Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lookie here, smells bipolar

About one and a half years ago i was diagnosed with something called bipolar disorder. I took it for granted to say the least. Look at it from my point of view; I’d been living my life comfortably without any more worries than the normal 20sth year old. I mean when you have a healthy campus experience, a well-paying job and crazy friends, what is there to worry about?
Anyway the real reason i went to see a shrink was to just verify i didn’t have MPD or some shit like that. My two worst fears are going crazy or losing my memory...though if i lost my memory, how would i know I’m scared of it in the first place? It kind of took him a long time to figure out what was up because we didn’t know what we were looking for in the first place, and i figured he was a quack.
He had several questions, you know the things the shrinks usually ask, did you have a happy childhood, how was your life as a teen, your interaction with friends and members of the opposite sex, whether i was in a relationship, how long they lasted; very intrusive questions, but I’m an open book.
He brought out hidden demons, things that I’d suppressed like the episodes of extreme mental and physical bullying i underwent as a teen newly joined a seminary, the accusations of being a homosexual, which were so bad my best friend had to change schools. The bullying wasn't so bad since in my head everyone went through it. The homosexual references were; i almost got confused about my sexuality! But it took a classmate cornering me one night during a blackout to make me realize, I’m not attracted to guys not at all! Till now no guy can put a friendly arm around my shoulder without creeping me out completely! But that is how i came to tolerate gays because i have a good idea what discrimination they go through.
In terms of ideal conditions for bipolar disorder, my life is the primordial soup.
Anyway relationships have not been easy for me. I remember of accusations of being two sided and at extreme levels a pretender. This one close friend, with whom we'd been off and over the years, once sat me down and told me her fears about me. She told me that sometimes i behave like two different people; I can be this great guy most of the time, and at other times I'm broody and angry and she can't guess what I’ll do next. I guess that shocked me.
But there is one relationship that has stood the test of time, the one with my best friend; lets for the sake of this blog entry refer to her as Miz Lox. Miz Lox is the only person in my life who has faced the worst of what the bipolar in me can bring, and actually stayed. If i recall the nasty things I’ve said or accused her of during my many rapid cycling periods of anger, rage and depression, i have to admit, if i was her i wouldn't have stuck around. You have to realize there are times i told her i never want to see her again, or how i thought she was using me. I hate even to think of the emotional toil she goes through because sometimes she can’t even tell where that came from. Yet despite that she manages the energy to tell me to "go fuck yourself", then calls or comes to check up on me.
As a result i love her to death for that and i bet she knows that i appreciate her with all the goodness that i can muster from my heart, because truth be told, there is no way i can ever repay her.
The other meaningful relationship in my life didn't go that well. I guess i have never understood how i always seem to screw it up time and time again. Each of those times corresponding to a bipolar episode and not of the manic kind, the rage type. I want to explain that it’s really hard for me to notice when I’m going through any of these episodes. It’s easy to identify when it’s a mood of depression, but the rest are hard to realize.
The last time it corresponded to the episode brought on by being mugged at knife point, the mixture of fear and emasculation. Anyway I don’t even know how to get her to realize, without coming off as rude, that it’s not about her, she just happened to be the nearest person when i was lashing out. I tend to brood and magnify something that is not there, to horrific proportions and there is a chance I might say something i don't mean. I can come out looking like am judgmental or critical of something about somebody and say something i wouldn't normally do when I’m sober, drunk or stoned. But i try not to think about her in that context because I’ll end up beating myself up over it which will get me depressed leading to regression. So i just focus on the good things about her and hope she'll come around and understand with time.
Family has not been spared either. I especially pity my mum. Just because i was diagnosed with bipolar recently doesn’t mean i didn’t have the episodes before. I mentioned earlier about the bullying and extreme pressure. At the same time my relationship with my dad had deteriorated... Anyway unlike now when all i get is a broody episode or say something nasty I don’t mean, back then i used to have suicidal tendencies. My mom couldn’t understand the wild episodes and it took a toll on her since she thought i got possessed or something. The things i accused her of! Damn! Mothers go through so much for the sake of their kids and in the hands of their kids. Where do they get that type of strength from?
In primary school i once swallowed a whole packet of what i thought was valium in an attempt to kill myself. As it turned out the valium were the ones next to what i took. It was in seminary that i finally stopped with the attempts, mostly because Catholics believe suicide is a one way ticket to hell. So all through the bullying i had to contend myself with just the thought of death. But hey, since the actual episodes happened only once or twice a year, it was cool, i survived.
I have found a balance of kinds of dealing with it, but it’s not like i have much of a choice, since i'll probably have this condition for the rest of my life; plus i want to keep from having to use the happy pills for as long as possible. So i make sure that whenever I’m in low spirits or a bad mood i avoid everyone, calls, texts, IMs or inboxes.
In addition i have to state that bipolar is in no way an excuse for anything i may do and i am responsible and accountable for all my actions, good or bad.
Anyway, for the most part i'm normal me and i love life with all the zeal of an adrenalin junkie, so as long as i keep my stress levels to a minimal i am AWESOME!

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