April 14, 2011

All the cool kids are doing it

Catherine Zeta-Jones seeks treatment for Bipolar II

I'm always gratified (if that's the right word) when someone noteworthy "comes out" about having bipolar II. The word "bipolar" alone conjures up images of wild-eyed people talking to themselves on the street while chewing on their clothes and probably wearing their undies on the outside of their pants. It's just not fair or anywhere close to accurate. All kinds of people, from movie stars to poets, live with it every day. In fact, they tell you in the psych ward that pretty much every famous, highly creative person is in the same boat with you. Or at least in the same flotilla.

They probably have a nicer boat.

I've joked that living with it is sort of like the diet version of full bipolar disorder-- all the depression, half the mania. The downs suck. Anyone who's struggled with depression can attest to that, and quite honestly, who hasn't gone there at some point in their lives? The hypomania (the diet version, get it?) sounds like it'd be ok-- lots of energy, motivation, flights of inspiration. But it's also shakes and compulsions and sleep deprivation. My especially awesome symptom was pressured speech. I'd talk and talk and TALK and be so sure I was being SO HELPFUL and after that... I had more to say! Yay! Buy some ear plugs!

I've been on medication for three years now and it's basically kept me straight. Or, you know, sort of straight-ish for someone like me who's kinda wonky anyway. But in a good way, right? I've toyed back and forth with the idea of going off the meds, but of course every therapist and doctor I've seen says if it ain't broke don't fix it.

I still sometimes have trouble accepting that bipolar II disorder is a part of my life now, especially because for the most part it is now off my radar. That's why I wonder occasionally about the medication-- would I still be fine without it? Do I really need it? But the truth is, it is just not something that goes away. It is, however, something that can be controlled and treated and I'm living (yay!) proof of that. It doesn't get in my way anymore. I'm still me.

And Catherine Zeta-Jones, every deliciously gorgeous inch of her, is still her regardless of black clouds and chain-smoking. She's just honest. I like that.


Anonymous said...

Hello Meg,

i have just come across your blog via Facebook. Very glad. I too have BP, most likely version I :). Most of the times it's rapidly changing, so who the heck knows and I don't really care. I have it, suffer from it and struggle almost every day. I would love to stop medication but so afraid. I figure, if I feel this crappy while on it, how would it be if I stopped it? :) Anyways, I will be your reader since I love your writing style and you're the only one at the moment who understands what I'm going through. Sad, indeed. :)

Meg said...

Thanks, Andrea. I was diagnosed after my second daughter was born, part of a bad bout of PPD. PPMD, they call it-- mood disorder. 2007 and the 2008 were scary and bad for sure. And all the medication trials and testing and maybe this might work and oh, gee, stop taking that... it's awful. I hope very much you can find a medication and a lifestyle that helps you get through it. And if i can help, you know, just let me know! Happy to talk. *hug*

Anonymous said...

<3 Meg, thanks for your great words.

Lea said...

Beautifully said, as always! :)