I am on my first reread of the series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin (have only gotten through perhaps a 1/4 of A Game of Thrones, the first of the series). Of all the books I’ve ever read, this series is by far the most interesting and complex epic saga. And while I’d love to have a chat with anyone who has read the books and what they think will come in The Winds of Winter or whether or not you think R+L=J, that is not what this post is about. I apologize for the misleading title but it seemed fitting somehow.
No, this post is about being Bipolar and what it means to me. I’m still in a haze of confusion regarding my recent clinical diagnosis. When I heard it, I wasn’t exactly surprised. I had been battling depression for so long, over a decade since the original diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder, I thought it would just be a way of life for me. But after some reflection, it made a simple sort of sense. When not trapped in depression, I was fun, outgoing, loud, sometimes to the point of being obnoxious, and above all things, happy. It never occurred to me that what I was experiencing was something I now know to be called Hypomania. I’m still trying to decipher all the many ins and outs of what it is to be a Manic Depressive. I read somewhere that it’s quite common that those with Bipolar Disorder are frequently misdiagnosed as being only depressed. It makes total sense, as most people are more likely to want to be rid of depression rather than mania. Most have no idea what it truly means to be manic. In hindsight, it’s blindingly apparent.
My main complaint after being labeled Bipolar II, besides the new medication and its side effects (which will be a post all on its own), is this: I am not entirely sure of who I am anymore. My mood has started to stabilize, but for whatever reason, my baseline emotion tends to be anger, mixed with a whole lot of frustration. What ever happened to me being happy-go-lucky? That rendition of my personality has been an infrequent visitor. I will acknowledge that I’m taking steps in the right direction, ever so slowly.
A friend, referencing The Emperor from Star Wars, said I should let the hate flow through me. While it was meant in jest, it really has taken hold and I don’t like what it’s done to me. I don’t recognize myself anymore. At least I’m not depressed and suicidal anymore, right? My friend’s opinion was that hate would be easier to control than the overwhelming hopelessness and worthlessness I was feeling before. I guess it is considering that I no longer want to end my own life. But I’m realizing that it’s very easy to let the anger fester, to let it sharpen the words that were not meant to be said with so harsh a tone, to let it foster resentment, to let it quell the laughter that rarely tries to surface.
Who am I? Which emotions are legitimately my own and which are a product of the medication, the mental illness, or my environment?
I’m determined to become a functioning person again and I’m sure I’ll figure all of this out eventually. What I’m not sure of is what my icy indifference and raging hate-fire will do to those who love me. My husband, bless his heart, has been a trooper through so much of my crap but I know that he won’t stick around forever if I keep treating him like my personal punching bag. And saying that you’re sorry and doing the same damn thing only minutes later gets old very quickly.
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