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The ups and downs of our planned new life to NZ, warts and all!

Bipolar IIMon 8 June 2009
That's right people, I am dedicating this entry, mostly to my new found diagnosis.  The weeks have been rather up and down (Muhahaha), as new medications kick in - or don't and I've been on the old denial train, the angry train, the resistant train and then the old reading and researching train.  Hmmm, lots of trains!  Anyway, did you know, Carrie Fisher, Jim Carrey and Winston Churchill all had bipolar II.  I'm lucky because bipolar I is the crazy one, manic highs, bad lows and usually hospitalisation.  In the old days, frontal labotomies were performed to bipolar I patients.  In fact it wasnt until the 50s that bipolar I was seperated from psyhzophrenia, excuse my spelling.  Unlike the latter, bipolar I responds to lithium and then in the 70s lithium was licensed and thus peace restored.  In my case though, bipolar II people often go undiagnosed because their hypomania basically involves having lots more energy, less need for sleep and other than rapid talking, not much more.  Most bipolar II people go on to have successful careers.  The only difference is that they do get vulnerable to lows.  Mostly these can last months, in my case, days or weeks because of the rapid cycling.  They do also of course, on occasion fall foul of addictive habits, such as gambling or alcohol addiction.  As I look back on the last few years, I can objectively see patterns of long periods of 'hypomania' I used to work as a Sales Exec and I was one of the most successful.  I worked long hours, I was a fast, smooth talker and could have sold snow to eskimoes, or should I say, inuates??  Perhaps the Canadians can correct me.  Anyway, other than the odd blip on the radar, I did fairly bloody well indeed.  And like some people with bipolar II the illness itself can pretty much correct itself and you can carry on pretty much without it.  Anything can bring this on, trauma, genetics, hereditary and would you believe it, anti depressants!  And so, although I initially resisted the diagnosis, some sense could be seen in the some of the symptoms.  Although unfortunately, I have found myself in some more lows of late, which was why I sort help in the first place.  As do most people with bipolar II, seek help during the lows.  I've read, 'An Unquiet Mind' By Dr Kay Jamison, the most highly recommended book, but I did find that a bit pretentious.  Most recently I've read a book by Dr Ronald Grieve - Bipolar II, a fascinating book all about his studies including some patient accounts.  Its reassuring, and extremely interesting.  I hope that my own entries would encourage someone who doubts themselves or family members to go out and seek help.  Have I told anyone?  Apart from anyone that reads this blog.  Steve knows, he's been his usual supportive self.  But I can't bring myself to let anyone else know.  I worry that they'll look at me with two heads - muhahahaha!  Certainly in the UK there is little known about any mental illnesses and of course, depression is really the 'in' thing these days.  Anyone you meet is either on anti depressants, has taken them, or knows someone that is.  And that's OK, but this illness would definitely see me packed off to Bedlam on my return the UK.  They're a bit better about these things over here - I think there's more mental people here!  At my insistance, my new medication is lamictal, the evidence is extremely good in treating bipolar II with rapid cycling.  I've dropped the random other pills, I don't like all this pill popping.  Panadol is my limit!  So I wouldn't say I've embraced the diagnosis, but knowledge is power and I certainly feel empowered by how much I've learnt about, again, something I'd recommend to anyone in the same boat.  Anyway, what else has been going on?  I've been taking it easy for the last few weeks, reading and learning.  The Nanny's wallet was stolen on the weekend.  So I stepped in, my usual pragmatic approach, calling police, the pub, telling her what to do.  My Mum took a fall, a nasty one, which according to my Dad saw her arm below the elbow snap out like a footballers at a 45 degree angle.  She's had to have surgery.  I'm not there, I'm helpless so I tried to be pragmatic, helping them plan how they'd cope living out in the country, unable to drive, services that might be available to them.  I got shut down pretty quickly.  My family are far to staunch to seek support or anything silly like that.  I only found out about my Mum because my sister told me on facebook.  Grrr!  Parents!  There's no way I'd tell them about this!  Can you imagine?  Oh, and as I was driving out of the driveway, my neigbour didn't notice me and drove straight into the side of me!  It was quite a pelt as well.  Fortunately, I was halfway along, so he only got towards the back of the car, the back passenger door.  I was lucky that none of the girls were in the car.  I was pretty angry, but being a neighbour, I just asked him how the hell he missed me!  He just said he was looking down as he pulled out.  Thank goodness for the car around me then, ah?!  Anyway, other than the usual littletoe dramas keeping me on my toes, what else can I say?!

Untitled CommentMon 8 June 2009
Perhaps you don't see the connection between you not telling your family about your illness and them not telling you about theirs? I don't quite understand why that makes them have issues but not you but then I don't know you or your family.

Very pleased you are now at peace with the diagnosis. Stay well.
Posted by moneypenny20

Indeed...Mon 8 June 2009
I do see the connection. I've been raised in a family where we don't talk about problems - either to each other or anyone else. Mostly because 'problems' don't exist. A mangled arm? Heh, who cares, Mum says, it was her own bloody fault anyway. Mental illness? Psychobabble, non existence, just a sign of weakness, laziness usually associated with lower socieconomic groups. Yup, there's a connection all right, I wouldn't tell them because I like to give support and receive support. Fortunately, I have broken the cycle, my husband and I continue to encourage and initiate open communication with the girls and each other. I'm saddened that my family don't speak openly about problems or are so judgemental about people that do. Its just traditional values though, and I've come to accept its part of their upbringing and so on. It won't be part of my girls' though. Thanks for your comments!
Posted by Littletoe

From mooselandSat 13 June 2009

Glad to hear you are getting some relief

Edited by Dave+Jules on Fri 12 June 2009 at 05:22
Posted by Dave+Jules

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