After meeting with my shrink, while still in the thick of the SSRI withdrawal, I decided that it was in my best interest to sit on the new bipolar diagnoses and give it some honest thought before writing about it.
There have been many, many times over my years on Twitter where I have thought to myself, shit, I wonder how many of my followers think I’m bipolar, ha ha nope just depressed! I had also brought it up in session on occasion but it never really went anywhere. That is until the doctor was able to witness the events of coming off of Effexor and going onto Wellbutrin and then coming off Wellbutrin. I am on Olanzapine now.
Part of the reason that we missed this is because my shrink knows I’m extremely resistant to being on what I consider too much medication. I don’t even like that with the Clonazepam I’m still on two meds. If you did make it through the initial, holy shit I’m losing it post then you will or won’t be surprised to hear that the head whooshing has just, in the last day or two, finally started fading out completely.
In the middle of the year 2000 when I turned onto the road in the direction of getting help I was labeled as having borderline personality disorder, I knew I didn’t have it. Now it’s funny to me that the doctors at Vancouver General Hospital were somehow able to make that assessment with me filling out some forms and then my having meetings with three different people and then all of those same people together, after their private pow wow of course. I shared a lot of the tell tale signs listed in the literature but I knew it wasn’t what I was dealing with.
From what I knew about bipolar disorder I also thought that there was no way that I was bipolar, except for the times when I thought I might be bipolar. In my head bipolar meant being up up up up no sleep for days on end in a completely manic state and then crashing so fucking hard and becoming depressed. And I always thought that, sure, I sort of fit that but not really. My ups and my downs although EXTREME are never super long and I can sleep like a mother fucker when I’m depressed. I also have a pretty bipolar-ish personality in general so the Doctor was trying not to be too quick to stifle things about me that might need some work in the personal growth department but weren’t things that were fitting of a full on bipolar diagnosis.
Enter coming off of the effexor and going into withdrawal and going seriously manic to boot.
I’m thankful that I was able to run through most of it, I didn’t even end up having to take a full week off. Running with head whooshing and some numbness was better than not running at all. Things did elevate to a slightly worse level after I made it pretty clear that I was coming unglued online, I wasn’t able to sleep for almost two days at one point and felt there was no escaping the withdrawal for a bit there. It gave me an entirely new understanding in regards to just how hard it must be for the recovered alcoholic and recovered drug addicted friends I have to stay sober. Holy. Shit. Did it ever and I had help with other drugs to keep me sane, or try to rather.
I went out the other night to an art show under the new bipolar diagnosis and I wasn’t drinking because of all that has been going on which only added to my nerves and awkwardness but it wasn’t that bad. It helps that I was with people that I know don’t judge me for my mental illness, period, but I still worry about people being scared of me. It had also been long enough since the worst of this that I felt that I was ready to field questions about now being BIPOLAR II. And not only that, I knew I needed to be in a good mind frame to be able to explain in a non defensive way that I genuinely believed that I have been bipolar for probably most of my life. When I look back it is all there.
It wasn’t really that painful for me to look back and say ok nope that wasn’t depression that was a destructive manic episode. It doesn’t change anything, supposed friends still called the cops on me and major shit went down and I was scared it was all happening again, but real friends don’t call the cops, they call you. Frankly, they don’t let it even get that bad. My life did not fall apart again; the support was there this time.
I am without a doubt scared as fuck of being judged even further than I already am, but then again things make so much sense now that there is a growing part of me that doesn’t give two fucks what people think. From the responses I’ve gotten from the Internet most people already thought I was bipolar anyway, and I wasn’t even offended by how many people said so. I thought fuck yeah I can finally hit this shit head on.
This is the first time in a long time where the positives of a diagnosis that I am totally on board with are seemingly outweighing the negatives. I’ll keep you posted.