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    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
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Bipolar Disorder and me.

I put my warts on and wear them proudly in the world, so when people meet me they know they can approach me if they suffer from some of the things that I have.  This past week I’ve been in touch with a couple of people who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder (BP) because they know I’m being treated for BP.  Another came to me for a referral for a Dr. because they fear they may be suffering from BD.

Bipolar disorder is the new politically correct term for Manic Depression (MD), which is much more descriptive of the illness I have.  Whether you call it bipolar, manic depression or just plain crazy is up to you the sufferer.  If you don’t suffer from this illness then stick with the current gentler term.  Personally when I’m with friends I tell them when I’m getting crazy, they know what that means.  When I’m with strangers I use manic depression because they are my symptoms.  Simple is better for me.  Like many MD’s I also suffer from substance abuse.  Boy you talk about double dipping!

The issue here is that some folks I talk to think that you should just pull yourself together and get on with your life.  This is dangerous advice  to give someone who suffers from MD.  If I’m in the throes of a manic episode I’ll get on with what I think is my life and forget to get off.  When I’m spiraling into the stratosphere of mania I lose the ability to make good decisions.  Fear runs from the room like a mouse in a cat house.  If left to my own devices I willingly endanger myself and anyone around me.  On the other side of that coin when I’m in a depressive funk, hope seeps out of me like air from a leaky tire.  When all the hope escapes and I’m in the pit of despair, I just want the pain to go away.  Once again my ability to know what I need gets shrouded in agony and taking my own life seems like a reasonable solution.

I do not find myself at either of these extremes anymore, my God, the docs and meds keep me on track.  My life today is great and gets better everyday.  The importance of the support I get from friends and family cannot be understated.  It is critical to my well-being that the people closest to me know about my illness so they can ask the hard questions like, are getting enough sleep, have you taken your meds and the dreaded are you okay.  Which prompts the follow-up question, no, not fine; ARE YOU REALLY OKAY?  An understanding of the illness I suffer from is also helpful.

These things were not delivered into my stocking by a happy fat guy in a red suit.  Each one took work.  Work pays off.  As it does in most things.  The feeling well-beingI currently enjoy took effort and concessions.  Again it is worth it.  That can’t be said too often.  If you know someone who suffers from a mental illness or you suspect that you suffer from one.

Seek help.  Confide in someone you trust.                                                                                            Don’t be too embarrassed to ask for help.                                                                                              Don’t settle on the first quick fix a Dr. may offer you if you don’t get results.                                 Don’t isolate in the hope that it will all go away.  It won’t.

Above all I want you to know YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  There is hope.  There are many good websites out there if you want more info, but stick to sites with names you know.   There are twice as many charlatans.  Be careful.

Last item I alluded to this earlier.  Pray to a God of your understanding.  If you don’t have One,  borrow mine.  He is all-powerful and has helped me in ways I find difficult to put into words.  If you don’t have a belief I will tell you what I tell alcoholics when I share my story.  “Try it my way.  What have you got to lose?  You can always go back to drinking and using.”

I’m jumping down off my soapbox now.  Next week I’ll turn the reins back over to Eerie.  He promises to have something fun posted.  As is our custom we’ll leave you with this quote from Richard Bach.

“There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they’re necessary to reach the places we’ve chosen to go.”

Write On,

Dave   

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