Thursday, February 10, 2011
I’m taking a big risk with this post, but whatever.
I’ve dealt with depression for pretty much my entire adult life. Prosac, Zoloft, an extremely short stint on celexa, wellbutrin… I’ve had to take a lot of different medications to treat this shit, and I have had no problem whatsoever saying “Yeah, I’m clinically depressed.” Of all the things that can go wrong inside somebody’s head, depression seems to be the most acceptable among the masses. Saying that you’re depressed won’t necessarily yield a back-away-slowly reaction from friends and family. They may not understand how being “sad” is something that should be treated with medication, but they won’t think of you as totally batshit crazy.
Saying that you have any form of bipolar disorder, however, can yield some rather unflattering labels – even from those closest to you.
I haven’t really talked about being bipolar partly because of the stigma that surrounds the word.
It just sounds nasty.
I am actually not classic (is that how they refer to it?) bipolar – I have bipolar II disorder, which is characterized by major depressive episodes, mood swings, and “hypo-mania,” the latter being something that I’m still having trouble defining. I guess my sudden need to dye my hair two weeks ago could be called a hypo-manic episode, but I’m not entirely sure.
The depression aspect of this disorder isn’t that bad (for me, anyway). I’ve grown used to my bouts with soul-crushing sadness and I can usually drown them by eating an entire green bean casserole, downing a few Mountain Dews, and watching some television or something. The mood swings, however, those are what get me. I can go from completely calm to outright enraged in a matter of seconds. I’m taking a mood stabilizer to combat this, but treating it isn’t that simple. I can’t take a pill and eradicate the condition completely, as much as I would fucking LOVE to. That would make things so much easier, wouldn’t it?
With that said, I find the genetic aspect of this disorder terrifying. My mom, though never officially diagnosed, is all kinds of bipolar – not bipolar II, just straight-up bipolar. Instead of taking medication, or even seeing a shrink, she chooses to mellow out in a different sort of way, if you catch my drift. For the record, it doesn’t work. Knowing that there’s even a slight possibility of either Midget or Munchkin (or both!) being afflicted with this when they are older scares the shit out of me. Sure, having somebody around to talk to who “gets it” is helpful, but sometimes it’s just not enough.
I’m not entirely sure of why I’m publicly stating that I’m mentally ill. (Argh, that sounds so dreadful!!!!) I think it all goes back to that post from The Bloggess that I talked about a week or two ago, as well as the desire to not have to hide shit on my own damn blog. Remember what I said about that filter? Totally unnecessary at this point in my life. Regardless of the reason, I suppose I should now state the obvious: that this doesn’t define me. It’s part of me, sure, but it sure as hell isn’t all of me. Before I close this out, I’m going to point you to Michael Kimber’s Colony of Losers. His video about mental illness might be a little… dramatic, but he does make a couple of good points.
So, now that I’ve put this out there, you can feel free to back away slowly.