Friday, January 20, 2017

Putting the Mental back into Mental Illness (Updated)

Today is a great day to slip into something comfortable and spill a little dirt about me that just might apply to you, gentle reader. My dirt could be your dirt. We might share the same dirt, you might say. You could also say we’re getting dirty together but you shouldn’t because that would change the entire context of the blog. 

I have Bi-Polar II Disorder.


I’m not going to start listing medical definitions or stats or whatnot. That's not my point here. My three-cent definition for BP2D (sounds like a droid) is as follows: Very pronounced cycles of Mania (feeling very UP!) and Depression. I will, of course wait here if you so choose to spend a few minutes researching yourself, but I will add this cautionary note: don’t assume any one definition applies to all people with this brain activity pattern. That’s the odd, frustrating part of neurological issues and their treatments. Since we have slightly different brains (which consequently function slightly differently even when all the millions upon millions of connections made every Nano-second are working normally) many people with the same diagnosis show different symptoms and severity at different times. Provided, of course, you even have the correct diagnosis! Ever ask two mechanics to sniff out an unwelcome sound your vehicle makes while idling or shifting gears only to have Tech A and Tech B give you different causes for the exact same noise? Unfortunately, the psychological field is like this sometimes. Often like this, in fact. I hope non-invasive brain imaging becomes more of a part of the predictive process, if that’s possible. Just my non-expert medical opinion. 

Maybe the above is new to you. YAY! You learned something and I taught something! We rock! Or, maybe you know exactly what I mean because you have a brain that make life interesting for you, or you live with someone who has a brain that makes life interesting for everyone in the house! I feel for you, dude or dudette. Big Sammy Bro Hug! You’re not alone. 

Speaking of which, here’s another motor vehicle analogy that just went and popped into me skull cap. This applies to what I call “The Disconnect”. It applies to my own depression state-of-mind but perhaps you will find some aspect of it that applies to your own life. And thus: You own a car. A powerful car. Fast. Beautiful. You know what the car CAN do, but as the driver you can’t get the car to do what you WANT it to do. The damn transmission is made of cats! Parts are running around all over the place, but not much is happening in the same direction. Which, in turn, leads to anger and frustration in you, the driver, as you try harder and harder to herd the cats so that you move in the direction you want and need it too. Meds and therapy can help the cats get their litter boxes together for a while but one small, red dot enters your life and the whole vehicle comes to a screeching halt despite your best efforts. And Life, it seems some days, is filled with those little red bastards*. 

                                                                        So hot.

Bottom line, I want to let others who share my dirt know that while we’re not getting dirty together, we can still be ‘friends with intellectual benefits’. You’re not alone, my peeps. That's my whole point of this post. Count me in your camp. Remember, it is part of you, not all of you. And like any other part of you, try to make it work for you in a positive way. I’m a creator and writer outside my 9-5 job. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit some good work hasn’t arisen from an UP! cycle or two!

Be safe, my friends. If you even wonder if you need help, Then Get It. You're worth it. Take care!

Be seeing you,

*For me, that dot is stress and/or lack of sleep. They get the dominoes tumbling before I ever realize it.  

-----------------------------UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE!----------------------------------------

A few people have asked me questions about this post, including why I made such a public admission. Fair enough. I did it because I don't view labels as boxes. To name something, or to divine its true, hidden name is to take away some of its power and influence. It's an old axiom in magic. If put into modern terms it means the more you understand a thing, the more ability you have to take action upon it. Therefore, I'm simply labeling one aspect of my larger self for the sake of fostering influence over it. It is part of me. It is not me. The menu is not the meal. The map is not the territory.

And if a better, truer, or more proven label is found I will drop this one in a heartbeat. Doctors make mistakes, too.

Be well,

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