Monday, April 23, 2012

Accepting or tolerating a bipolar diagnosis

I wasn't diagnosed with bipolar until I was twenty-four. Generally, most people with bipolar don't even show symptoms until in their early twenties. But I had spent the previous few years misdiagnosed with depression and obviously mistreated. And that was after dealing with it in my childhood and teenage years. At the time of my correct diagnosis I knew nothing of bipolar so I had nothing to prejudge it by. That was in 1994.

Looking back I always get aggravated at the dr. who finally diagnosed me. She said it in a "matter of fact" tone and that was it. No explanation. Only minor basics. No descriptions. There was no "ah ha!" moment because I had no idea what she was talking about. A label means nothing without an explanation.

It wasn't until years later that I sought real treatment for "this diagnosis." That was in 2000 when I started going to our state mental health program.

I fought my treatment. I despised my pills. I hated the idea of having to take them. I either hated the side effects or the idea of knowing I'm going to have to take these handful of pills for the rest of my life.

At times I enjoyed the hypomania, the mania. I missed them when the meds worked.

It angered me when the meds wouldn't work...when the depressions proved to be stronger. I cherished the meds.

The meds were just as unpredictable as I was.

I'm almost forty and I still get angry over my bipolar. I think those of us with bipolar have a tendency to go back and forth between acceptance and tolerance along with a few other feelings in between.

Most everything can be tolerated. But not everything can be accepted. Bipolar can be a relentless illness whose symptoms inevitably and repeatedly return to torment its sufferers. One can quickly move from acceptance to "fed up" in the blink of an eye.

The return of suicidal thoughts serves only as a reminder of how low this disorder can take you down by its overpowering strength. Those outrageously high credit card bills that come in at the end of the month remind you of how controlling this disease can be. How could anyone accept this?

There can be a fine line between acceptance and tolerance. Sometimes there is just a position of accepting to tolerate.

I've gotten myself into a lot of trouble because of my bipolar. I can go through a lot of hurt and pain because of my bipolar. I can see a lot of excitement and adventure because of my bipolar. As with everything else in this life it has its ups and downs. Its pros and cons. Its positives and negatives.

As with any diagnosis, receiving one of bipolar can be bittersweet and after all my years living with it I've come to realize that there is no true acceptance. At least not for me. At times I do all I can just to tolerate it. Other times, I just accept to tolerate it. I accept the fact that it is here and it's here to stay. It always has been. 

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Where my inspiration comes from

A Recycled-Dad with Bipolar & Parkinson's, reflections on fathering and family life and other stuff thrown in'll love my Soap Box Rants

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Why I call myself a Recycled Dad

I call myself a Recycled Dad because of the struggles with remarriage and being a step-parent and weekend dad. This is also about my life living with bipolar and how it affects me personally, my family and my job. It also reflects on the grace God has poured out on me throughout recovery from alcohol and an eating disorder. Recycled Dad is about my reflections on the wisdom God teaches daily on fatherhood and being a better husband in spite of being bipolar.

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