On Stephen Fry and getting a diagnosis.

*I have a feeling this will be a long post. I won’t mind if you skip it :)*

Here we go again. I finally got my online booking thing, so that’s a relief. I can check the same appointments the reception can, and I don’t have to say yes or no or maybe. Here are the appointments: one in B., the town further away from us (no car, legs hurt, etc.), the other the 20th of August, with Dr. B., the same really nice man that my son saw. I can’t. I feel ashamed, and back in Cambridge the only woman I finally felt ok to speak to was a Muslim woman, although the one that did give me the Diazepam was a student doctor, one of them who come and go and I find them really really nice. The other GPs all did something, had something, that made it uncomfortable for me, something that made me just say “no, I’m actually fine really, yes, I’ll start going to the gym, bye , bye.”

In everyday life, women friends are the ones I used to have more trouble with: recently, that is changing bit by bit. So as I grow more aware of my troubles I realise that the fact that I used to feel more comfortable with men was NOT a good thing, so will avoid the man doctor for now.

I am my harshest judge. Am I looking for excuses? The fact that appointments are few and come up at random, that I have just moved to a new area when it took me all of 5 years to finally say “yes,” to a GP, “let us get me assessed.” and now I have to start again… are they excuses?

Maybe it’s also an excuse that yes, having stopped my anxiety prololololol or whatever it’s called, my heart is often beating faster than it should, I am far more easy to trigger and I have to remind myself to breathe. But when it’s calm, it feels freer, less heavy, and I don’t get dizzy as much, and my …

Point it: I’m not sure I want a diagnosis. I feel like it would just give people the excuse to respect me even less than they already do. People around me love me loads, they really do. But somehow, my voice has no authority. What if I come home with a bipolar diagnosis? Will they dismiss anything I feel as an expression of a mental disorder?

Also, I listen to Stephen Fry’s documentary and my thoughts race. Yes bloody hell yes been there, done that, felt that. My pregnancies. My own “walk with angels”. My own reluctance to let that other part of me go, the manic part. I had brilliant ideas too, I went to Spain not India, or drove to Rome with my friends, but like Carrie Fisher, I was so close to her. Jesus I thought that WAS ME. MY essence, my being. Instead, it was a disorder speaking. OK. Take that in. I am far better, though I’m still not well. Can I say I have conquered it? I am managing it? I am terrified of the meds, of the heaps of meds, shown in the film. I am terrified of being the woman that went out less and less till she stopped going out at all, I know I would be her without my family, my friends, my animals. And I am terrified of when Stephen says “he or she was sectioned in such and such a hospital for so long”. I am managing very well I think, with my B12s, so maybe they won’t feel the need to? The need to “section” me? Compared to my youth, the wildest ting I’ve done is storm out of a car last week. It was safe, near the pavement, anybody could have done it. I may have raised my voice a couple of times.

In the film I listened to the lady who decides not to have another baby. What happened to her for her first-born happened to me, I realise with slight horror, but I went ahead and had another, knowing no better. Thank goodness I did! They saved my life over and over, just by being amazing and being there PLUS they had each other to find comfort in when I lost it a little. I wish I could go to that lady and say nooo! have that other baby. But of course what works for you doesn’t work for me. I survived various times and you have too, did we use the same method? Were we lucky the same? You and I can relate to each other, maybe, and even we can’t give ourselves the right advice! So how does someone who just studied stuff we are still trying to understand know what is best for us?

I don’t know. I am tempted to say that as long as I am managing it, as long as I keep passing the open windows, as long as I never stop learning more about it, I know to avoid the manias as much as the dips, because one brings on the other if I let them go by themselves… I know to look at my past and say shit: that wasn’t me, that was a disorder speaking, only a bit at a time, not to let it all hit my awareness at once … I know to carry on avoiding work that will stress me out, avoid situations that make me stress, as long as I remember to breathe I won’t destroy anyone’s life. When I was prepared to leave my boys I did it because I knew I would eventually destroy their lives if I had stayed, but now they are grown and amazing, and so I know I didn’t. Good job that friend picked me up and took me away with her.
Of course, one of my children might exhibit symptoms at some point, will that be my fault? For not deciding not to have them? For being selfish? I didn’t know about bipolar but I did know I was a mess and had attempted suicide the year before (or was it a few weeks before?) when I deliberately decided to have my first: I was 25 when I made the decision, I felt I had already lived too much, partied too much, adventured too much… it was time to prove that even being like me, you could raise a happy beautiful child. And I did. The fact that I ended up having that first son with a severely bipolar man is the irony of it all… but we didn’t know, nobody knew at the time. Is that enough of a justification? If all is well now, my children are happy and so cool, is that ok? Can I not add that to my list of things to feel bad about? I choose not to.

I’m rambling some more. Truth is I’m not sure. I still have to watch Part II of Stephen Fry’s documentary, but right now I have a strong feeling that I do not want any treatment. I think I am aware enough that I will seek help if either the social anxiety, my big trigger, or the depression become unmanageable. But I may not even want the diagnosis, not from the small town GP surgery in a place I want to live in for quite a few years where everyone knows each other, thank you very much. I know it myself, so I am every day, with every thing I do, aware. I am mindfulness personified. I may reconsider once all the children have left the house, then it might be a different story. But right now, my gorgeous ones, they are my constant reminder to be level, for their sake. And what better setting than this one to be so. Now if only I could find a way to relate to my very non-bipolar good-hearted emotionally-very-clumsy-husband, my day would very much be made 🙂

As I walked back from my daughter’s school today, I didn’t even turn round to seek relief from Mr Wind Turbine. Amongst all the racing thoughts one came out too, one that said:

I am an agent of chaos, disorder speaks through me.

I am needed, I am a part of all this, I am human too. If indeed we all are human and deserve the same respect, why do we have to harp on so much about needing help to become more like the others? A lady I spoke to was on a crutch for diabetes, she was big. She said cortisone would help but she has to lower her sugar levels in order for them to give it to her. I suddenly felt for her: it’s not easy, is it, if you’re ill, to just lower your sugar levels, just like that? I am almost certainly to some degree at least bipolar, I am lucky, or clever, and managed to warp my life to a place where I may be able to not go out to work, to live among positive people in a beautiful place. How many others managed to do the same? Perhaps it’s just a life, a society, that does not give the right sort of space and facilities to people who don’t have the needs society decides are ok to cater for. Would the human race be better off if they had nobody troubled by any mental or physical disorder or difficulty? I think (I hope) we all agree that no, it wouldn’t. So can we make adjustments for everyone plz? We can all be productive given the suitable environment to be so. So: I want to be productive and contribute, but on MY terms. I have the will and the history and the circumstances to sort of allow me to do that. We should work so that people are told ok so you are indeed bipolar: here are the job offers that would make it easier for you to work in a surrounding that makes you feel safe: this is where we suggest you move to if you can, and these are all the unnecessary people and chores in your life you’d be far better off removing from your day to day life… and so on. Not a rushed easy pill, or rather, yes to the handy pill, but let’s keep it up and fight to change the rest of the life around us too. Beginning from our friends and family: you shouldn’t need a diagnosis to understand that your friend has difficulty with this or that: don’t judge, just let it be, accommodate, change your routine a little for Christ’s sake.

As far as I’m concerned, I understand my nature is more of a circle than a line. Perhaps a spiral. Perhaps a squiggle. All of the above in different rotation. It is certainly non-linear. And yet, out of the wilderness of my childhood and into society since I was 12, all people ever wanted was linear: “MAKE UP YOUR MIND ALREADY WHAT DO YOU WANT???!” Fuck you, linear person. I want what I want now and I will want something entirely different in two minutes. DEAL WITH IT.

There are so many non-linear people in this world, all over. Why exactly are we the ones who are “wrong”? We achieve great things, and sometimes destroy them. We think amazing thoughts, and sometimes horrendous ones. Fair enough. We can still be useful, and it is my belief that given the right surroundings and circumstances, given the right love and caring from people who accept us as we are (or aren’t), we can all be less severe, and therefore not be on constant self-destruct watch. So yeah, a linear GP is not what’s going to help me. Not now. Maybe if my circumstances deteriorate, then maybe. How a hospital “sectioning” is supposed to help anybody is beyond me.
But anyway, rant over, onwards to cup of coffee and Stephen Fry Part II.

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