I keep writing about people being called mentally ill for bad behavior. Now I am going to revisit a topic that was much more of an issue when I was diagnosed. There is a tendency for illnesses to go through spurts of popularity. I think that sometimes it is because many illnesses, especially mental illnesses are a bit like horoscopes; you can see yourself in it easily because we all have some characteristics. It's kind of like my OCD. I sort of meet the diagnostic criteria. But for the most part I do not have OCD, I have characteristics and so that is considered with treatment but I don't have a diagnosis. Sometimes the popularity is simply because it is something the doctors feel is treatable. When I was diagnosed new treatments for bipolar were popping out everywhere and so were people diagnosed with it. I used to get so frustrated by people who were insistent that they had bipolar yet if you got them to be more specific they didn't have anything that went along with the diagnosis. They might have cylcothymia (mood swings), but they were telling me they had mixed episodes, which is the hardest part of my illness and a characteristic that is not particularly common. Mixed episodes mean that you are experiencing mania and depression simultaneously. Those who read often have seen my mood change 5 times in a post and they are usually when clarity is poor. Mixed periods are when I have the greatest difficulty writing and talking and I have a history of rage during these times although that's under control. Mixed episodes on are the equivilant with psychosis/are a form of psychosis/include psychosis. They are why I am bipolar I instead of bipolar II. To give you an idea Dr. Brain has told me before that mixed episodes are one of the hardest things people go through. They are not part of most cases of bipolar, especially not the cases where people are living a normal life off medication, just feel moody and notice some energy fluctuations. (I think that mixed epsidoes have replaced what used to annoy me greatly which was everyone wanted to be the most rapid cycler on the planet. By definition rapid cycling means 4 episodes per year or more. I can cycle multiple times in one therapy session. Not trying to say I win, just saying that I have one level of bipolar and then there are other levels, but that my characteristics make my disease severe.
Bipolar is nearly always diagnosed in the early twenties if it is significant. The guru was shocked that it took me until age 26 but that was a series of misdiagnoses and not very good doctors; It was clear by I think age 24 and if I did not have PTSD and had been more honest it would have been caught at 21. That doesn't mean some people don't make it through for one reason or another, but if you have a significant case you are probably going to begin having difficulty functioning. True mixed episodes are extremely difficult to function through and in fact a continuing education class I took last year stated that people experiencing mixed episodes usually need to be hospitalized. I laughed because if I were hospitalized with every mixed episode I'd be living in the hospital.
I read today about someone a couple years younger than me who was diagnosed with mixed bipolar. She functions completely normally although she does seem to like to have some form of medical drama (for most of the 5 years I've occasionally read her blog). I can see the bipolar. I also can see mild bipolar, cyclothyrmia or maybe bipolar 2. But bipolar II does not contain mixed episodes although there is some discussion on that. BP II can be more severe than BPI in some cases, if the BPI is very infrequently an issue and the BPII is consistent. But just like when I was diagnosed and half the world was diagnosed with bipolar it is not good when these criteria are over used because it makes it harder for me to get care for my real, honest-to-goodness mixed episodes. If I go through my whole "BP I with mixed episodes and rapid cycling; PTSD; GAD" thing people (medical ones) should know what I mean. But because people have thrown around all these technical words that belong solely to those of us who have had our lives destroyed completely (because the point is that if you have mixed you have a major issue) by bipolar people take me less seriously. And if I'm saying my mood is changing then I mean it.
I'm not putting this person down or anyone else. I know that I have a severe case of this. Even Social Security thinks so. But that doesn't mean I'm thinking anyone else's experience is lesser. I just want experiences to be correctly identified and when numerous people are told they have symptoms that are beyond what they really have when the diagnostic criteria are used it messes things up. Having said that the criteria for this is about to dastically change in the next year.
This is probably something I shouldn't publish; I don't want anyone to misunderstand. I just hate that the things that define my disorder and explain why I can't work get tossed around by people with another form of the illness that allows them to function. I am however sad because I watched a video about the loss of dreams and it made me sob. Someday we may need to go back to that in therapy. I lost so much and was far too sick to talk about how that felt.
Don't know what tomorrow will bring. It's the "big day" with Dr. Mind so we'll see how I feel. Right now I actually feel tired and ok, although I've chewed my lips raw and my head is covered in itchy scabs because of picking/pulling out hair.
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