Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Two Different People

When I was about 14, I wrote about how I was two different people, both shy and outgoing.  I didn't know anything about Bipolar Disorder then, and I wondered if other people had such huge changes in their personalities.

This duality is aptly described by Kay Redfield Jamison:

"There is a particular kind of pain, elation, loneliness, and terror involved in this kind of madness. When you're high it's tremendous. The ideas and feelings are fast and frequent like shooting stars, and you follow them until you find better and brighter ones. Shyness goes, the right words and gestures are suddenly there, the power to captivate others a felt certainty."


"Which of the me's is me? The wild impulsive chaotic, energetic, and crazy one? Or the shy, withdrawn, disparate, suicidal, doomed, and tired one?"

I wasn't suicidal, but my personality did change from day to day... Some days I spoke out in class often, other days I didn't say anything.  My history teacher observed the changes in me and described it as “taking awhile to warm up” but in retrospect, the times when I was talking out in class too much was probably the bipolar pushing its way through.

I had many of the symptoms of mania, but it was never diagnosed until later.  I think my life may have been better if it had been diagnosed earlier, but who knows for sure.  It would have at least made it easier for me to understand my feelings and actions.

I am not the mania nor the depression.  Those are just symptoms.  But I thought that what I was feeling was who I was.  I was wrong.  I allowed it to be who I was because I didn't know that it was an illness.

Some therapists I saw missed it too.  It could have been caught, but I had a stupid psychologist. Oh well.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/amytakespictures/3706618027/


  1. This really describes my son well. We have had a rough night over here and I'm thinking we are going to need to look into Lithium if this does not smooth over. When did you get this diagnosed and start meds (if you take meds)?

  2. Hi Meg,

    I started taking medicine when I was 18 (8 years ago). I've tried many different meds, but the lithium has worked out best for me. I took the prescription form, Lithium Carbonate, for a couple of years, and that worked out well, except that after taking it for a year or so, I developed a minor tremor. This went away when I stopped it. Now I take Lithium Orotate (a supplement) which works just as well for me, but no tremor. Both types of lithium just made me feel normal with no mental grogginess or strangeness. I think I am very lucky that it works for me. Some people do have side effects. I think I am taking a low dose. Maybe that helps. I still have some 'breakthrough' mood problems, but nothing as bad as it was. I think the lithium, combined with learning how to handle my emotions, and having a low stress environment, and the support of my husband, all have helped me be pretty stable.

    There is no scientific research showing that Lithium Orotate works for Bipolar disorder, and I am taking the chance of treating myself. Lithium blood tests are usually given when people are taking it, to verify that the patient is in the therapeutic range because if too high of a dose is given it can be toxic. When I used to take lithium carbonate and had the blood tests, I was always on the low end of the therapeutic range.


  3. Thanks for the response. I'm going to give it a few weeks over here to smooth over here and let him adjust to the change of environment but if it doesn't I'm going to ask to Dr about trying Lithium.