Bipolar Disorder

A new diagnosis

I am back, yet again, in my psychiatrist’s office.  It’s a small room, cluttered with comfy chairs.  My psychiatrist sits with his back to the window and I face it.  The sun would be saturating the room with light, but for the thin curtains pulled across the window, which instead gives the room a disconcerting red glow.

I’ve been visiting this room, and this psychiatrist, regularly for the past eighteen months, full of depression and melancholy and sadness.  But now I am feeling better.  Too better.  The severe depression I have been enduring has lifted, and my mood is rising.  Too high.  I am giddy.  I am excitable.  I am giggly.  I see lights.  I see bright colours.  I am bursting with energy.  Energy that bursts from my very soul in beams of green light that radiate the room.  I am full of the joys of life.  I can’t sit still.  I can’t concentrate.  I can’t sleep.  I am full of ideas and projects.  I’ll swim at the Olympics.  I’ll write a book.  I can’t stop.  The thoughts just keep coming.  Racing through my mind.

I have just finished relaying all this to my psychiatrist.  He looks at me for a long time and finally says, “I think this is bipolar disorder.”  I stop in my tracks.  Bipolar?  That’s a big diagnosis.  The enormity of it does not hit me until later.  That’s a lifelong illness that I will have to live with.  My psychiatrist is still talking, but I am not listening.  I can’t concentrate, remember.

But in my mind, something is clicking.  This makes sense.  I can divide my life up into periods where I have felt so depressed I have been suicidal, and periods where I am full of great plans to change my life, which at one point resulted in me deciding to move to Canada and flying there alone, with no plan as to what I would do once I got there.  (I probably don’t have to tell you that it didn’t work out!).

So there we go.  I leave the room with a diagnosis.  It is not confirmed yet.  My psychiatrist is not a specialist in bipolar and he would like me to see someone who is, so I am off to be assessed by another team in the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I am full of questions about bipolar.  What does it mean for me?  How will I cope?   Will I ever be able to live independently?  Can I work?  Will I always be on medication?  How severe will it get?  What help will I need?  What if I end up in hospital?

I have been under various mental health services for just over two years, and this is the second ‘big’ diagnosis I have had.  In fact my psychiatrist said, “You are special,” referring to the unusual combination of illnesses I have.  But I have never felt quite so unsure about what the future holds with regards to my mental health.  I can do nothing but ride the wave of fantastic feelings at the moment and hope I don’t crash too hard.

2 thoughts on “A new diagnosis

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