I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder when I was 16. At first, I was misdiagnosed with depression. I was given anti-depressants which triggered a severe manic episode which resulted in an attempted suicide.
I struggled for a long time with my diagnosis and I still find it hard to reminisce over those “lost years”, as I call them. Truth is, I can’t remember a lot of events that occurred during this 10-year span of time (repression is my specialty). Recently, as of 2 years ago, I began taking my medication consistently and I noticed a huge difference. Not only was my mood more stable, but I found joy in things again and found inner motivation to start getting things done. For instance, in the last two years I’ve gotten married, moved out of my parents house and chosen my career. However, I still struggle from time to time to regulate my mood.
Lately in particular, I’ve been feeling so depressed–despite taking my medication regularly. I decided to make an appointment with a new psychiatrist (with the move, I had to switch), which made me nervous in and of itself. It’s very difficult for me to connect with medical professionals, perhaps because they can’t connect with me.
Let me tell you, I function quite highly with my bipolar disorder. No substance abuse, no more self-injurious behavior. I hold a prestigious position in my field and have a large circle of adoring friends. Therapists often study me from across the room, their fingers laced together in thought, “but you seem fine”. Yes, these are words I hear often. Because I’m not “bipolar-looking”, because I don’t parade my struggles, I am stigmatized.
So, meeting a new psychiatrist was anxiety-inducing. He was nice though, and more importantly asked the right questions. He thoroughly interviewed me about my medical history and asked questions about how I felt about the decisions that had been made for me thus far.
At the end of the session, he had several valid suggestions including increasing my dosage. Because at this time, my symptoms are cutting into my functionality. It’s difficult making these health decisions for something so opposite of the tangible. A thought, an emotion–something I’ll never feel between my hands yet drives my entire being. But I struggle onward.