Monday, July 24, 2017

Yes I Do Have Bipolar II. I Knew it!

This handy little graphic from Petite Girls Guide shows perfectly my experiences and what I have been telling mental health professionals for the last seven years. For years, I was told I can't be bipolar because I cycle too fast. Well, this graphic describes my cycle exactly; 1 to 3 days.

It took six different professionals over that period of time to finally get my correct diagnosis, but last week I finally got it. It is now Bipolar II, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Anxiety. 

Now let me take a second to use a gif that expresses how I feel...

Reading all of that you would think that I am batshit crazy, on tons of medication, and have spent my life in and out of the hospital.

Weirdly, none of those things apply to me. My therapist describes me as high functioning. This simultaneously makes me proud, confused, pissed, and guilty all at the same time. Proud because I've kept my mental illness under control. Confused because sometimes I think if I can function this well am I really mentally ill? Pissed because I'm not affected enough to convince people I have mental illness but enough that my life is always a somewhat a struggle.  And guilty because, well, my life with mental illness isn't really that bad. While it's not that bad, I'm not normal. So I guess you could add some shame to that list too. I know, #endthestigma and all that but the shame is still there, even if it's lowkey. 

My therapist asked me if now that I have the correct diagnosis if it would change my life. The weird thing is that is hasn't so far. My appointment for medication isn't until October 1 and to be honest I haven't decided if I'm going to take medication. I believe in doing natural things like exercise, changing my diet, taking supplements, getting adequate sleep, and doing meditation to control my mental illness. I'm also obviously in therapy.

Granted I've never tried medication so I am curious to see how it would make me feel but I'm simultaneously terrified of taking it. I want to stay me. I don't want it to change my personality. I don't know if I can afford it (I can't afford Obamacare that covers mental health. Thanks Obama!). I don't want to become dependent on medication and have to take it the rest of my life. I also don't want any side effects.

There's another reason I don't want to take medication. I have to confess I like my hypomanic phases. I know, I know, that's not a good thing. But I feel confident, hopeful, and I am productive. As a writer the best thing to happen to me is a hypomanic phase. (Oh gawd, did I really just describe myself using the struggling, mentally ill, suffering writer cliche?)

Maybe if I took medication, instead of getting three or so hypomanic productive days out of the week I would have a whole week of productive days. I don't know if that's how it works though. I need to do some research and talk to people with bipolar II. The fact that I also have BPD is a factor too. Maybe because of that I can't take other things that people without a cormorbid diagnosis can take.

I thought finally getting the correct diagnosis would give me answers but instead I feel like I have a hundred new questions. But it feels so damn good to know that I am not imagining my cycles from depressed to normal to hypomanic anymore. They really are happening to me!

So I want to close this post with this. We are told all the time not to self-diagnose BUT if you feel your diagnosis isn't correct do not give up on finding the correct one. It may take years and several different professional opinions but keep at it. 

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