I have no idea how to start this post. This post is the physical mark in time of a new chapter in my life, and as such I feel like there should be something dramatic and inspiring, but none is forthcoming.
The truth, in very plain and simple terms, is this: I have been diagnosed bipolar.
On Tuesday afternoon, after ruling out a myriad of physical problems and declaring me otherwise healthy, my very forward doctor looked me straight in the face and said, "Honey, you are bipolar, and the sooner you can accept that and start taking steps to control it, the better." Very matter of fact for something so life altering.
By Wednesday I had mostly stopped crying and feeling sorry for myself, and had meekly picked up my new prescription to begin on Thursday. By Wednesday night, the rage I'm becoming familiar with had returned as I researched this disorder and the medication that goes with it. I found myself wandering into a bipolar forum, weaving my way through threads on medications and feelings. I stopped at one titled, "Do you ever miss...?" The basic theme was that the medications, while taking away the feelings of depression and anxiety, also took away a sense of self and left the takers wondering, "How much is me, and how much is the pill?". I was, to say the least, horrified, and I began to think.
With the exception of the last month or two, the turn of my moods that I can now recognize as the various cycles of this disorder has never affected my life to an extent that I couldn't cope. I had hard days, days I didn't feel like getting out of bed, days that I raged at anything that would hold still long enough, and days that I was flying high, but for the most part, I was okay. I was...me. So if I take a medication to even all of that out, even the extreme parts, would I still be "me", or just a shadow of my former self. In order to be "normal" by the world's standards, do I have to cancel myself out of the equation, or is it possible to find a balance between the two? Then, in the midst of this misgiving, I saw the sentence that made up my mind. "Not for use in breastfeeding women." Quite simply, there's not a way in the world I could be convinced to give up breastfeeding my last child earlier than I want to so that I can be compatable for this drug.
I decided to hold off Thursday morning until I could talk to the doctor, and while she still believed I should start the meds ASAP, she said she could support my decision and we would talk about it in three weeks at my next appointment. Until then, I plan to research natural ways of coping and keeping the body healthy and in rythem, and also find ways that I can help myself when those panicky or depressed feelings come on. I'm not saying I will never take medication, but for now, it's just not the right choice for me. I can either meekly and blindly follow along, or I can grab hold of this and try to help myself. If that fails, and I do need a medication to even this out, at least I can say I tried other options first. Hopefully, whichever path turns out to be the one I take, the "me" will come out of the other side, a little smoothed, a little rewritten, but still true.