bitching about bipolar, thinking about reality

In which I start off peeved, but end the post on an uncharacteristically positive note. Triggers: wtf happened to the real blahpolar?! Send in the (hot female) Mounties. Tyvm.

A caveat for my readers: none of today’s rants apply to you lovely people.

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You know what (else) I don’t like about the heal thyself without psychiatry brigade? I haven’t seen any so far that have bothered to factor in the severity and differences within a disorder. They don’t even explain their own diagnosis and/or experience. I don’t think that their claims are relevant without those details.

Know what irritates me about bipolar bloggers who are just a little too glib? They usually talk about their mood shifting from one minute or one day to the next, without ever saying ultradian or ultra rapid. Either they’re lying, or they need to fire their psychiatrist for not explaining their diagnosis properly. Or they’re lying. Yup, that’s probably it.

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Let me tell you what annoys me about laypeople without bipolar who blog imperiously about how to handle the disorder. Everything. Blog about caregiving or support or something. No matter how empathetic you are, quit telling us you know how it feels, because you do not. Aim at humility, not humiliation, you fuckers.

I feel guilty about being pissed off by this, but it feels kind of shameful when I’m in a better space and everybody in my ‘real’ life goes well done wow awesome the meds are working it’s fantastic yay! Anything more than quiet happiness/relief about it is just too much pressure and although probably unintended, can feel a tad patronising. Please just say something along the lines of that’s really good to hear, long may it last. Thanks and sorry for all the neurosis.

How about the culprit itself – we all get angry about bipolar, right? The reason is simple to state and complex to understand; it’s a low down, yellow bellied, snake of a dirty thief. I can tell myself it’s fabulous to have the extra perception, empathy and more intense emotions, but I’d trade it all in a heartbeat for peace. Anyway, them’s the breaks and when I don’t hate my own guts, I like myself lots.

Here be foolosophy:

Contrary to appearances, I don’t spend my entire life pissed off. Sometimes I’m morose. Ahem. Nah, you guys must know by now that I laugh a lot. It’s great to come here and rant and vent and eventually along the way, I laugh at myself for being pissy.

I don’t do soft focus inspiring and motivational clichés, I sorta wish I did sometimes, like the way I wish I had some sort of faith. Because then there would always, always be an answer and meaning, whether there was a solution or not. Genetics, nature and nurture made me what I am and the way I perceive what we call reality, isn’t going to change. Without proof, how could it? The answer for me is always no reason and there just isn’t any meaning. Don’t tell anyone, but I secretly look for silver linings, always. I usually find them too, no matter how reluctantly; lessons are silver linings, for instance. Back to chaos and the absence of meaning … u.npredictability becomes reliable when that’s what you expect. Good things are especially sweet when you’ve considered the worst case scenario too. Here’s the best and most optimistic thing though – wait, we need a new paragraph.

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No matter what the hypotheses and observations and analyses, no matter how deep the abyss and how painful the breaks, there are always good things too. People misunderstand karma and expect very clear checks and balances, but that’s not how it works – and I’m not going to explain it here. So, without expecting a payment of good for bad, bad things happen and good things and nobody knows which will happen when – but we can be relatively certain that at some point, something nice will toddle along smiling. At which point, a quote from wry realist, Kurt Vonnegut is the best way I can tell it.

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I tend towards stoicism in a big way, I assume most (all?) survivors do. I can laugh my ass off, make other people laugh, hide, isolate, go completely silent, but I don’t have to do that here and I never want to feel that compulsion either. I get cross with myself for the times when how are you feels like a trick question, because it never is one. It’s courteous and/or concerned. End of. This is my brain on it – maybe yours too:

Please don’t ask how I am, please don’t, I don’t want to lie … oh shit they asked … maybe if I point to that butterfly they’ll forget they asked … let me do a distracting tap dance … shit shit they asked again with ‘are’ in italics, this is serious … what am I gonna do … if I say ‘fine’ it’s a lie, if I tell the truth, it can be a very boring buzzkill, I mean … even I get bored with it … oh fuck there’s no way out …how pathetic is it that I get embarrassed inside my own private thoughts … okay I can do this … I’M FINE, THANKS SO MUCH FOR ASKING AND HOW ARE YOU?

Way to overcomplicate a really simple thing; it’s eye-rollingly bloody unnecessarily exhausting. I’m working on it though, I practise on very close friends.

How are you?
Coping, but feeling crap.
How are you?
Struggling, but I’ll survive.
How are you?
Please leave a message at the beep.
How are you?
Today was a pretty good day.
How are you?
Zomg fine, I really am fine lol whut, this feels weird!

It already feels easier.

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Where was I?

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Published by

blahpolar

battlescarred, bright, bewildered, bent, blue & bipolar

21 thoughts on “bitching about bipolar, thinking about reality”

  1. Thankyou for flying bipolar air.
    Please give a huge round of applause to your captain, blahpolar.

    Sorry. Random moment….😁

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m not a medical professional and I don’t know (many) people who blog about or write on forums about bipolar personally but I’m with you on the first point. Having bipolar doesn’t mean every mood is a symptom. It’s completely normal to sometimes be happy, sad or angry and not know why. It’s completely normal for moods to not be completely stable (as long as they are within the realms of ‘normal’ and don’t last too long). When people start taking about every mood change as a symptom I get really frustrated. Some people do have ultra rapid cycling or mixed mood episodes but having a bipolar diagnosis doesn’t mean you necessarily do. I get pissed off, sad, hopeful and excited all in a day when I’m well. That isn’t a sign of illness, it’s called having emotions! I have had mixed episodes and ultra rapid cycling and I am not denying the existence of ultra rapid cycling at all, I just think some people (sufferers and those around them) can be quick to define mood changes as symptoms. I don’t think it’s healthy to assume bipolar is behind every emotion.

    I think some people see bipolar as the core of their identity and therefore explain every emotion with reference to the illness. I also think some people aren’t particularly well educated about their diagnosis and that’s not entirely their fault. Medical professionals should be helping to explain the condition to those with the illness. If people understood their own illness more it more it would make my life a lot easier. I’m so bored of having to explain that bipolar is an episodic mood disorder.

    I’m all for psychiatry (even if I have stopped taking my meds…) and I am all for using whatever other methods you can find to help control moods and increase quality of life. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. I certainly wouldn’t recommend other people stop their meds without a discussion with their doctor. Regular sleep, friends, goal setting etc all help but when I’m barking mad and wandering the streets at 5am I need meds. Healing without psychiatry might be possible for some people but like you say, it really depends of how the illness manifests in that individual and also what support and strengths that individual has.

    Oops..I didn’t mean to rant in response to your rant!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree with you and I really like your attitude about not taking meds. You’re fair and responsible.

      For me, early childhood onset plus continuous cycling means there’s a good possibility I haven’t experienced euthymia. I read Natasha Tracy so much largely because she generally defaults to a baseline of depressed. Still you are right in that it shouldn’t define one.

      Rant here anytime I like it a whole lot. Sorry for the short comment I’m sorta all written out today :)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Aw crap, now what I was gonna post feels dirty. I love holistic crap, I adore the idea that accupuncture and reflexology works, I am reading a book on the GAPS diet and creaming.. er loving it, id try it but im poor and lazy, and I still cant tell if that weird GP i saw when I was 16 was joking or taking the piss when he said i was depressed because im a scorpio [noo problem] whut?? I hate taking medication, i probably need it very much but i will continue to make excuses (the herbs work plz yes ok!) i swallow stuff that is likely to make my pee very expensive and my kidneys confused but id rather them confused than crying, i argued for 6 weeks with a therapist and have never gone again, i am the worlds worst patient… ever.

    Too much information
    My point! (Cant remember it..) I agree with you, but i am glib, it makes me feel less like a patient. I hate psychiatry because I dont want to need it. And i should have shut up ages ago but ive typed it on this damn phone now so im bloody well posting it.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “it feels kind of shameful when I’m in a better space and everybody in my ‘real’ life goes well done wow awesome the meds are working it’s fantastic yay!”

    Yes. This. And its flip-side, that thing where you have a bad moment in the middle of even a good day, and people are all, “Do you need your meds adjusted?”

    Thank you.

    To touch on a thing: I actually struggle a bit with the idea that I’m blogging about my attempts to manage my bipolar without meds. I don’t actually think it’s a great idea, not even for me, but I haven’t found meds that don’t make my life worse instead of better yet (and I’ve basically tried all of them). If I find them, I will take the hell out of them (as it is, I do use a semi-medical approach that has shown promise in actual clinical trials, and I still don’t feel that’s enough).

    Thus, I totally agree that people who glibly write about “healing without psychiatry” totally don’t get it.

    Bipolar isn’t an emotional problem: it’s a neurological one. Modern research has pretty much proven that. There are ways of doing some degree of damage control that work or some of us; there are even therapeutic approaches that can make some changes to the wiring in our brains — but bipolar is never going away for those of us who really have it, not even with the best therapy.

    I’m glad you wrote this, and glad you pointed these things out. Thank you for being out there and being you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If nothing else, it will help you figure it out, whether you are ok w/o meds or whether you’re not … and if you get feedback it is either helpful or not. Makes me think of what I posted a little while ago, where Edison says that his … well let me look it up. ok, it is different from what I posted but I got the gist: Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.” As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” so, the feedback, yeah. you can use it or lose it lol…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I only recently started blogging and I got an email from a woman who claimed that she was now healed from her Bipolar Disorder and directed me to her blog, so that I could learn “the secret” to finding my own cure. I wish I would have saved the link, but I deleted the email, and I have a weird habit of emptying trash too…

    The point is: ever since I started being open about my diagnosis, I’ve had all sorts of people tell me how I can be cured, how I can better cope, or questioning me because “what I describe doesn’t fit what I say I was diagnosed with.” And it’s fine. Even I am questioning my health care professionals now because the first time I found myself in the presence of psychiatric care, I didn’t really ask questions. I just kind of accepte diagnosis and ran away. So now I’m being very challenging precisely because I find that I have other issues which may very well mean my labels were poorly placed or not all of them were placed and I want to know.

    Thankfully, running into all of you (bloggers) has helped me realize that there is more — that what I saw was just the tip of the iceberg — and I’m able to have some basis so that the next time I’m sitting in front of that lazy shrink, I can be like, “LISTEN TO ME AND TELL ME WHY ON THE BASIS OF WHAT I AM SAYING. DO NOT WRITE ME OFF.”

    Sadly, I’m not too hopeful considering where I’ll be going for long term treatment, but you guys have given me the courage to question the professionals and get the right answers.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Some meds halt/repair the brain damage that bipolar does, so be wary of quitting meds. And as for your doctor/s – whether the govt pays or you do, they’re getting a fat salary. Therefore they are your bitches, they answer to you and must give you good service. It’s good to meet you, stick around. Sorry for the short answer – no sleep last night.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d like to second this. Last semester, I went to a seminar at school where one of the foremost bipolar researchers in the US spoke about the neurological implications of bipolar disorder.

        One of the things he mentioned was that, like in schizophrenia, there are measurable brain changes associated with bipolar disorder. There is also a much higher-than-normal likelihood of cognitive decline and dementia as age progresses (dementia is not actually a normal part of aging).

        Medication can prevent both of those things.

        Likewise, a big Amen to the doctors are your bitches part :D Learning to regard myself as someone who is *employing* my doctors and therapist has had a profound impact on the success of my treatment. I go in to doctor’s appointments and therapy sessions with a sense of what I need to get out of them, and that helps the professionals in my life help me get there. I have “fired” more than one ineffective doctor.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Yesssss I like you attitude. Your ashitude? ;)

          Absolutely bloody spot on. I don’t want my neurons fried, my hippocampus shrunk or my reward centre attacked. Neither do I want the excess cortisol that causes heart disease. Etc ….

          Like

          1. Hahaha! Ashitute! I will take that in a heartbeat!!!

            Great point about the cortisol thing, too. That’s one thing I worry about: right now, my heart is awesome, but that doesn’t mean that lifetime of living at triple-neon-dayglo-magenta alert levels is going to keep it that way. Another great argument in favor of meds!

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Just give me drugs and peace, calm, quiet, a really good book when I can read, a nice film when I can’t… not too soppy, (that makes me cry), not to scary (that makes me anxious!!), I’d probably do really well on a dessert Island with a library and Netflix!! I’m not comfortable with being bipolar (although at times I think I am…) I’m surviving bipolar every f***king day! Hoorah to us… We are fucking awesome to be alive! And from HHGttG: would it save a lot of time if I just went mad now?!!! That sums it up for me!!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Haha! I’m the same with the “how are you” question. And yet I keep asking (you, among others). That’s why I usually answer “Thanks, I’m stable” to people that know my condition. It means “not well but there’s no risk of me doing stupid things”. But when I ask people with conditions “how are you” I ask because… well, not that I’m necessarily worried all the time.. but I do wanna know and I don’t want to not have asked it at a crucial moment.

    And now I’m gonna compose myself a bit because I just realized this is why mother asked me how I was so often. It was annoying at the time but… man.

    Liked by 2 people

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