“Do you take any other medications?”
The dentist looked up at me while I was standing in his office with a toothache from another world, trying to figure out which anitibiotics he would give me before he would rape my tooth in order to avoid pulling it out.
“Yes, I take Lithium.”
I heard it myself. My voice sounded like a duck, I actally quacked the words out of my swollen and very painful mouth.
The dentist immediately stopped what he was doing and stared at me. Oh man, here it comes. I remember taking a deep breath knowing what was coming.
“But …” he said, leaning back in his chair and crossing his legs while his eyebrows lowered a bit, ” you don’t look sick!”
No, I am well aware of that. I have a disorder. I have Bipolar Disorder. And I say I have Bipolar. I don’t say I am Bipolar. For me there is a big difference between the two of them. Having Bipolar is a part of me and who I am, but it don’t define me or who I am.
This year it is 8 years ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder rapid cycling mixed states. Peewh, loong diagnosis! I am not sure when it all started but it was in my early teens. When I was 17 I was diagnosed and medicated for my first “official” depression.
And it took many years with many embarrassing episodes, depressions, manias where most people thought I was so funny, so effective, so creative and so full of energy!
And then I hit rock bottom like never before with full blown depression, anxiety and a lot of weird thoughts/scenes in my mind.
I got hospitalized. And there I met the one doctor who finally understood what I suffered from.
I continued to see him weekly for a long time after the hospital and he helped me to understand that is was a part of me. Forever.
But back to where I started. The episode at the dentist office.
When you have an illness which is invisible, people tend to not believe you. Illness is, according to most people, something they can see with their own eyes. It’s something you can’t hide when you have a cast on your arm or leg. Wheelchair or loss of hair because of cancer treatment.
But an illness of the mind? Come on! You don’t look sick! Pull yourself together and stop that nonsense!
I have heard it all, believe me. I know I don’t look sick, but you don’t see me on my bad days either.
I wonder though; would it have been better if I looked and behaved like the professor in the movies “Back to the future?” Would it be easier for people to understand? Is this what people believe or expect when they hear about or meet a person who tells they have a mental disorder? 😀
For a long time I was ashamed to tell. I told a few people and I never saw them again. People are afraid of what they don’t understand. Or maybe they also just concidered me as a total fruit cake which is fine by me. Sometimes I DO feel like a fruit cake 😀
Like when I keep forgetting things and by that I don’t mean what people say “I’m hopeless.”
No, I mean I go to the kitchen and don’t remember why I am there. I go to the store and have no clue what I was going to get or how I got there. I forget appointments. Or I go to the appointment but don’t remember why I am there. I forget words. I fall out of conversations, not rememberig what we talk about.
But I keep notes. I have a notebook where I write things down, hoping I will not forget.
I have felt stupid many times in stores, farmacies when they ask what I want and I say … “Eehh .. I don’t remember!” 😀 I can’t do anything else than to laugh of myself. So in that way I AM a total fruit cake 😀
At this point, I feel I am mastering my illness and what has happened to me. Of course, there are days where I question everything and my own existence, but I don’t think that is something that is connected to my illness. Knowing what triggers my anxiety, knowing the signs of a depression or a mania coming is something I have learned to recognize. But sometimes it is just there without me seeing it. But life goes on 🙂
As absurd it may sound, this what I am going to say, I am greatful. I am greatful for all the things life gave me. Growing up with a narcissistic mother and an absent father since he could not face what was going on at home. Getting Bipolar Disorder. I am greatful for what my parents thaught me. I am greatful for what my disorder has taught me.
I learned what kind of person I don’t want to be. I learned that not all people has the ability to show affection since they are being tortured by their own demons and can’t see pass it. And I learned, in the end, to be ok with that.
I learned that life is not only black and white, but full of grey shades wich also hides their monsters. I learned to welcome them and dance along.
And in the end; I learned that I am allowed to celebrate myself. To love myself and forgive myself. Because none of this happening to me was ever my fault or a punishment of some kind.
I learned how to have a happy life. To laugh. I have my own family now and I am able to live life at its fullest and enjoy. Life is great!