Tuesday, February 28, 2012
"Women are more likely than men to have rapid cycling and mixed episodes (both depression and hypomania occurring at the same time.)"
My current doctor is very casual about my condition. It is a good way for her to be because sometimes she is in a friendly chatty mood and sometimes she is in a hurry and somewhat brusque and skeptical in dealing with me. And the fact that she has written in rather too large letters at the top of my file BIPOLAR DISORDER absolves her from having to pay too much attention to how I might react because she figures she never knows what she is going to be dealing with from visit to visit. And she is pretty good about the drugs, listens and explains, but that is because she knows I usually come in well-armed for that battle.
But I opened with this quote for another reason. I was first told when I was about thirty and a raving 104 pound lunatic that I was probably a "manic depressive" but he wanted to use lithium and I fail the kidney test. (It is a heavy metal) so I blithely went on with my life, forging tranquilizer scrips and altering dates on the bottles for refills from the elderly pharm that was a good friend of my dads. Yeah, one of my more reprehensible moments, I agree. And buying quaaludes and valium from a girl I worked with who knew a nurse who was a thief. I also spent a year or two in Rum therapy. Oh, and smoked a barrel of dope. But pregnancies and other life crises brought me relatively unscathed (at least visibly)to the present day. Not speaking for those surrounding me who still look a little shell-shocked. And I have resources available and kind, educated people to keep me on an even keel. Pretty fucking boring sometimes.
I had a discussion with someone some years ago whose adult child had committed violence against his mother and had to be hospitalized, etc. ultimately being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which, the story went, he had been self treating with alcohol. (A common manifestation) The person went into some detail about the current treatment of the adult child and discussed the classes they took to familiarize themselves with the disorder. (Never heard of them) and when I mentioned that I was a rapid cycler he showed utter disdain and dismissiveness indicating verbally that that WAS not a component of the illness and the cycles were usually months long. I had always had respect for that person, and what he said did shake me up a bit, but he wasn't a doctor or even working in social services, so I didn't let it change my life patterns. And now I kind of think of that person, who is a pretty nice guy, as one of those people that think they know it all. Which he really kind of isn't, generally. But reading this in someone's blog today validated me, in a kind of over due back in the shadows of my mind way.
It is true that people with this disorder tend to make light of it, and sometimes, oh,no, use it as an excuse for some outrageous behavior, but, to some one who was always the grade skipping high IQ star of the academic scene, to be dismissed so lightly, and for my knowledge to be ignored (pooh-poohed) certainly left a much bigger mark on my ego than I realized. As I did today when reading the quote.
I don't need to grasp at straws. I am doing quite well, and I like me just fine, you may have noticed me saying. But, it is another case of someone thinking knowledge you pay someone for is better knowledge than the stuff you live and learn on your own. Actually, I look back and try to think of other times I was treated so dismissively, and, at this moment cannot call one to mind. (Except for the regular day-to-day junk I get from the spouse which rolls off my back.) I'm not so sure of what the point is I am trying to make here, but I do want you to know that the 'know it all' types, (there is currently one ranting on the Linked-In author's group about grammar. He would stroke if he read my books. Grammer, schmammer) (Cuz I wanna--that's why.) really get my goat. So if you want to question my knowledge, come to the table well-armed. When I make stuff up, I am very careful to tell that to everyone, and it usually becomes truth in a week or two anyway. Yeah. I do have those credentials handy. Here. . .