Being so beautiful in our bipolar disorder, we often times think we know best. This, dear reader, is not always the case. There are people and things we need to maintain our wellness. But sometimes we will give in kicking and screaming. Sometimes we do not give in at all.
Perhaps the first thing we say ‘no’ to is our diagnosis. Hearing you have a major psychiatric illness is life changing. When we read the statistics of mortality and suicide, we really want no part of this. But facts are facts, if a psychiatric professional has a very strong feeling that you meet the criteria for bipolar disorder, chances are you might as well join our club. There is specific criteria we must meet, as written in the DSM-IV (like a psychiatrist’s Bible), it is not some dude behind a desk just passing on labels willy nilly. See something, say something – that is how these professional people work.
Speaking of professionals, they are probably the next group of people we will try to avoid. We do not want to talk about an illness we do not have and if we have finally come to accept it, we still do not want to talk about it. Sometimes just choosing a professional is like jumping through hoops, and damn it, we haven’t the time for such petty things. Someone may offer to help and, in an effort to dig our hole deeper, we say ‘no.’ But I will tell you something, a therapist or counselor or licensed clinical social worker, they help. They help us to express ourselves to someone who is actually listening and has dealt with people who experience what we are dealing with now.
Another professional we might linger on making an appointment with is a psychiatrist. Psychiatrist are for crazy people, at least that is all we know about them. We know that lots of people see therapists, but it is the sick that need psychiatrists and their DSM-IV. If you see him or her there will be a lot of paperwork to fill out. He or she will ask you a lot of questions while they do we will mentally pick them apart (he’s too old for this, where the hell did she get those shoes, and that hair – yikes.) They may then prescribe one or more medications. It will be with disdain that we take the prescription slips.
It will take us a long while to get our meds and when the pharmacist asks if we have any questions, we will shake our head ‘no’ meanwhile jostling all those questions around inside. Once we get our meds we may put them in the medicine cabinet above the sink where they will sit for who knows how long, probably until we have another episode of mania or depression and start to see a little hope in those bottles. Taking medicine as prescribed is sometimes hard. It can be hard to wait the four to six weeks to see if it is the medication is even working. Often times we take our medication on an as-needed basis. We should know by now it doesn’t work that way. If it takes a month or a month and a half to see improvement, how can you expect it to work in a couple of hours.
Some of us will simply say ‘no’ altogether to medication. That is okay too. I personally am a proponent for medication management because it has helped me in the past and helps thousands of others.
Listen, I wish all this was not so hard for us, that this is the cost for being beautiful. But we can get things under control after a while of trying. So, do not give up and do not say ‘no’ forever.