Hi. I'm Margaret and I'm...
they think I'm bipolar.
They think I have bipolar disorder.
They refers to the doctors --- all five of them. Psychiatrist. Counselor. General Practitioner. Naturopath.
They also refers to friends who know me well, know bipolar disorder well, and can put the two together.
This is news to me. Utter, complete news. It wasn't news to some of my friends, but it was news to me. When the diagnosis came up, I was like, "Nooo... that's not a thing that is me..."
Basically, what they think happened, was that the trauma of the car crash really triggered and more extreme version of what was already happening. Looking back in my blog, I can see the patterns. They're pretty loud, blatant patterns, actually.
Bipolar, in a simple form (and there's a lot of forms of it) involves high high highs and then low low lows.
There's a mania stage. For me, this year, I was making a lot of bad choices that were so out of character for who I am, it was enough to make me run for help. These weren't just bad choices like staying up late - they were dangerous choices that made me want to curl up and ask what was wrong but, then, at the same point I felt like I was being rational and logical in my choices. They are the sort of choices that I don't think I could ever write on my blog.
I got super high (not stoned-high) and then I crashed oh, oh so low.
A few months of near-constant nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, exhaustion and headaches.Crying every day without exception. Suicidal thoughts. Couldn't do a lot of things I liked to or wanted to do.
They thought it might be something to do with a concussion or, who knows -- then they put the pieces together and were like, "Yo! This is... this is looking mood-swingy to us."
My depression can be a constant stream of anxiety where anything can set it off, the littlest of things, and it can carry on and add up.
The diagnosis was around May or June. They still have to check out if it lines up with meds but, well, it looks like a textbook case of bipolar.
I don't know what to make of it. It scares me, it does. I've been scared, lately, of the next high-to-low and then it hit. Right now, it's hit. I've been crying again, I've been dreaming of ending my life (don't worry - I won't, I promise I won't). I'm back to napping during the day. I'm back to the nausea. Hopefully it will be gone tomorrow, I tell myself it will, but what if it's not?
I'm overwhelmed with life and I can't keep up with it.
So that's about it.
More thoughts later.
But, well, now we know what was up this year.
So, friends, you want to help, you say? You guys say that, and I appreciate it.
1. Please don't take it personally when I don't respond to your letters, messages, texts, and calls.
2. But please, please do write - postcards are really nice. Write without wanting or expecting me to write back. On Facebook, once again, write -- but maybe even include something about understanding me not writing. I feel so anxious about not getting back to people but frequently don't have the energy to respond.
3. Please understand when I don't have the energy to hang out.
I can barely make it through some days. Hanging out beyond my routine can be over-exhausting. It's not you, it's just me and how it is.
4. If I do have the energy to hang out and am in a phase of depression, or in general, I really appreciate it if you check with me before emotionally unloading on me. Check with me before you share heavy things. I tend to take them in and I might feel it for the next day or two after our conversation and I can't afford that. I had one friend I tried to be there for, when I couldn't, and I ended up vomiting once we split. Trust me, I want to be there for you and talk to you about heavy things but, even more, I want to not bring myself down with stomach aches and nausea so I can't even function with day to day life.
5. Feel free to ease my anxiety by reassuring me it's ok and that you understand.
6. Gifts are surprisingly encouraging, just sayin'....
7. Ask me before you give me advice. Ask if I want advice. It might be hard for me to take advice from you if you don't live with bipolar disorder or aren't really, really familiar with it. This is more than just "changing my outlook" - it's chemistry.
8. If you've got tangible ways you want to be there for me, let me know. I'll tuck it away in my brain and someday, I might very gladly take you up on it. I really am grateful.
9. If you live with bipolar disorder - I would love to hear from you. Once again, I might not write back, but it's encouraging to hear from folks who understand.
10. If you think bipolar disorder isn't real, or other mental illnesses, and it's all in my head and I'm making something of nothing --- just stay away, please, and keep your mouth shut.
That's all, I think.
Photo of me is by Michael or Eric...