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I tend to avoid anything that makes me feel more stressed out than I already do, which is why it's been taking me so long to get back to my p-doc. I actually like her a lot. It's just that I have to get my charity care re-upped and since I have a lot on my proverbial plate right now, it's a pain in the butt.

But I must be feeling better because I'm on the phone calling today making an appointment and trying to get my meds straightened out.

 

Here's the thing, though. I seem to be doing a lot better. I'm acting stable at work, Im not ranting as much, I'm keeping clean and personable, I'm able to make logical decisions. But all of this scares me more than a little bit. Yes, I'm enjoying not being whacked out, but I'm afraid that demon is around the corner somewhere, lying in wait to possess me again. Part of it is that I'm 50 and I've been ill on and off for a long time, which means my chances of having a relapse are high. 

 

I'm scared. I'm scared of making friends and then hurting them or disappointing them. I'm scared that I will do something terrible at work. I'm scared that I will start raving on the subway (I've never done this, but still). I'm scared that my life will go in the toilet again and this time there are no more items to sell, no more safety nets, no more anything. 

 

I'm scared I'll kill myself or hurt myself.

 

I feel so fragile right now. I don't like admitting how afraid I feel. I don't even like admitting it to myself. I feel traumatized by my own illness, by people's reactions to it, by my own reaction to it. I feel incredibly deep shame that I know I don't need to feel, because I didn't ask to be sick. 

 

Nobody knows how sick I've been because I hid it reasonably well. I don't want pity or fear from people. I just want to live my life and say, 'yeah, I was sick but now I'm better, and I don't know how long 'better' is going to last, but I'm just going to hope it stays like this for a while until I can find a way to fully stabilize or until there's some sort of treatment that's not akin to magic.' And I want, when I say that, for people to be as ok with that as they would be if I was in remission from brain cancer or something. But I'm scared that this isn't what will happen, and so I' don't know if I want friends anymore. 

Edited by Washington Park Commons
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I think many of us are traumatized by our own illness.

bipolar is an exhaustive state of consciousness.

I try to take it easy now,one minute at a time.

breathe.

remember that this period of uncertainty will pass.

the only constant is change.

 

wishing you serenity.

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I think many of us are traumatized by our own illness.

bipolar is an exhaustive state of consciousness.

I try to take it easy now,one minute at a time.

breathe.

remember that this period of uncertainty will pass.

the only constant is change.

 

wishing you serenity.

Thank you. I was thinking it was just me (which is exactly how BP works).

 

This is the most exhausting recovery I've ever had (and the longest bout of illness). It's hard to remember that this will pass. The last time I was ill I was married, and my husband helped me through. Now there's no one here, and my boyfriend lives to far away to help, except over the phone. I'm also properly medicated this time, and fully aware of how sick I've been, which seems to make it worse. Are you sure this exhaustion will go away?

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I could've written your post, WPC. The demon waiting around the corner is a perfect way to describe it. Sometimes I think I'm afraid that I won't know how to live a normal life, or I wouldn't recognize it if I did. It is totally exhausting. I'm sorry you're going through it, but you put it to words much better than I've been able to do. I feel like I should just print out your post and take it to a dr., and say, "this".

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That's my fear exactly. I can mimic normal, but that's not the same as being normal. I'm not sure that normal is what I want to be. I've seen a lot of what normal looks like on other people, and it seems selfish, thoughtless and lacking in compassion. Crazy is pretty bad, but what's the alternative? Can I be a kind of normal where I can still be creative and slightly manic and it's all ok? 

 

I've seen over and over the assumption that we want to be 'normal' because it's supposed to be a goodness unto itself. Rather like the assumption that gay people would rather be straight, deaf people would want to hear at all costs, and so on. But what I want is to not be crazy. I don't know if I want to be 'normal'. I've learned that I like myself. I don't like the horrors I feel, the suicidal ideation, the inability to get out of bed. but I like the awareness of beauty, the feeling of oneness with the universe, the hyperawareness I have. I still have those things right now. But if I become normal, will i have to pretend that those things aren't there anymore? Will I be like the adults in Peter Pan, who have forgotten they can fly because they've convinced themselves that adults don't do silly things like that?  I don't know if there's a happy medium I don't know if I will forget the good feelings along with the bad, but I feel that's exactly what society wants me to do and I don't know if the tradeoff is worth it. 

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I've really come to hate the word "functional". Because I'm "functional"- meaning I have a job and I'm still married, I don't think there's the urgency to treat me. The pdocs feel like they have the time and the room to experiment. Yes, I guess I'm functioning but I'm miserable. Like you said, I've learned to mimic and to hide it, but that doesn't mean I'm happy. It doesn't mean I'm the wife or the parent that I want to be or could be.

I also agree on the "fixing" part. I am wildly creative. I'm smart as f***. ;) I promise you that. I couldn't deal on lamictal because it took that away. I won't go back on lamictal no matter how awesome it was for the symptoms (and it wasn't really that great for me anyway) because it took away a vital component of what is me.

Exactly- I do not enjoy the depression and the suicidal ideation. And people don't like it when I speak openly about them either. We'd all like to fix those parts of me. What I have that a lot of other people don't, though, is a great empathy for other people (and things) who are in pain. I'm good at that. I guess I wouldn't have it if I'd never experienced this kind of pain myself. I want to keep the empathy, but I need to be able to "function" in order to get to work and have people to empathize with, ya know?

 

I'll find a new pdoc, I guess, if you will. I think I've been short-changing myself for the sake of convenience. It's time to branch out and see what one of these big guns has to say.

Edited by girlwiththefarawayeyes
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Another thing that gets me is the 'grandiosity' thing. According to the DSM et al., if you're bipolar, one of the signs is that you are grangiose- which means anything from you think you're Marie of Rumania to you know you're smarter than your idiot doctor and most of the people around you, and you don't bother to hide it. Think of it as 'Incredibles Syndrome'.

 

Like you, I'm smarter than most people. There. I said it. I might as well have said I have brown eyes. It's no more than that. I can't balance a checkbook, but I'm way better at understanding abstract concepts than most people. I'm more creative than tons of people (but I'm not claiming to be Mary Cassat or anything). And there are times when I try to hide all that because it makes regular people (who aren't stupid, but who often come across to me as being developmentally and intellectually handicapped in the way many people with Down Syndrome seem to average folks) nervous, upset and angry. They assume I'm arrogant about it. I'm not. I really wish I didn't have a garbage pail brain, or that my interests are all over the place. It would be a blessing. But it is what it is and I am what I am. And quite frankly, most p-docs are no smarter than the person down the street. 

 

Just as the average person may be sympathetic when dealing with a developmentally disabled person but occasionally become short with them because it can be frustrating dealing with some whose thought process is different form his or her own, I get frustrated too. And I get even more frustrated being told in so many ways that I'm supposed to want to be like these people or it's proof that I have issues. And I do have issues. A lot of them. But being smart isn't one of them. My problem is depression and the sometimes mindwarping bouts of intense hypomania that make my life into a mess. What I perceive is that a lot of depressives and bipolars ARE incredibly smart, and I think some of that so-called concern about grandiosity or 'thinking you are superior to others' is really a matter of the truth hurting, a lot. Being crazy doesn't mean we aren't better than average in some ways, while being worse than average in other ways. Being sick doesn't mean our illness does give us the dark gifts of compassion, empathy, insight and creativity born out of knowing the pain that comes from being rejected by our families and society because we are afflicted with something that makes us hard to deal with, having to find workarounds to live outside of a jail cell or hospital ward, and being forced to learn how the human mind works so that we can understand how to find some joy while having brains that are permanently stuck on rollercoasters. 

 

I want to fix the same parts you want to fix, and be a much more pleasant person to be around. I would really love to get on the subway without thinking even for a microsecond that maybe I should throw myself in front of it.

 

So- I called the hospital today to reopen my case so I can get my meds re-upped. I'm going to ask for a new t-doc (the one I had was of limited use to me and more than a little unnerved by me, which I can understand, and I feel bad  about it), and maybe ask for my old p-doc because she listens to me, genuinely wants to help and grasped what my PTSD was about immediately, and keep up with my meds because I want to stay sane. But as for normal? I think i'm going to have to find my own normal. And that's exhausting. 

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I'm doing really well today. Didn't work last night, but then, I was coming off of working 14 hours.

 

Hoping to get work today. and I feel really good. I picked up some bagels and whitefish spread yesterday (mmm, Jewish soul food!), but apparently some naughty person has snuck in my house and spirited everything away, leaving nothing but random poppy seeds ( : ) ).

 

The problem with all psychiatry/psychology is that it's subjective. So, if you have a good doctor, s/he can tell that you're grandiose if you say you're an amazing writer by looking at your stuff and seeing that you can barely put a sentence together. But if you have a bad doctor and you say, 'I'm usually the smartest person in the room, even if I'm in a room full of college professors', you might get blown off as grandiose even if what you are saying is perfectly true (by the way, most college professors become college professors because they can retain a lot of facts and they are very tenacious about school; that's not the same as being smart (i.e., being able to synthesize what they know into a workable, logical whole that can be hooked up to knowledge from other disciplines) or even interesting). In my case, it would be grandiose to say 'I get along with everyone, and people love me'. I'm lovable enough and I get along with a lot of people, but I am a serious pain in the ass and I know it. 

 

As for normal, I've been thinking about that. I think normal is definitely not a go for me. I don't think it's possible or anywhere near desirable. The pain comes and goes now. I find moments of incredible joy and happiness, and I'm finding that many of them are what is normal for me, not a form of hypomania. The hardest is getting used to 'down' moments without becoming scared that I'm entering a depression, or accepting that sometimes I'm tired and/or lazy and/or laid/back, but not depressed or having a side effect of meds. I feel sleepy a lot. I can sleep pretty much all day. But I still sent out another story this week, and I'm going to finish writing one I've worked on previously. Ad I'm not getting as angry at myself for being tired or sleepy. Part of it is the illness, part is the meds, part is the toll from working strange hours and part of it is just being human.   So I'm learning (I hope) to be good to myself and cut myself some slack. I'm trying to picture how I would want someone to talk to me, and then I try to self correct when I'm being mean to myself. In other words, I'm trying to re-wire my brain. If I can be nice to other people, I should be able to be nice to myself. 

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how are you doing,Washington?

you really expressed a lot of how I feel here.

thank you for that.

 

I dont want to be normal.

I just dont want to be in pain.

I don't want you to be in pain, either. Here's something that might help: http://www.meditationoasis.com

 

This site and its apps have helped e a lot. It's like having a responsible and caring p-doc right in your pocket.

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