Sunday, May 25, 2003

I was reading the blog connected to mine about bipolarism. It really struck me how she describes almost my exact situation.
All of you know someone who is bipolar. You just may not know it yet. My diagnoses eluded me for more than two decades. I knew there was something wrong with me; getting the medical profession to agreee was another issuse entirely; one faced by anyone I've known with this illness.

I read one time that the " average " bipolar diagnosis takes 11 years. Eleven years of someones life who affects so many others is intolerable.The cost is too tremendous.
The attempted suicides and sadly those who succeed, the lost work time due to cyclying that the victim nor his employers or family realize the cause, the prescriptions wrongly medicating the incorrect illnesses, the alcoholism, the spending sprees, the drug abuse, the jail time, the reckless abandon of mania to the depths of the darkest hole of depression, the irresponsible behavior, the sexual affairs and any other consequences of the behavior of someone with this illness goes on too long. Once diagnosed there is still the battle of finding the correct combinations of drugs and correct dosages.
For me it has taken since 1999 to come up with some semblance of a workable solution to the medication issue. Of course, my trade off is that I stay groggy most of the time.
If I have an appointment I try to schedule it as early as possible in the day because I can't take my medication and drive.
A serious issue for bipolars is that once we start " to feel good again " we can go off our medication. That's why I try to strictly adhere to my dosing schedule.
And then there is the issue of the half life of the medications. And of course the funding is a real issue.
I remember a year ago in Texas being told by my county's MHMR facility that I more than qualified for their criteria but there were 300 people ahead of me. She told me she could say beyond a shadow of doubt that I would not be seen 2002 and maybe not in 2003.
However, if I had a " crisis" ( suicide attempt ) they did have an 8 bed unit that I might be able to get into.
Isn't that pitifully sad? If I were to attempt to take my own life I -might- get some help.
I was referred to an agency that paid for 2 prescriptions every 6 months at no more than $200.00 each. I was prescribed 4 medications and they were all over $300.00.
So, I could have tried to utilize that help and pay the difference except I was working 15 hours a week @$6.00 hour. You do the math and don't forget to include rent, gas, groceries, etc.
That was the best I could do as far as working was concerned.

Until the politicians understand that mental health is equally important as general health people like me will stay in this quandry.
Most of us would choose to be productive members of society and our histories show us to at least at one time having been so. We usually are very creative people.
Some people never go public even within their own families because of the stigmatism associated with mental illness.
I, personally, have suffered under the guise of misunderstanding of my illness from some of my own children. I know I am not alone.
I regret that my children grew up with a mother who manifested all the classic symptoms and went undiagnosed until they were grown.
How different their childhoods would have been. The memories they have could have been so different. I didn't want to be who I was; I just didn't know how to be diffeent.
I still have days I hate being someone w/ a mental illness but then I figure why not me?
Why me is a hopeless question. Why not me offes the probability that I may be able to do something about it.
I can become informed; go to therapy; take my medication; inform others.
Someone else may not choose those options. At one time in my life when all I could see or feel was hoplessness I tried to end it all; more than even a few times.
It isn't the answer.
So, this is one reason my blog is named as it is. It is a reflection of the different facets of who I am.
Just to be sure, I am a real person who has the experiences you read on these pages. And there are so many more. I can't be classified as just one type of person.
Once I figured that out I was able to be comfortable within my own skin. I thank God for who I am.

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