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illness and life are not equivalent entities

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I seem to have misplaced my real life and real self.  In their place, I have an illness (or more).  While this is understandable in short-term crisis mode, it seems an untenable lifestyle.  After all, I'm functional, mostly. 

The main component of my life right now is work (which is making me more crazy and must change asap).  Everything else is related to either my bipolar and other assorted mental cooties, or my physical disability.  Psychiatrist, psychotherapist.  Doctor, rheumatologist.  Occupational therapist, employment counselor.  Office for Students with Disabilities, trying to help me get into school.  Lithium levels.  Blood tests.  X-rays.  Mood charts.  And of course, the ever-present meds, morning, noon, dinner and night.  This might be the structure of my days right now, but this isn't a life

I realize I am tremendously lucky to have such an array of help at my disposal.  Nonetheless, I want there to be more to me than a laundry list of mental/emotional issues and cranky connective tissues.  Bipolar doesn't have to be my sole identity now, does it?  It's just that so many things have been slipping way over the past few years as undiagnosed cycling had its way, and I'm young, and I'm poor, and I've never been good at playing the friendship game.  I've lost track of who I was, and I don't know who I am once all the pills and appointments are pushed aside. 

I have an illness instead of a life.  I want to change this.  I just don't know how.

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BP doesn't have to be your life.  If you are fairly new to the merry-MI-go-round, then BP and all things associated ARE going to take up a large portion of time and mental energy until you get stabilized and into a routine.  As the meds take hold and you feel better you will see the Pdoc and Tdoc less and less.

Friends?  Everyone has a different idea of what a friend is and how many they like to have. I have never had more than one or two really close friends, a 5-10 good friends, and a  number of aquaintances, and I don't socialize with co-workers. 

Want to obtain friends and take your mind off work, MI and worrying? Get out and meet people.  Heres what I did, join a club, a church, volunteer for a charity.    Me, I joined the ham radio club, and the radio control airplane club and help out at a local museum. Boy was it excrutiating at first, but I have slowly gotten to know people, it is something I look forward to and it is marked on my calendar as a matter of progress.  It has given me something to think about and plan and not concentrate on my problems.

Good luck,    A.M.

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i know exactly how you feel. i was Dx at the beginning of the year and i feel that BP is all that i am.  i hate waiting to stablize. i hate adding medication.  but for now i just have to keep moving forward. far as friends, i wish i had some or rather i wish i could keep a friendship going, but since i am up and down, my friendships are up and down.  it takes a lot of werk but i heard it gets easier with time.  keep your head up and remember that things can only get better.  and everybody is here to listen and help.

keep your head up, michael.lee

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Thanks for raising this topic.

Me too, me too.  Maybe the first year after diagnosis is an especially likely time.  (Six months, seven meds, lithium brain...) But I don't have a serious physical illness, and I have tons of resources, so I still should have been normal again faster.

The best I can figure is that this is like having the slate wiped clean; devastating, but you get the rare opportunity to choose most of the features of your reconstructed life.

Thinking about it too much (for a while) does give you a chance to think through how you choose to live with from now on.  So does all that therapy.  After a few months of being a professional sick person, I feel like I've got a lot more clarity about the big issues, and that I've now found things outside myself to grow into -- goals that are reasonable, for once.

But then, the downside.  I'm sure I gave myself the idea of suicide with all that BP reading; Lord knows I never seriously considered it before, no matter how messed up I was.  I'm ashamed that I spent about as much time reading up on my mother's cancer as I did in, say, the first two days of reading about my own dx. Me, me, me...what a prison.  I've been way too functional for way too long to be as useless as I still am.  But I'm growing back by imperceptible degrees.  If only the world (or I, for that matter) had the patience to wait.

And finally, while I might have tried harder, what's done is done.  And tomorrow I'll get up and take my meds and do five things instead of four.  Or maybe I'll have another late night and another day off Seroquel and another pot of coffee and I'll be able to fly for a while.  I'm just trying to keep picking the slow and painful option.

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