passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
[personal profile] passerine
[Trigger warnings: people being stupid about mental illness, child abuse, near-misses with suicide, self-harm, some unpleasantness related to sex.]

[personal profile] kaigou has done an excellent job over here, talking about what it's like to be the person who wants to be more like all the successful friends who totally rock the world but somehow something in their brain just keeps getting in the way - and that something is ADD. (Seriously, if you want to know what it's like to be in my head, read through the "things your daughter will probably face" part. I 100% see myself in that.)

So I'm not going to talk about that piece because it's already been done. Instead I'm going to talk about what it's like to be the partner of a funny, charismatic, creative person who lives with brainweasels that are best described as Bipolar Disorder type II.


(First, the reason I said "best described as" is because right now there is some speculation going on that both the bipolar-like symptoms and the weird vision problems, as well as a few other odd things, might have an early-in-life brain injury caused by child abuse as the real explanation. But since there is, as of yet, no proof...we take what we can get, and "bipolar" describes the symptoms and points to an appropriate medication well enough to be going on with.)

Anyway. That creativity the anti-psych folks keep talking about, that is supposedly being ruined, ruined I tell you by the Lamictal? Doesn't do anyone much good when it is repeatedly turned to the question of how to best end one's life with the materials at hand. These urges have included "break open a lava lamp and drink the contents", "strangle co-workers with network cable and then hang self with it", and "slice open femoral arteries with tin can lids" as well as the more mundane jumping off a bridge, driving a car off a bridge, drinking oneself to death, etc.

Speaking as his lover, as his spouse, as the mother of his children? I damn well would rather have the creativity squashed into nothingness than watch more of THAT. Oh, but what about the upside, the legendary highs? Would I want those taken away, too?

HELL YES.

Because, for one thing, sometimes his brain has tried to kill him with those, too. Like when he got the idea that it would be SUCH FUN OMG to take a flying leap onto a moving bus and ride on the bike rack, but unfortunately he'd be yelled at and that would spoil the fun.

And even when it's not like that, here's a clue: "manic" is a description of energy level, not mood in the happy-or-sad sense. It's possible to be manic and incredibly pissed off at the same time, to go looking for a fight that you know you can't actually win, and to come to just enough senses just in time to avoid getting killed. It's possible to be desperately wanting to sleep and yet completely unable to, to spend hours doing push-ups in the psych ward until you finally are ready to collapse from exhaustion. It's possible to be manic and horny, to masturbate repeatedly until skin is chafed and sore, and to still be completely unsatisfied. It's possible to have about 30 different ideas competing for space in your head, any of which WOULD be interesting and creative if any one could be focused on. And sure, it's POSSIBLE to be manic and happy and creative, to blow a few hundred or a few thousand dollars on some new creative project's beginnings - only to have the crash hit so that the project never ends, and all you have surrounding you is your depression, the seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time purchases that can neither be used nor taken back, the overdue utility bills, and the angry spouse screaming WTF WERE YOU THINKING?

As said angry spouse, no, I *don't* like bipolar-inspired creativity.

After more than a dozen tries, including in combinations of up to four different medications at a time, the doctors finally found something that works. About two months after John started taking Lamictal, he observed that he wasn't needing to use the various distraction techniques taught in therapy to ignore the random intrusive suicidal ideations - because those thoughts weren't there anymore. So he has me and the kids as three VERY good reasons to stay on his meds.

And maybe I'm mean and unsupportive and a sell-out to Big Pharma and a killjoy and all those other horrible things, but I am selfish enough to want my spouse HERE WITH ME instead of dead or in a psych ward, to want my household bills PAID, to want our kids to have a father who is physically and mentally available to care for them. And if he's thinking up new ways to die, or focused on all the sex he would be having if only I wasn't tying him down, or overdrawing our bank account to start-but-never-finish, say, turning our basement into a combination darkroom and recording studio...I don't have the life partner that I've come to know and love and count on over the years. And that IS important to me, and he reassures me every day that it's important to him as well.

You know how that reassurance happens?

He takes his fucking meds. That's how.

Date: 2010-06-13 08:31 pm (UTC)
ailbhe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ailbhe
I love meds.

Date: 2010-06-13 09:17 pm (UTC)
damanique: (alana hell no)
From: [personal profile] damanique
I'm missing something - what's so terrible about taking Lamictal? Who are the people saying this and why are they being fucktards, pardon my language?

*follows the links*

Oh for crying out loud.

Part of my scattered focus is related to my artistic temperment. (Artistic temperment is sometimes spelled ‘t e n d e n c y t o m a n i c d e p r e s s i o n.’)

what the hell?
Edited Date: 2010-06-13 09:17 pm (UTC)

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