I’m bipolar, so what?

So I’ve gone from my blog for just under a year now (November seems to be when I try to get back into blogging, clearly) but I hadn’t been posting a whole lot before hand. One of the things holding me back was that I felt I was drowning under a backlog of reviews I never felt like I could claw my way from under, especially when blogging is a side activity. So I’m not going to be doing book reviews anymore, this blog is going to be about me, queerness, mental health, and counsellor stuff. But without further ado, let’s move on.

Bipolar-Disorder-mood.jpgLast year on the 29th of November I woke up and the world felt different. Everything seemed brighter, sharper, everything tasted more. Life suddenly seemed more worth living. I didn’t know it yet on that particular morning as I got in the car and cranked the music up, but my depressive phase was over and I’d entered a manic one. The reason I didn’t recognise the change even as thoughts that had almost reduced me to tears seemed almost irrelevant now, was that I didn’t know I was bipolar. Back when I studied psychology at the OU, I read a chapter about what bipolar disorder is. And it sounded bloody familiar. So I took myself to my GP only to be firmly shut down and assured that I couldn’t possibly be bipolar. At the time I was in a depressive phase and just let it slide. I was too down to fight with a doctor that seemed to begrudge giving me anything at all to help.

Fast forward years down the line to the end of last November and suddenly nobody could deny that something has changed. Sure, my depression hadn’t been as bad after some therapy, but until that magical morning (the date of which I can never forget because it was the day FFXV was released) things had only gotten better to a point: I still had felt as though there was a weight permanently crushing me, as though I could never quite manage to climb all the way out of the pit of despair that was always threatening to swallow me. But when I say nobody could deny the change, I’m lying. The people around me couldn’t, the people I talked to who are also bipolar confirmed that my symptoms and experience sounded similar to theirs.

My GP, however, is still dragging his feet and I’m going to go storm his office with all my mood trackers and a bipolar screening test in hand next week and hopefully I can get somewhere. But it’s been about eight months since I first started this battle and got sent to the rather useless CBT sessions instead of doctors actually listening to what I have to say.

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Being manic has changed my life, as one might expect, but being aware of it this time has made everything it has touched all the more apparent. And it has also made apparent all the times in my life when I have swung from depressed back to manic and then back again, sometimes triggered by something in particular and sometimes, like this last time, just because my brain chemicals decided they felt like a change. I’m pretty sure bipolar mood changes from depressive to manic make about as much sense as the machinations of the Fae that leads to the balance of power shifting from Winter to Summer (and in this analogy Winter is definitely my manic phase because I am never happier than at the height of winter when the nights are long and dark and I actually need to wear more than just a t-shirt to go out).

There is a lot of good things about being manic: I have more ideas, I’m more creative, I’m more driven, I enjoy things more. That last one is probably the most important to me but it has seemed that in the last year everything, and I mean everything that I have done in my life has just been so much more enjoyable. Emotions are permanently running at 200% which means I’m twice as likely to burst into tears of happy as I am if something upset me. I’ve read more, I enjoyed the new expansion of the MMO I play to a level I didn’t get to with the one before that. But there is a drawback to it all: being manic is exhausting. Imagine going through a day with all the normal emotions people feel, and then turn it all up to 11, all day, every day. If I have a particularly manic morning when everything feels so much more, I can assure you I’m going to drag myself through trying to work in the afternoon because I’ve spent myself by just feeling so much.

But my manic phase is the reason I got my first book finally bloody finished (and it’s currently out on subs, wish me luck!) and vomited about 80K of another in less than two months. It’s the thing that’s made me say enough to a lot of the shit I saw around me. And for all it turns off my self-preservation sometimes, it’s also allowed me to care less about things that were very unhealthy for me (I’ll post about why I’ve pretty much withdrawn from Twitter and social media in general at some other point).

bipolar-810x554.jpgSo yeah, this post is basically a long update to say I’ve realised I’m bipolar, have been bipolar since I was a kid and no-one managed to see it until I realised myself through the studies I was doing. And then again I was told I was wrong, as though I don’t know my own mind better than the doctor. If I can ever be bothered I have some ‘fun’ anecdotes of trying to get diagnosed that I might share.

But I’ve rambled enough (and I could ramble more) and I should leave anymore talking about mental health and things like that for another day.

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