I’ve heard and read so many horrible things about mental illness lately. Maybe some of them aren’t horrible per say, but very uneducated. Nevertheless, the ignorance of it all still makes me sick. Physically sick.
Despite feeling nauseated and anxious over other’s viewpoint of mental illness, I still try to press on and detail what it’s like to live a some what functional life.
I want other people to know that you can do this. If I, a cluster fuck of chaos, can do this then so can you.
Let me go over some of the things that I hear or read that make me anxious or irritated:
Is there a test for all that/How were you tested?
I’m assuming the people who ask those questions don’t really believe in the diagnosis they are questioning. There is not a physical test for mental illness. I’m not going to get my blood drawn and have my doctor go “Oh yeah, there’s the bipolar, right next to the 5.5% AC1” because that doesn’t make any sense. These are BRAIN CHEMICAL IMBALANCES. Recent brain imaging has attributed dysfunctions in the hippocampus as a cause for bipolar disorder. The hippocampus is the hub for mood and memory processing. ADHD and similar attention disorders are believed to be linked to the shrinkage of the prefrontal cortex. These are all still being researched as brain imaging advances.
As for psychological testing, I’ve been through HOURS of it. I was diagnosed bipolar after a very intensive rapid cycle where a long hypomanic episode induced impulsivity and behaviors that were not myself. Since I’ve been diagnosed for 11 years now, I can now see some emerging traits of bipolar all the way back to my teen years. I exhibited ADHD symptoms from a very young age.
Anything regarding not having kids because of a mental illness
This issue gives me all sort of emotions. I have kids. I have TWO kids with needs. I have experienced a lot of guilt over my kids having the same issues that I do. However I have learned that it’s out of my control. I am their mother and my illness isn’t the center of everything. Anyone that wants to have kids has to assess the pros and cons. Anything can happen. When you are a parent with needs, especially to ones that have high needs, you have to understand that it’s your job, not your kids, to take care of yourself. I know I struggle with this a lot. After that it’s about maintaining stability and an appropriate treatment plan.
My oldest was a surprise. I was just barely off my Lamictal when I found out I was pregnant with him. I REFUSED any medication while pregnant with both of my kids. The only thing I knew I had when I was carrying Joshua was bipolar and reflux. That’s it. For the first 3 years, I asked every doctor he saw what was the chances of him having bipolar disorder. They really couldn’t answer me. Joshua started officially receiving his diagnosis’ at the age of 4. So far he doesn’t have bipolar, but he does have the same chromosome duplication that I do and ADHD. Who’s to say that just because you have these disorders, you can’t or shouldn’t have children? It’s up to you.
That we are weak for having an illness or taking medication for it.
We are stronger than you think. We adapt and problem solve much more than the average person. We’ve been through struggles that makes us stronger, and while they seem insignificant to a neuro-typical person, they are major achievements in our lives. We’ve been through countless doctors and therapies trying to find the right one that works for us. We bear our entire life story to a stranger in a room to get some relief and insight on our inner workings. We take pills that have horrible side effects so our brains don’t turn against us. Some of us are really good at acting, so we don’t experience the hateful stigma.
I’ve been trying to focus on more positives in my life and really try to detail our everyday life. I started us a Facebook page because I can’t always concentrate to get on here and write.
I’ve been told before that I am high-functioning bipolar.
Are you kidding me?
I get overwhelmed at the sight of laundry.
I get irritated when my child clings to me too much.
I have no organizational skills.
What is considered high-functioning anyways? Because I haven’t gambled, done drugs, or partied like a sorority girl?
Let’s not put those labels out there.
My official bipolar diagnosis is Bipolar 2, rapid cycling, with euphoric and dysphoric mania.
As much I am trying to educate people, if I have learned anything from this and being a special needs mom it’s that you can only educate people so much.