Friday, July 29, 2005

Totally Bi...

Bipolar, that is. I went to my Bipolar Overview class yesterday afternoon, and it was very educational. I felt a bit of a dweeb, as most of the people there were in continuing treatment and already knew a lot about the topic. I was also, from what I could gather, the only Type II there, the manic symptoms that everyone discussed were way beyond the symptoms I have. One of the guys admitted that he'd come to believe that he was Jesus Christ when he was manic.

But I learned a lot of things I needed to know, about "mixed states" and the subtleties of such symptoms as grandiosity and lethargy, how a sympton in one end of the spectrum might make you think you're at the other end of the spectrum (like thinking you're manic, when really you're still depressed but suffering from anxiety), and how easy it is to go off your meds when you start feeling well after a while. It was very useful to have so many experienced wack-jobs sharing their knowledge.

We talked briefly about various medications, antidepressants and anticonvulsants and mood stabilizers and major tranquilizers and minor tranquilizers, with all these brand-names and generic names... wherein I felt entirely ignorant, and a little intimidated, trepidatious even.

There are so many options, so many choices, bipolar is trickier to medicate than depression or mania because a lot of antidepressants will trigger the mania and tranquilizers will trigger the depression, and mood-stabilizers frequently make you feel flat and dead; and the rule of thumb is that you don't get the right medication on the first try, there is frequently a period of experimentation in which you have to take meds that don't work or which have unpleasant side-effects.

Yay, I am so looking forward to that.

Nevertheless, the sensation of taking action is therapeutic in itself. I feel like I'm doing something, not just suffering. And even the worst of the treatment will therefore be better than the problem itself, because it is a step forward, a step toward relief. And anything is better than the despair I felt at the bottom of that last cycle... most unpleasant.


Well, I was going to write something about sexual identity, but I got sidetracked by a need for a nap, then I got sucked into the Hot Topics message boards at Just Us Boys, which is where I got the idea for what I was going to write in the first place. Anyway, it's eleven hours since I started this post, in fact I forgot I hadn't finished it, and so I'm going to close now and go to bed. I'll have to talk to you about sexual identity later.


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