Category Archives: bipolar

To the people who take care of me when I’m crazy

There’s a post over on WWJTD written by one of JT’s friends which describes what it’s like to care for a mentally ill person. I always knew it was hard for the people who support us mentally ill, but this gives a much better picture. After reading the post, I started writing a comment about how my friends and family have helped me, but it became giant, and it was something I wanted on the record, if you will, here.

A few years I was so depressed that I physically couldn’t eat, I had made extensive suicide plans, and my ex-boyfriend realized what was going on and drove me to the ER where I got held for a few hours. He sat with me, even when I was talking to the therapist about why I wanted to kill myself – even when I told the therapist that part of it was because my ex and I had broken up. And my ex kept looking out for me until he graduated and moved away.

My parents made me come home that summer, but kept paying rent on my apartment so I wouldn’t have to move. One day my best friend and I had lunch plans, but I slept through my alarm, so I woke up to the sound of her ringing the doorbell. When I didn’t show up for lunch or answer my phone, she had thought that I had killed myself. I’ve never seen her that scared – and I’ve known her for half my life.  She was so relieved to see me, but also angry, and made me swear I would never do that again. That was the moment when I decided that, as long as I had people who loved me in the world, I would never kill myself.

When I was in a mixed mood, verbally abusing people for sport, and I wasn’t doing everything I could to get it treated, my best friend helped me realize how serious my bipolar was by telling me she loved me, but she couldn’t be around me when I was so vicious. It wasn’t abandonment, it was a reality bomb. If I was so vicious that my best friend, who was like a sister, who I had grown up with, was telling me that she needed space between us, it was serious. When I started treatment, I emailed her, and she was so excited to have me in her life again. She had missed me just as much as I had missed her. I’m incredibly grateful that she had the courage to stand up to me like that.

My roommate diagnosed me bipolar and told me to talk to my shrink about it, which I am convinced saved my life. She listened, stayed out of the way when necessary, found me a job, and covered me on my rent. Since she’s a supra-genius who has written about pharmacology for money, she figured out what meds I should take, which probably shaved a year off the process of getting me stable with the lowest side effect profile.

My parents supported me no matter how depressed or manic or vicious I was. They paid for my incredibly expensive outpatient treatment, took me to the ER, and would come get me at a moment’s notice if I got too agitated. They had me over for dinner every week, making sure I felt loved and that I wasn’t isolated in the time where I had pushed away almost all of my friends.

I can’t even begin to say how grateful I am for my friends and my family for taking care of me. Thank you. I love you guys so much..

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Aware vs. Informed: Autism, Epilespy, and Bipolar Edition

Awareness is a pretty trendy thing. A big deal is made of breast cancer awareness, autism awareness, gay rights awareness, human rights violations awareness, etc., especially in privileged groups. If you know about the problem, the logic goes, then it will go away.

Wrong.

The thing about awareness is you don’t have to deal with the messy facts. Instead, you get to paint a subjective picture, preferably one that gets people to give your organization money. Informing people, on the other hand, is more work, because you have to explain things, and you have to get people to look at things differently, and you have to get them to change how they think about basic things. It’s not enough to know that a problem exists. You have to know why it’s a problem, and why it would be better if the problem was gone. You have to know what it’s like to live with that problem, and you need to eliminate inaccurate stereotypes about the problem. That’s a hell of a lot more work than raising awareness, but informing people actually works. It’s hard, but it gets shit done.

So let’s get some shit done. I’m going to be using some terms you may not be familiar with. I’ve defined the terms I think need the most explanation on the Definitions of Common Terms page, but if there’s a term in here you don’t know, ask me in the comments and I’ll explain it. Read the rest of this entry