Psychiatric Meteorologist

That’s what I’m calling my shrink from now on. When I went to see him yesterday he listened to my symptoms, wrote down some things, then said “since you were in a depressive episode for the last month or so, I’m predicting that you’re going to be looking at a manic upswing soon.” Like I should be worried about a low-pressure front or something. I don’t like that much. Drops in the barometric pressure give me migraines.

Sorry. I think this is what they call “deadpan.”

Anyway, I went to the psychiatrist yesterday. He said some things that made me have thoughts for most of the day yesterday. Deep thoughts. Relieved thoughts. Sort of. I’m still trying to work through some of them, so if you’re looking for me to be terribly amusing or snarky today, back away slowly from the computer and come back tomorrow so I can tell you about Persona 4 Arena.

::deep breath::

I now have an official triple diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder I, panic disorder and agoraphobia. Oh yeah, I wasn’t content with being a functioning bipolar member of society. I thought I’d have myself a messy little breakdown with a tidy little psychotic episode on the side, then I’d wrap a scarf around my head, put on my black glasses and retreat gracefully into my home saying “I vant to be alone.”

Or maybe that’s not how it happened at all. Unfortunately, people seem to be of the opinion that it’s exactly how things happened. I’m not sick, I’m lazy. Never mind that I can’t drive anymore, or that I rarely leave the house and when I do it’s clinging desperately to Mister E. Please disregard that talking on the phone to a strange person gives me panic attacks so severe I have to take several pills to calm down. And let’s not mention the fact that I can’t make my body do what I want. I should suck it up, get over it, pull myself up by my bootstraps, and cowboy up because mental illness isn’t really a thing.

I already knew I was agoraphobic. How could I not with all of those things in mind? I even wrote about it on Band Back Together. But there’s something about seeing a diagnosis written on a form that makes it feel real. Like a steel door slamming shut behind me. I’m suddenly trapped by it the same way I’m trapped in my house and in my head. The worst thing is that I know I’m trapped. It would be so much easier if I didn’t.

Movies lie. In movies, the person who is agoraphobic is just a person who has given up and all they need is the love and friendship of the perfect person (often a Manic Pixie Dream Girl or her male analogue) to help them see that life is worth living and they trip along out into the sunshine of a brand new world. In reality, it’s going to take a lot of therapy to get me anywhere near back to normal, which means I’m going to have to find a one-on-one therapist I can trust. That in and of itself is going to be a task.

I think the thing that’s really on my mind is how I’m never going to get better. Shrink wrote on the form yesterday that “the disability is permanent.” Meaning that even if I’m able to function again, I’m always going to be screwed up. There’s never going to be a time I’m not bipolar or have panic disorder, and unlike some lucky people I probably won’t be able to have a normal life.

I’m officially “disabled” now by my mental illness and as much as I would like to let the psychosis take over and crush this horrible self-awareness, I can’t. And it sucks.

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2 thoughts on “Psychiatric Meteorologist

  1. I know that ‘steel door slamming shut’ feeling. It’s like having your worst fears confirmed. A little part of you knew all along that you had (diagnosis X) but haven’t an expert say “Yes, you do have (diagnosis X)” always seems like a blow.

    Try not to take the word ‘permanent’ to heart. I think he was trying to help with your disability status and possibly your insurance coverage. If they thought the issues were acute or stress-related then they could possibly revoke treatment or coverage in the future. And even if your conditions are ‘permanent’ that doesn’t mean you can’t be a High Functioning Bipolar/Agoraphobic/Anxiety person. It won’t happen overnight, but it could happen.

    You are not your diagnosis or even the sum of your diagnoses. You are an awesome person who also happens to have a trio of mental illnesses that suck.

    My gentle advice is to focus on what you CAN do right now vs what you cannot. Pay attention to how you feel after you beat a level on a game, or work on a cross-stitch, make tacos, or do something nice for Mister E, or finish something for The Band. You are capable of doing something amazing every day, even if you think it is a small thing.

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