Managing my bipolar disorder is difficult and it doesn’t always take away the effects of this disorder. Everyday is different. I take a very low dose of seroquel at night (25mg). I don’t feel the excitement that I am used to and I truly miss being excitable because I enjoy life that way. BUT I’m not sure if it is because of the many life stressors that are going on. It is hard to tell if my body is in depression mode from one of two things (1) life stressors which triggered a depressive episode (2) Seroquel works by blocking the receptors in the brain that dopamine works on, which gives me a sort of “dull” feeling. Since dopamine is the pleasure neurotransmitter, seroquel takes away a portion of my feelings of pleasure, enjoyment.
It really irritates me that I have to take a medication which takes away my joy and feelings of happiness. The bad alternative to not taking this medication (i.e my joy) for me is that I cannot sleep, I become manic, irritable, and irrational, impulsive, severe racing thoughts which make me wanna scoop my brains out of my head. So either way It sucks. But I have to chose which one is the lesser of the two evils and sometimes I can make myself believe that my bipolar is a blessing, but right now it doesn’t feel that way.
This is definitely a difficult disorder to manage and it takes SO much to take care of it to even give myself a chance at living a happy life. I am currently taking medication, I go to therapy once per week, I work the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, and I actively take part in daily self care (which I have described in a previous blog). Self care seems simple but with bipolar disorder the simple stuff can become overwhelming and arduous. This stuff just “takes off the edge” of my bipolar disorder and I still have to struggle with the effects every day of my life. I wake up not knowing if its going to be a “down day” or an “up day” and the past year its rarely been somewhere in the middle. I want to take control of my symptoms of bipolar. I want to feel joy for more than just a few minutes at a time.
Earlier in the week I felt that I was discriminated against for employment based solely on the fact that I am diagnosed Bipolar. I just completed my coursework for my Masters degree in Clinical Psychology and was offered a very good job at an agency. I have been in this field for ten years and never have I been barred from employment because of my disorder until now.
Here is what happened: I went in to a clinic that was given to me by my employer for a drug test and physical screening. I gave blood and urine sample and filled out a document that asked about my medical history. I marked yes on only two of the questions which asked about chronic illness and medication. I wrote that I am diagnosed bipolar and that I take 25 mg of seroquel at night.
The doctor came into the exam room and immediately told me that he was not going to fill out the necessary paperwork for my employer based only on the fact that I am diagnosed bipolar. He said verbatim “You could be dangerous because you’re bipolar”.
The Americans with Disabilities Act states that people with disabilities cannot be barred from employment based on a diagnosis, especially if there is not a single bit of objective evidence or history of any wrongdoing or harm done by the individual.
He will not medically clear me for employment until he receives a fax from my psychiatrist stating that I am “emotionally stable” (his words, not mine). My psychiatrist has no problem filling out this document but this is not my issue. I feel discriminated against for no reason other than I was born with a disease which I have made into a positive attribute in my life.
I have seen coworkers and professionals overgeneralize personalities and character flaws of clients and patients with certain mental health disorders and it is terrible to see and it breaks my heart. I have personally had a supervisor of who told me I was the best in the field she had ever met. When talking to each other about why we came to be therapists ourselves she expressed to me that her mother has Bipolar disorder. I shared with her that I am Bipolar and It has brought me to the field. She then went on to explain that she is terrified of her mother and she never treated me the same.
Something I have learned from this incident and my experience in the field is to not tell any one linked to my employment about being Bipolar unless I want one of two things (1) Reasonable accommodation and/or (2) stereotyping
I have learned throughout the years that I must be very choosy about who knows about my bipolar and who does not. Sometimes when I tell people I regret it, and sometimes I feel empowered by not caring about their reaction. Its really how you look at it, and you get to decide who and what you tell people about you. Either way, just be proud of who you are and do not be ashamed of being bipolar.
My name Is Thomas and I have many hobbies and talents, and I am diagnosed Bipolar. Throughout the years of my life I have learned many skills and gone on many adventures such as going on a cross country camping trip on a motorcycle, living on a sail boat, competing in triathlon and a bodybuilding competition, building a Tiny Home, rebuilding a classic car and a motorcycle, getting my Bachelors degree and going to Graduate school just to name a few. I did most of these things because of my personality and character but also because I have a neurological component that gives me more energy than most people, these episodes are called mania. I will talk more about mania in other blog entries, as well as depression.
Being Bipolar has its up’s and down’s and the main struggle for me is to keep the benefits more impactful than the costs of being bipolar (depression, irritability, panic attacks, restlessness, racing thoughts, suicidal thoughts, delusions, hallucinations just to name a few). I started this blog so that people can feel that they are not alone and I felt like this is more personal than just joining a forum. Here I can share my experience for someone to read and move on with their day and come back to this site and read about the next thing that i am going through or they can comment and I will respond to them personally.
There is NEVER a dull moment in my life and I ALWAYS try to find purpose in what life throws at me or what I throw at life. The content of this website will be plenty full of personal experiences, daily living, but also research based writings on the complexities of being or living with someone with bipolar. There will probably be some changes in my blog entries as I am manic or depressed or lucid, we shall see.