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Sure its treatable! ( vent)


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I am so sick to death of finding that everywhere I look, people are so quick to say/write that all of this MI stuff ( BP in particular) can be treated and people can go back to work, have families and lead a relatively normal life.

What I want to know is WHERE ARE THESE PEOPLE?? (sorry for yelling- this is making me so mad) Its like that AD add with the bouncing eggs- a little bit of AD and they were all happy in their bouncing.

All I know is that I have been flip flopping in my moods and meds for for about 20 years (and should have been for the previous 20 but noone noticed) If all this depresion, anxiety, BP is so treatable whay aren't I "treated" by now?

To keep myself relatively sane and hopefully out of the hospital, I can't work, I can't have kids, I can't socialize normally. So where is my (relative) cure? When do I get to feel (relatively) normal? When do I get to have a (relatively) normal life?

This has always aggravated me- like I'm the big ol hopeless case. This rant got triggered when I started again to do some research about BPII and there's really only one site with info, which doesn't help if you are trying to thouroughly research something. And as I bounced from one site to another all this optimism kept popping up.

You know what? Sometime its not treatable and sometimes you can't become a "productive member of society".

Thanks for reading my rant. Can anyone relate or anything?

Mrs L

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I can relate, but it probably isn't going to be what you want to hear.

I'm right here. Functional, working at a professional job, married for 17 years, a mother for 20 years, a sister, a daughter....and as batshit crazy as anyone.

I'm completely anal about my medication, I structure my life as I need it to be (although I raised an MI child as well, which was quite a challenge), and I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded by people who support me.

But it's a structure I built myself.

It's a pitched battle that I fight every day. I have to sacrifice a great deal to have what I have, but I decided that no matter what I would be as "normal" as I could. I work through mood swings, force myself to not give in unless it is so intense I have no choice.

I have an absolutely indomitable stubborn streak that will not allow me to give in. I even fight things I should let go.

I guess it's always one extreme or the other. *sigh*

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I know I have to do what I can, when I can. I cycle in and out of the madness so when I am feeling stable I get as much done as possible to minimize disruption for when I am not as productive. I am a mom of 3, and always wanted to be a stay at home mom, and I manage fairly well. I have a supportive dh who is disabled but does do all he can to help me. Levels of functioning vary widely with BP. The right meds could make all the difference, or you might have great difficulty functioning even on a good med combo. It might be 10 years before you find the right mix, they are testing new meds right now that might eliminate some of your worst symptoms.

Most people who are high functioning won't be visiting this board often. When I am well I try to post, but sometimes I can't because it will trigger me.

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I hate the Bipolar info websites with stories about so-and-so who is educated, successful, etc. and then was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. But with the right meds, some understanding from her employer, and support from her loving family, she just bought a house and her wonderful job gives her great insurance, and everything is great now!

This story is ideal, but not particularly realistic. The truth is that a lot of people don't have supportive families or employers, and don't have access to good treatment. We know from this site that a lot of people just can't work, even on meds. And we know that while meds help somewhat, sometimes the side effects are more debilitating than the illness was.

I think these stories are bogus (I'd say that is a stock photo, not a real patient) and set patients up to feel failure. I will never be able to buy a house, unless lightening strikes me and I am magically bestowed with incredible social and networking skills that will enable me to sell my art and become wealthy. The truth is, without hefty support from families, employers, etc. most of us are pretty much handicapped.

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You know what?

Comparisons and standards never helped me. Neither did words like 'normal' and 'productive'. Why on earth should my life's worth and value be defined by whether I have a wage, a husband or a child? What about my passions? What about my ability to make someone smile, give someone directions, hug my brother, plant a flower, my body's amazing ability to function the way it does, my unique, one of a kind personality? Isn't all that beautiful and worthwhile?

Mrs Looney, I don't think that you need to read anything that makes you feel negative about your life and what I know that you achieve. Your life probably is bleak, probably often. I don't want to invalidate you or try to come off as saying 'look on the bright side.' If your life has a lot of crappiness, then it does. But, I am convinced that it does have beauty and meaning somewhere, however small it seems and however society tries to minimize it.

We have unemployed, chronically ill people with all sorts of problems here. You know what? They are artists. They are friends. They are passionate about the oddest, geekiest stuff. They have a sense of humour. They love a myriad of things. They make all kinds of differences to this planet. You too have a contribution to make, there is only one Mrs Looney. So what if she has BP and cannot work and isn't married and has no kids? Does that make me value her any less for a minute? Hell no. You have as much potential and intrinsic value as me, or the Queen of England, or an astronaut or a new born baby in perfect health.

Reject these narrow minded standards that says that you are the sum of your success in our consumer society where all that counts is culturally recognized product. Find your joy, your specialness. It's not about getting better. It's about becoming more you. You have an illness, but you are NOT that illness.

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I think these stories are bogus (I'd say that is a stock photo, not a real patient) and set patients up to feel failure. I will never be able to buy a house, unless lightening strikes me and I am magically bestowed with incredible social and networking skills that will enable me to sell my art and become wealthy. The truth is, without hefty support from families, employers, etc. most of us are pretty much handicapped.

They aren't bogus, but they aren't common. It takes a large infrastructure, a fair amount of support, a little luck and a streak of bloody-mindedness a mile wide, but success is possible.

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I'm really wary of that mind over matter, you can do anything you want type thing. Illness place limitations. Everyone is different, everyone reacts to illness and stress differently.

I'm being discharged as an outpatient from group therapy, and from psychotherapy soon, and am stable on meds, and am going back to work, but would never imply that anyone else ought to be able to do what I have done just because I have. I'll cheer lead you, encourage you, support you, but I won't ever imply that I am sorted out (I'm not) and that someone with my diagnosis ought to be at a level that I am at. It's not just a question of hard work, and sometimes all the hard work in the world can't change the facts of the situation. It's important to have dreams, but also to be realistic.

I still maintain that everyone here has meaning and purpose and value to their lives, no matter how ill they are.

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I'm doing better than I was, but I get the frustration. When you are doing all the stuff that you are supposed to be doing and it's just not working and you are juggling medication and your brain doesn't listen to you. You try to be “normal” and it just doesn't happen. Or sometimes things might seem almost ok and then your brain decides it has to remind you what is REALLY going on here.

With support and medication and therapy and diet and whatnot things are supposed to all be super and they are NOT.

I don't know who writes this crap but I think it's ridiculous. It should say stuff about how it's a really hard struggle and a whole lot of fucking work and you get frustrated as hell sometimes and how long it actually could take to find any sort of stability. Because no one prepares you for it.

Instead, there are some cheery words about being a productive member of society and a happy picture. Like it's just so easy. That happy picture and the ideal swift road to recovery only applies to a very few people. The promises that it's treatable, it's treatable, it's treatable, without any sense of what that treatment may entail or how long it can take to find the right treatment, really set people up to feel fucked over.

It's a bunch of shit is what it is.

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Oh, I don't at all say it's a quick and easy road - I absolutely agree that's bullshit. Where I am now is the result of 15 years of struggle. It has not been easy at all.

It still isn't easy. But it is doable for some people.

It doesn't make anyone any more or less a worthwhile person, though. It certainly shouldn't be used to put someone down because they haven't managed to "attain" what another person has attained.

And if you have attained, and you are functional and productive despite your bipolar disorder, you have an obligation to give back.

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While we are venting--I despise reading about BP, and ALWAYS hearing that it causes huge manias for months, then some depression. In reality, as we know, many of us dont' get those HUGE manias (tho we pray for them daily)--we get mixed episodes, or hypomania or enough irritability to crack a mirror, then plunge into horrible depression. And hey--lots of us cycle, like, 2 or 3 times a DAY, not 2 or 3 times a YEAR.

All BP is not alike, and we don't all have the same symptoms, just like we are not all helped by the same meds and/or treatments.

I'm sure folk with other kinds of MI's feel the same way--but its so easy for the "sane world" to just lump us all together, or make it seem like we are either homicidal maniacs or can be treated with a healthier diet.

Would that it were that easy---

china, her own kind of batshit

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I completely understand, mrsloony. From the MDD side of things, it's the whole "everyone gets depressed, so why do you deserve special treatment" type thing. People don't understand that depression, REAL depression, can be disabling. At my age, 27, it's very unusual not to work. But I don't work for now because that's what my therapist thinks is best for me and I agree for the most part. There are a lot of housewives who don't work where I live, so at least it's not THAT weird. I just don't feel comfortable with not working, even though I do NOT think that a person's value lies in what they produce for the economy. I don't have any kids so there is a LOT of time to fill. But I am branching out and trying things that I never would have before so that's personal progress. Besides, even when I am doing well mentally I don't function "normally." Some people just aren't meant to have normal lives.

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Yeah, I'm one of those people. I'm all better now. I was really never sick in the first place. I embrace the lie in order to function as best I can for the benefit of my wife. I am a productive member of society. I have a healthy happy marriage. I have a house and a mortgage. I have a great job I'm good at. I fool most of the people most of the time and succeed at playing the game. People think I'm one of them but I'm sure some of them know I'm "off". I take my meds, I exercise every day. I am also batshit fuckin nuts. I'm sure everyone hates me, even my friends. I resent the fact that I have loved ones that prohibit me from killing myself. I see flashes of light. I'm always messing with my meds because I never feel right even though I know the meds help me. The drugs make me feel like not-me and I don't know what "me" is anyway; that's gone, or never was. Weren't we all robbed of who we were supposed to be and replaced by and defined by illness? What I'm getting at is that I agree that we can never be well like the normal people. There ain't no cure. The best we can hope for is a reduction in symptoms and as you know and as is continually reflected on this board, we are all in a constant state of flux and always seeking a "cure" that does not exist. I think of an analogy between our disease and say, Parkinson's: They have meds that reduce the symptoms of the disease but they've got side effects. There is no cure because the damage is done. Our brains are different; treatment of symptoms is the only option and that's why we chase it and do the best we can and post on crazyboards; that's where the truth is.

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Weren't we all robbed of who we were supposed to be and replaced by and defined by illness? What I'm getting at is that I agree that we can never be well like the normal people.

Who are these normal people that everyone keeps talking about that are supposedly so happy? I've never met one. If someone I meet doesn't have a visible physical disability, then they end up telling me about a non visible one, or a mental health issue, or just that they struggle with something in their lives, or that they feel dissatisfied on a basic level. I'm yet to met someone who totally fits the 'normal' and 'happy' label, and I tend to think that such labels are fictional ones that we use to beat ourselves up and torment ourselves.

I am who I am, I have always been changing throughout my life. My illness has changed me too. But I am still a person, not an illness. There is more to me than a dx and an rx.

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It really helps that there are so many responses. thank you to everyone.

I do agree there is no such thing as normal and that no two people have the same illness though it may carry the same label.

I just thought of another tv commercial-where they say many people on anti- depressants still have symptoms and still believe the"myth" that they have to continue to live with these symptoms. I hate that this teases you into believeing there is a way to make all the symptomes go away.And that it kind of implies that the symptoms are the"myth".

I don't know anyone who went on a med and that was it. I don't have enough fingers and toes to count how many meds, med combos, tdoc and pdocs I have tried over all this time. I don't deny that most of the time I am so much better than I used to be- I don't know what changes- is it time, meds, therapy???

I am so grateful for the good things I have- I never thought marriage would be a possibilty, but I found myself a wonderful guy who willingly actually wanted to be my husband-and most of the time he's really good at it! I've been out of the hospital for the longest ever since my first admission.

I do the best I can and sometimes that feels good enough.

I guess overall what the rant was about was being so angry at those who hold out false hope and promises. Maybe its the consumer society with the tv commercials saying they have the magic pill. Maybe its those who just really don't have enough information to understand the reality.

But we all know the truth and that is why it is comforting to come here.

Thanks everbody- Mrs L

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my pdoc wasn't sure about the current statistic, he said this stat was from the 80s. he said that at that time (and we've advanced a lot since then), only 20% of bp people worked outside the home. 20%!!! this doesn't suggest that we're all healthy, happy, productive members of society. it suggests that we all struggle daily to maintain what sanity we have.

even if the number is higher today, it is still staggering that so many of us don't work, and the ones who do are playing the game. bp is one of the leading causes of ssdi disability claims in the US.

when it comes to family life, i think i'm in your boat. i don't know if i'll ever be able to have any children. i'd be a great mom, but i have to take care of myself first, and i'd be too busy taking care of my kid to focus on what i need, and i'd go batshit.

normal IS a setting on a dryer!

"normal" people experience the ups and downs of life too, it isn't just us. it is just that our swings are disabling and much more dramatic.

i like to vent and rant too! here's a moment of self-pity- why me? why us? at least i'm not as bad off as some other people, or i don't have a more serious form of MI. i remind myself that it could always be worse. i try to be optimistic like that, even though i don't always really feel that way. ;)

AND back to the topic at hand- "sure, it's treatable..."

i hate it when stupid assholes claim that all we need to do is change our lifestyles. this has been proven to be a bunch of garbage. we still have the episodes, the kindling, and all of that. what stops our kindling is the meds. meds are vital, but no cure. it isn't like a cold where it will go away. it is just a brain thing. we don't understand enough about it to cure it, so we just have to make the best of it.

yep, all i have to do is get out the veggies, jump rope, and omega-3 and i'll be set!!! wow- i've actually added those to my treatment routine and haven't actually noticed a difference. i'd hate to have to live without my meds. what a sad day it would be.

there are just too many stupid assholes in the world. yes, we can be cured by fish oil- literallly! :)

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I guess they just want people to think the drugs are magic and it's all plain sailing because it's harder to admit that holding yourself together and just surviving isn't that simple. It isn't that simple when you don't have a debilitating illness, how in hell you are supposed to do it with this is a mystery to me. What you personally qualify as "success" is what's important - maybe you don't have the house and car and kids, the ideal post-nuclear family or whatever, but you are still an important person and you shouldn't be made to feel like you aren't just because some people have those things. There are plenty of people who don't work and don't own their own house and are "sane" so anyone who expects these things from you can quite rightly be told to sod off - including yourself. We all do the best we can, and that's what's important.

Sorry if this makes no sense, it's 1am and I'm slightly tipsy.

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I'm not any standard type of BP (even though there is a definite swing in my depression)... but I wanted to add something.

I understand what you mean, and it is so frustrating. I'd expect most people to just not get it, and think that it's just a personality flaw and something you can help.. But, I even have a boss that thinks that this kind of stuff just goes away. It did for him (he only had his problems between 20-30) and he assumes that it's like that with everyone. He tries to be understanding, but is always telling me that I'll just get over it if I work hard enough.

I'm glad that it wasn't too bad for him, but I wish there was some way I could get him to realize that things aren't always solvable.

*sigh*

In some ways it's alot easier to deal with someone who has no idea what it's like & knows it..

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"oh, but you look good today!"

That's when you need to LOOK THE FUCK OUT! I'm hypomanic or on the edge of a good rolling mania.

If I border on good or normal, I'm fucking dangerous.

AND IT FUCKING SUCKS.

I'm on SSDI and it sucks. I wanna work.

i wanna job.

I want life.

I want to be able to do things like I used to be able to do things.

I don't have to be superbitch, or wondercunt or whateverthefuck I once was?!?!?!

I just want to be able to hold down a semi productive so job that can pay most of my bills on most months, be able to go outside without feeling like the entire world is going to collapse on top of me [or that every human being can hear my personal thoughts] just so that I can get my fucking mail, somehow manage to hunt and gather foodstuffs, and all the other bullshit that goes along with modern living.

Sure, it's treatable...as in they can treat my symptoms to short little periods of rest or mini vactions or minor reprieves....but this sure as FUCK isn't a fucking CURE.

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