I’m staring at a blank screen and thinking, I’m supposed to be sharing how I feel. And then I realize, I don’t have any idea how I feel. I don’t know anything about myself. I suddenly have no idea who I am, which parts of me are real, or what will remain of me. It’s sort of an astonishing feeling. I have known myself better than anything these last years, I have become excruciatingly self-aware. It’s become my art.

I have been sick.

I think to myself, I have always had these moments, a few oddities here and there. I’ve always been idiosyncratic, it’s part of my charm. So I can be a little moody, a little difficult; life can feel just so hard at times. Grin and bear it, everyone’s having a rough time of it.

I have no idea what to believe anymore. I keep trying to wrap my head around a concept of ‘normal’ that I no longer understand. If this is not really me than who am I? Who am I about to become? Will I like her more or less than I like me now? Will I feel normal? Who’s idea of normal?

I made myself an appointment with a therapist a few weeks ago. I was so tired all of the time and no one could figure out what was wrong with me. I felt guilty about being so tired all of the time, and it was making me sad. I thought talking with someone would help me soothe all those silly fears that I was going crazy.

I started to feel better just a few days before my appointment on Friday. My optimism seemed to be returning, and most of my energy. A little tired in the late afternoon but coffee helped. I was relieved,  time always does the trick, and a bit chagrined, I shouldn’t have made that silly appointment with the therapist.

I decided to keep the appointment anyway. Things had seemed pretty intense during the last couple of months and I’d been pretty scared a couple of times. I’d started to wonder if I had ADHD or some sort of developing OCD. I’ve been so all over the place lately that I’d started to actually worry if that diagnosis 6 or 7 years ago was more accurate than I’d given it credit for. So, I went.

Diagnosis: bipolar. Again. Shit.

And so here I sit, questioning everything. Everything. How many of my past mistakes can be traced back to this diagnosis? How many of my strange fears and anxieties could suddenly make more sense if this is true? How many of those long days of heaviness and nights of insomnia might I be spared in the future?

But what if she’s wrong? What if they both were? I don’t want to claim something that’s not true, to believe something is sick if it’s not. I think, I won’t keep any of the appointments I set up and I’ll pretend, again, that this didn’t happen and work a little harder to keep it all together. I don’t want to try only to lose hope.

My therapist said that medication will help me to not be sick, to help me feel more normal. I guess that means I’ll recognize whatever it is as normal when I get there. I just wonder which one of my ideas of normal it will be.

Do I really want to take medicine? Is that really necessary?

I argue myself back into disbelief and insist I’m going to stay there. There’s just too much unknown, too much risk to even begin to think about mental health. Things have been fine, things are going to be fine, everything is just fine.

But I can’t help but wonder, to be just the smallest bit curious…what if? What if it is possible that I could do more than just ‘get by’? What if I stopped dreading how many years are ahead of me and began to embrace the life of my future? What if the medication did help instead of hurt? What if the side effects are bearable, or even temporary, and turn out to be worth it?

What if I accept that I don’t want to live like this anymore?

There’s always hope.

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13 thoughts on “Diagnosis

  1. I was diagnosed with PCOS when my son was born. Now that in itself is enough to deal with, but then I learned that depression was one of the symptoms. I fought it – for YEARS I fought it – I’m still fighting it. My doctor put me on Wellbutrin – a very gentle medication for sure but one that seemed to work. And I felt GREAT. I couldn’t believe how good I felt. So I decided that maybe I was wrong in needing the meds – maybe I just needed to give things time. I got off the meds and, within a year or so, was back to the point of having suicidal thoughts. So bad on the meds – I’ve gone through this a few times, and I likely will a few more times. But my husband pointed out something to me: there is no shame in taking medication. If I were diagnosed with diabetes, I would take insulin without feeling shame, and without questioning anything. Best Wishes sweetie – life on the other side of any sort of mental illness is so, so worth it.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, Randi. I’ve had a few people say to me “If a doctor told you that you had cancer, would you just ‘wait and see’?” Makes good sense, I suppose. I’ve made the follow up appointments. Between then and now, we’ll see if I make it to them.

  2. I am searching for the perfect response to this post and I can’t seem to find it, one that let’s you know I’m reading, I’m praying, and I respect the difficulty of making this decision… I guess these insufficient words will have to do… My prayer for you is life to the fullest in Him… however that ends up looking in the long run. *hugs*

  3. Seana, you know that I put little faith in western medicine; there is a pill for everything. I believe many things can be controlled by diet, exercise and spirituality. Is that what I want to say? I think practiced yoga and meditation can help, though I have never really done either.

    I am not “normal” or what is considered normal. I didn’t play sports, not a gear head or hunter, I don’t wear flannel for camouflage, never liked Nascar. I often wonder if I am man enough for a woman? I guess what I am saying is that it is normal to question whether we conform to the norm. I rarely show my moods to anyone and sometimes wear a plastic smile when I am out. For the most part I have been able to work through things on my own. Self doubt and self consciousness are always present.

    Look around at all the different people in this world. I work really hard at practicing not to judge, to be more accepting of things I do not understand. I wonder what people did before there were therapists or drugs? What would you do if you knew you were different, but had nothing to fall back on? Would you be able to turn your difference to an advantage? Do you think Einstein was “normal”? I doubt it!

    Thanks for sharing your mind. I don’t know if I understand and briefly thought about deleting this, then decided to post it anyways. I don’t know if it helps or not?


    1. John, I’m glad you didn’t delete. I like to hear your thoughts and you’re always so kindly worded. Many of the questions you’re posing to me here are the very same that are going through my head – what if I never went to the doctor, what if I didn’t know, I’d have to stay alive and keep going anyway, right?

      But then I think… I’m just so tired. I’m tired of trying a little harder and feeling a little different. I’m tired of being tired and I’m tired of being afraid and sad and anxious. And maybe I don’t have to be that tired anymore?

      Even that wouldn’t be enough to convince me, probably. But there’s more, there’s things I haven’t written about yet… because they just sound so crazy. Delusional ideas and beliefs that are getting worse instead of better… And there’s the fact that science says (and oh I’ve been researching to find science that says something else) that bipolar gets worse and worse and worse over time and without medication, it does irreversible damage to your brain until eventually you break with reality completely.

      And then I think, maybe my own bias against western medicine, while very true and well placed, doesn’t quite apply here. And maybe people hundreds of years ago were bipolar and unmedicated and so I could do too… but maybe those are also the people that ended up in institutions when really they just had a disease.

      There’s a lot of maybes. I’m sure I’ll keep exploring them.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  4. Articulate, eloquent, and beautifully written as always, my love….but you do raise a very good point, and one that is slightly disturbing. What exactly is “normal”? And “normal” for whom? And by whose standards?

    Who gets to decide what is “normal” for anyone of us? And how do “they” know, or for that matter, how do WE know when we’e arrived at that destination? And when and if we arrive at our lofty destination of “normal”….will we be happier there? Will it feel and look right to us and for us?
    You describe yourself as idiosyncratic…and so you are, but so AM I, and I have always considered your siblings to be so as well, slightly more than society at large…but I’ve always kind of embraced it. Kind of figured it was one of the things that gave us a that little bit of extra “sparkle & shine” in what can sometimes be a very lack luster world.

    And as I re-read what I just wrote….there YOU are! Standing in the middle of any crowd, large or small, easy to pick out….Yup…that’s her….that’s Seana over there, sparkling and shining and standing out in the crowd and commanding their attention at the same time!
    Its one of those things that those of us who love you, love so much about you! And even those not quite so enamored by your unique personality, are to some degree, envious….but they’d be hard pressed to ever admit it!

    Like your friend and commentator, John, I too, shun Western medicine whenever possible due to its appalling lack of knowledge and its intrusion on the amazing organism that is our human body. That said…the quest for you to feel good and whole is a quest that will carry you throughout your life, and will likely take different forms at different times. And I believe, that is as it should be. So as you continue down YOUR path….seek out quiet moments and listen to you and your own heart. And preserve and protect that “sparkle and shine” as though your very life depended on it….I have a feeling, to some degree, it does. There is no shame….no condemnation on your current path, only prayerful observation…and encouragement for you to be and feel your best by YOUR standards and by yours alone! The world would be a much, much duller place without your special brand of luster!!!
    Holding your hand, and walking along beside from a distance, praying always…and happy to be on this journey with you wherever it leads….


  5. I was impressed with the way you worded your experience, thoughts, and impressions. Coming from a writer’s perspective, I could see and feel what you were experiencing, as if looking through your eyes. That’s a talent you have. Cultivate it.

    This journey of bipolar is a tricky one. It has it’s ups and downs and can change the rules at it’s own whim and then decide to let you know. However, it’s not a condemnation; it’s a condition. It doesn’t define who you are. You are you first and foremost. The condition is only secondary. From my experience, it may cause us to behave in certain ways and it does answer a lot of past unanswered questions. I have also found that I have had to live life a bit differently, however, I’m still me and you are still you – first and foremost.

    Thanks for letting me respond.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to come and read, and to share your thoughts. I’ve been spending a lot of time on the forum, trying to understand everything at once. I force myself to walk away from the pages and pages of thoughts and experiences there because it becomes quickly overwhelming.

      I am, however, returning to a belief in normalcy. 🙂

  6. Dear Seana,

    Im a young 20 year old female I’am so glad that I have found a blog such as this and I dont feel alone. Ever since I can remember when I first turned 20 or so in Jan 2011. I guess it was then that I started noticing Maniac depression symptoms. But it was till May or so when it really started kicking in. A year ago my therapist had diagnosed me with Post traumatic stress. Through out my teenage life I struggled with depression and anxiety.

    You see when people look at me I look like Im so well put together but deep down , I am just so broken apart ( as if i cant ever be fixed)

    On april 2009, my boyfriend(ex) shot himself in the dead. The whole situation really put my head on a mess and i guess from that point on my appetite for self-destruction was insatiable. It was at this point where I had started to drink a bottle and do all sorts of party favors just to numb myself or the pain. Something like a epiphany had hit me and i decided to make myself better so I went to rehab and was put into retro-active therapy. It helped for the most part.

    A year and half ,after that which is the present year now 2011, I always have thought suicide but the only reason why i dont is cause the burden would be to difficult upon my family.

    But I cant explain the way I feel.. I feel like Im fucking going crazy one second and then its like CLICK * and everthing can become better .. This afternoon i had made attempts to clean my room and I suddenly just lost all my energy and started to cry and nothing upsetting had happend to me,

    Im so damn tired all the time but then days suddenly I feel like Im going to conquer the world or go and tackle the next biggest challenge.

    Its Dec 21 , Wednesday .. And it just feels like the week is never ending.
    Im very tired today I missed school. Im currently enrolled in law school the work load is high and same with the expectations. Im becoming a parelegal but the idea of becoming a professional lawyer has enticed me more. But since Im always so tired and I have these contest suicidal thoughts i mean idont know if i should go on with the proffesion. I dont want to die but I dont want to be alive if it makes sense. Maybe I do want to be alive but I just havent found my place in life.— in hind sight. I hate feeling like this and just want to be happy. I want to be happy succesfull.

    I do believe Im crazy because my family, boyfriend and friends and random people tell me all the time. Im well known for my eccentricity and wildness

    But to be honest I am not sure what I am.
    weather Im narcissistic conceited or the root of being insecure . My anger has gotten the best of me at times and has let me to do some very extreme things.

    I got into a small petty arguement with my boyfriend and I kicked his window and it broke… SHATTERED everywhere. I felt so stupid I almost took a peice of glass and thought about cutting a gash on my wrist. I started to screaming and crying and throwing things.
    then I suddenly burst out in laughter like nothing mattered. He asked me” what are you. your sick and you need help”

    I tried to kill myself because I was just so upset I feel like everyone hates me and I have no friends.
    I coudn’t decide how i wanted to end my life.. I thought ok, guns to messy.. I dont want to hang myself I dont want to drown. ( See i even over-analyzed my own suicide. How pathetic)
    and BOOM! it hit me . to just take some pills so i took T3, 45-50 tylenol and drank it with vodka. I really thought i wasnt coming back.. I told my boyfriend Im going to be happy forevernow.

    Then, 15 minutes later. BANG BANG BANG

    Ambulance at my door.
    Damn he caught on.
    I was taken into ER. Where i was assessed by a psychiatric nurse she asked me questions and i asnwered truthfully. and then she said

    Sounds like you are Maniac depperesent. My heart stopped and I felt like kicking her in the face.
    She gave me ativan. a week after that I had a anxiety attack , It was so bad I was non-stop hyperventaling I didnt want to go to the hospital because they would put me in the mental ward. I rushed to the clinic and was given medication to fuckin relax.
    That doctor also said i was maniac deppressent.

    I understand that the large amount of drugs has alot to do with imbalancing chemicals and Im also well aware that mental disorders are only transfarable through the mothers side and 3 or4 people in family from mothers side have bipolar and deppression, So is it possible that it is hereditary? Will this feeling ever go away …. Does medication help?

    Im so sorry I was just rambling on but i dont have anyone to say this to .. I appreciate you taking the time to read

    Thank you


  7. Hi Bella… thanks for reading and for sharing your thoughts. I wish I had any of the answers you are looking for! Unfortunately, I don’t have any of the answers myself just yet. I’ve found a lot of help and support at MDjunction.com – they have bipolar forums with folks more experienced and knowledgeable than myself… have you been there yet?

    Please come back and keep reading, maybe we can find the answers together. I wish you the best on your journey!

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