Next week I am inundated with appointments. Appointments to get help seeking work, with my OTA, with my psychiatrist, my GP… the stress and anxiety these looming events are causing is unbearable; sending me into a manic episode, which I’m sure will be clear in the erratic nature of this post. It’s ironic really, considering these appointments are all supposed to be in aid of my condition, all meant to help and yet I really just want to curl up in a corner and sleep. I wonder, sometimes, if the medical professionals even try to understand or empathise with the diverse and vast number of idiosyncrasies of this debilitating disease, surely if they fully understood they would not send us jumping through hoops for a small semblance of help? Can I really claim to know any more about my disease than they do?
Some days I feel as though I have it all figured out in my head, but of course my head is not a very reliable place and so the surety that I have finally found the meaning and reasoning behind all of this insanity soon slips away. Perhaps it is not even really possible to understand Bipolar disorder, not fully anyway.
Coping has become a burden that I would sooner toss to the wayside than carry for the rest of my life. I feel erratic, I can see the lack of logic and sense in my actions and yet I am powerless to stop them. I feel guilty for expressing my fear and pain; do they think I’m attention seeking? Am I being dramatic? Do they care? How do I know when I have spoken about this too much? I could talk about it forever and still not feel purged of the things that plague me.
Last week I had a massive delusion, one of my first – I found myself believing that I had murdered someone and gotten away with it. It sounds ridiculous and laughable now but it all seemed so real to me at the time, so plausible; The thought leapt upon me quite suddenly, from nowhere, I couldn’t see how I had done this or to whom and sometimes I wasn’t certain whether it had actually happened or if it was just a dream from a long time ago, the thought that I had done this terrible thing niggled at me for almost three days; a constant presence in my mind that I couldn’t shift. I didn’t talk to anyone about it at the time, I thought about telling my psychiatrist but I was afraid of what might happen and of what she might think. I told my friend about it a few days ago and ever-understanding as she is, she was not taken aback by it at all. I was terrified though, terrified of myself. Even now, I’m ashamed to admit to this delusion, fearful of what others will think, afraid that this is a sign that my illness is progressing… What should I have done in this situation? What should I do now? What will people think of me? Even though I am terribly ashamed of this part of my illness and terrified of the repercussions of discussing such a symptom in such an open forum; I refuse to lay down to the stigma of mental illness that would keep me from sharing this along with all of the other painfully honest accounts of my experience of Bipolar disorder and so though it is frightening to share I have resolved to do it anyway. Come what may.
Sometimes I wonder if my Bipolar disorder is getting worse, my symptoms and mood swings seem to become more and more obvious as the days roll by. But perhaps it is just that I am now more aware of what is significant to my illness and more comfortable with announcing that this is what I am afflicted with and so what were inward symptoms previously, now radiate outwardly. Personally, even though this may make those around me rather uncomfortable at times, I think it is healthier that my symptoms are more visible now, when the façade is brought into play it is time to worry at the severity of the latest mood swing. They say alcoholics are at their worst when they hide their drinking and likewise I believe Bipolar sufferers are at their worst when they feel they must hide their symptoms.
As if the stress of next week is not enough, tomorrow I will face a fear that I didn’t even know I had. Tomorrow I see my uncle for the first time in 14 years. He has Bipolar disorder too and I’m afraid that when I see him, what I will really see is my future… It is sure to be an experience, though I will hold judgment on whether it will be a good or a bad one…