My name is Doreen. My psychiatrist says I have bipolar disorder. Some people say I don't have bipolar disorder. Sometimes I believe them.
I have had one full psychotic break, one manic episode with milder psychotic symptoms, and one short-lived manic episode. I've had many serious bouts of depression, and even hypomanic symptoms. Some people still say that I don't have bipolar disorder. Here's why:
1. The psychotic break and the mania with mild psychosis both occurred three months postpartum. It must have been the hormones. I don't have bipolar disorder. Why #1 is not proof: Do we say that someone doesn't have heart disease because they went on a roller coaster? It must have been the roller coaster. They don't have heart disease.
2. Prior to my first psychotic break I was cyclothymic (alternating periods of milder highs and lows) starting with my tweens. Everyone has good and bad days. I don't have bipolar disorder. Why #2 is not proof: Though healthy people get periodically "down" they do not have regular alternating mood states that change their personality.
3. Every time I try to go off of medication I have an increase in irritability and moodiness. Those are just withdrawal effects. I don't have bipolar disorder. Why #3 is not proof: Before medication, I was often irritable and moody - that's part of cyclothymia.
4. I can be quite dependable with the right support. I'm a nice person. I don't have bipolar disorder. Why #4 is not proof: People with bipolar disorder can have a life outside of the disorder, especially if properly treated.
5. I'm indecisive and have a hard time finishing what I start. I change my mind so much that it makes me dizzy. That's because I'm a mom with kids. I don't have bipolar disorder. Why #5 is not proof: Becoming a parent does increase your workload, but it doesn't cause indecisiveness.
Some days it's really hard to accept my illness. I just want it to go away. I don’t want bipolar disorder.
Today there is one thing I know for sure: I'm not quitting my meds and I'm not quitting my commitment to live healthy.
My name is Doreen and I have bipolar disorder.