Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Bipolar Puzzle

Yeah, so I come into the coffee shop (oh my gosh I have to say my coffee at home is certainly not this good - oh tasty Italian Panache goodness in a cup!) and there lay New York Times Magazine with the cover of a blurred raged (or so it seems) child behind the words: The Bipolar Kid.

I have mixed feelings on diagnosing kids with bipolar. I do sort of prefer the earlier view of things - the depressive disorder as a teen, not considered truly bipolar til like 20 following a major episode. . . but what do you call it then? How do you treat it? I just don't know.

What did bother me was the "label" they used. The "Bipolar Kid" because there is no differintiation between the kid and a potentially HUGE and possibly debilitating disease/disorder. Nope it is just who he is. I have struggled for years to not be my illness.

For so long I tried to hide it - in fact no one could tell I was really bipolar. I was a little off-beat, depressed, passionate. Depends on what age I was, how you knew me, the setting. I was "eccentric" but sometimes I was just sick. I don't know, can bipolar be like a really bad cold? Or like consumption? Or some sort of illness that acts up every now and then? No. It is ever present but it is not who I am. What I am.

But it sure felt like it. Manic for months, major depressive episode, rapid cycling -also known as 2005-2007. I am so lucky for the people who were there through most of it. For the people who literally saved me from me. I felt like there was no more, that where I started and where I ended was enmeshed within an evil disease. BUT if I still lived that way, how could I live?

I used to want to be a great advocate. To travel and lecture on the fact that not all bipolars are crazy. But after I had that huge break down (again, 2005-2007) I lost my faith in that. I wanted to show how normal I was and that the face of bipolar could be a normal girl. The more people I know with the disorder, the more I lose faith in that. It is ugly, it can kill a marriage, frienships or take a life. But it still gets a bad wrap. No wonder people who struggle with bipolar struggle so hard and feel so isolated.

Bipolar was / is a buzz word. Someone acts abnormal they are probably "bipolar" like someone coughs they have the consumption, not a cold. Yes I realize I have used that term twice.

Okay, I have to go to work and work with the "schizophrenics" oh, no, wait. The men who have schizophrenia or something like it.

It's a crazy world covered in diagnosis, labels, identity theft (in the figurative way) and strange egos.

This sounds crazy doesn't it? Well, I am bipolar. . . (that's a joke).

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About Me

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Portland, OR, United States
I am a daughter, sister, friend, wife, counselor and colleague. I am a work in progress. There may be some pieces out of place and things might be messy, but it's okay. I would rather accept that I am still unfinished than think that this is it. You can find my comments on faith and spirituality on my blog: And my comments and anecdotes on life at:

Books That Matter. Well, some of the many that matter.

  • Magical Shrinking: Stumbling Through Bipolar Disorder, Chris Wells
  • Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen
  • An Abudance of Katherines, John Green
  • Dave Pelzer
  • Franny & Zooey, J.D. Salinger
  • I Was Told There'd Be Cake, Sloane Crosley
  • The Cloister Walk, Kathleen Norris
  • The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are, Daniel J. Siegel