March 5, 2012

This is an excellent story to explain invisible illnesses. I thought about just sharing it and saying the above. But no, I feel like saying more. I feel like making up my own analogy for manic depression which I have. The best I can come up with is this. You have a series of tickets in your hand. They have written on them various things like "write a book" "feel great" "buy a gadget" "drive to New York" "drink wine" "anger" "irritable" "darkness" "can't get the energy to get out of bed" "hopelessness" "scream out loud in anger"

 Now that you've got them you spend them without any reason or care. You don't know what you're buying when you cash one in. It could be anything that's written on those tickets. There is no reason or rhyme to what you feel (or spend). There is no limit either on the spending of them.

That's what manic depression, or as some say Bipolar disorder, is. I seem to have experienced mostly mania, in my reading of the disease. Yes, I had some dark bits, but never the feeling of deep, black, utter hopelessness that some describe.

It's so terribly sad that so many gifted people have been taken away from us because of manic depression. The inability of the medical profession to deal with it.

The meds I'm on, a mood stabilizer and an anti-psychotic stabilize my moods well, but it's like a sine curve that's flattened out. I notice the lack of depth there. But I'll take it over the above symptoms on the tickets.

 I'll end this entry with a quote from Kay Redfield Jamieson, a famous psychologist who also has manic depression

"...I have become fundamentally and deeply skeptical that anyone who does not have this disease can truly understand it. And, ultimately, it is probably unreasonable to expect the kind of acceptance of it that one so desperately desires. It is not an illness that lends itself to easy empathy. Once a restless or frayed mood has turned to anger, or violence, or psychosis, many find it very difficult to see it as "an illness", rather than as being willful, angry, irrational, or simply tiresome. What I experience as beyond my control, can instead seem to others as deliberate and frightening. It is, at these times, impossible for me to convey my desperation and pain; it is harder still, afterward, to recover from the damaging acts and dreadful words. These terrible black manias, with their agitated, ferocious, and savage sides, are understandably difficult for anyone to understand, and for me to explain them."

 But You don't look sick

 If you read this, leave a comment - I'd love to hear from somebody :)


Steve said...

I think I've used up my book of tickets far too many times!!! Well written and struck a chord. Thank you for sharing :-)

Joyce said...

That quote at the end explains how I feel when I am at my extremes of my bipolar. I agree that it is a difficult thing for others that do not have bipolar to understand. I have found a lot of great resources to help with my bipolar disorder. is a really good one. Thank you for this great post!