I saw my psychiatrist yesterday. It was my 3 week checkup on the new Geodon dose. She asked how the Celexa was doing, but I said I didn’t think I could adequately answer that question since it’s only been a week since I titrated off the Paxil and onto it. So another followup in 2 weeks to check on the Celexa. I think this “medication soup”, as I called it, is bringing my moods into line. But I wonder… how much control do I really want? Will I never get excited about things? Will I never experience sadness again? Yes, I want to feel better but I don’t want to lose myself in the process.
So we talked about a lot of things, and my time even went over by 10 minutes. I love talking to her. I feel completely respected, almost as if we are equals, but at the same time master and student. We talked about panic disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). She read snippets from the DSMV-IV. We agreed that since my anxiety problems are not something that happens more often than half a week, and usually stem from specific events or situations, I do not suffer from GAD. (I do have OCD.) We talked about medications and we talked about bipolar.
Then I asked her the question: do you think I am bipolar type I or type II or NOS? I was originally diagnosed NOS, but I’m not sure that has much meaning to it. She took a moment to collect her thoughts and then she said, I think your symptoms resemble bipolar type I more so than type II… but it’s really a spectrum… She pulled out a copy of Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology where he describes the bipolar spectrum and read some of the classifications to me. But at that point, my brain had stopped listening. I had the answer to a question that’s plagued me for a long time, but I’m not sure I really wanted it answered.
My first reaction to the call was to make light of it and say, “Well, if you’re going to do it, you may as well go all the way!” This is not meant as a slight to any BP IIs out there, it’s more of a statement as to my coping mechanisms. I affectionately refer to my time in outpatient therapy as Daycare for Psychos. I have my chill pill (Klonopin), my crazy pill (Lamictal), and now I need good names for Geodon and my antidepressant. I once introduced myself to a pair of interns at the neurologist’s office with, “Hi! I’m crazy.” (The neurologist politely corrected me saying that I wasn’t crazy but rather bipolar.) Labeling myself, my medications, my experiences with these terms somehow lessens the emotional blow.
Yes, this is the same woman who won’t tell her best friends that she is bipolar.
Because I don’t trust them or because I don’t trust myself? I don’t know. Silence is a burden, but it is better than ridicule or pity. I don’t want to be known as the bipolar friend. One of my friends already has a bipolar friend and I hear about her every so often. All the crazy things this woman thinks and does. When we bought our house, our realator wouldn’t shut up about her crazy ex-daughter-in-law who was bipolar. I think I wrap myself with twisted humor as a shield against the true face of stigma.
While my brain and my soul are still wrapping themselves around the idea of being bipolar I or perhaps bipolar 1.5 might be a better description, I still have to contend with my impending surgery. I will try to post a little something tomorrow as it is my last day of two-handedness for a while, but if I can’t eek out the time, I guess I’ll report in when I can get the iPad to cooperate with WordPress. (It ate half of my original post.) Good thoughts requested for Thursday AM! 🙂