is common practice (prescribing anti-depressants to help
patients sleep). Besides, this was not foremost on my mind at the time,
dealing with the upheaval in my life was.
Up until this
manic episode I had become a heavy drinker (a gallon of whiskey a week)
and life didn't seem to have purpose.
Over the past
6 years of psycotherapy I have come to learn :
1. My father
had been bipolar
2. so is my
sister and brother
3. My mother(in
a home) has been diagnosed as schitzophrenic.
4. I had spent
most of my life chronically depressed without being aware of it.
having the aid of being on mood stabilizing drugs such as Depakote, I have
no tolerance for anti-depressants and it drop-kicked me through the roof.
was actually a relief. It was almost like discovering a brother I never
knew I had. It made things clear; I had lived with frequent thoughts of
suicide all my life and had always felt this was perfectly normal. But,
when the doctors told me "no, this is NOT normal, you have a disorder",
I'm alright with that. Today when my thoughts turn to suicide my intellect
takes over and dictates my actions : I have a disorder, this is abnormal
thinking and what I must do is to work this out in a manner which is more
I am a slow
cycling high performing bipolar patient in touch with reality and my feet
firmly planted. I haven't touched a drop of alcohol since before my hospitalization
7 years ago and I restrict my caffeine as directed by my doctor. Sure,
I have missed the elation of the mania (but never to the point that I was
willing to again go out of my mind) and over the past 7 years I have found
that this elation has become less and less important to me and has been
an ever-fading memory.
My wife drove
me to the hospital the day of my commitment and she has since told me that
if I should ever have a similar episode, she would call the police to take
me as she just can't deal with it. I have tried to imagine things from
her point of view and can only imagine that if she had been the one how
I might have dealt with it at the time (and since then) and it seems to
me that it must have been extremely difficult for her. I thank God for
having her by my side through this ordeal.
indicate that bipolars are creative and that this creativity manifests
itself in many ways (art, music, literature, etc...). I have demonstrated
talent in art and photography; but, very little motivation to pursue. The
most common manifistation for my creativity has been in home repair, development
of computer applications out of need and desire and general applications
(such as a portable waterbed for camping).
I find myself
obsessing over frustrations and this is the most difficult part of my condition
to deal with. What I do when the frustration seems to get to be a little
too much to bear is
to take a
xanax. Yes, better living through Chemistry. But seriously, I am
glad we have drugs to take to control ourselves. The doctors have told
me that even if you take your medications there is always the likelyhood
of a reoccurence; But, I'm doing all I can do to keep that from happening.
The good days are at present and the even better days are yet to come.
Our stories are as yet unsung.
the best the new year has to bring.
Sat, 1 Jan 2000 23:42:11 -0600