I feel so bad when I fall into the sterotypes of mental illness. I put in excessive effort to not fit what society considers a “crazy” person. But sometimes I’m like damn, there I go. Trust me, if it’s frustrating looking from the outside in, just imagine what it is like to literally feel like the conductor on a run away train. That is exactly how I feel when my mind gets away from me, and just decides to conjur up any thought at will.
So the past few days I have discovered a new hit song called Issues by Julia Michaels. It is very catchy but when I first heard it, I was like holy crap, this is about mental health. Well turns out I was wrong. Its just about the trials and tribulations of a jealous relationship. But I still really like the song because it does lend itself to a wide range of interpretations which is pretty cool. But here we go again – a song getting my mind on a train of illness. And unless I write it out, it usually will stay put there.
I want to talk about something that I have been recently made aware of.
I found out my dad has bipolar disorder. I have written about my dad briefly in this blog before about his struggles with PTSD. And as a 47 year old man I definitely thought the “ship” for mood or psychotic disorders had sailed so to speak.
Well, to make a long and confusing story short, my dad had been taking mood stablizing medication for quite a long time to manage his PTSD, and since he faithfully did so, his bipolar disorder has flown under the radar for all of this time because the medication was working double duty and masked the bipolar disorder extremely well. Well enough that his own daughter was in actual disbelief when I found out.
I guess now as I look back on my life, he does fit a lot of the characteristics of both manic and depressive states. Now, this is where I’m just going to step on my soapbox real quick and say, if you have not actually ever researched bipolar disorder, then I feel confident in saying you have no idea what it is actually like. Society has picked up the HORRIBLE habbit of using mental illnesses as slang. And when people say “omg I’m just so bipolar today” because you’re a bit indecisive or maybe having some PMS, it is a gross misinterpretation of what people with bipolar disorder actually go through.
*Steps off of soapbox*
Okay, so with that being said, I have an anxiety disorder obviously. And you probably do too since you are literally reading a blog about it (it’s okay, no judgement). So I will just preface this by saying, I do realize that the fear I have right now is probably super out of porporiton, but thanks to my awesome brain something as silly as rationale is not enough to stop me. So I have basically been obsessing about my chances of developing the disorder myself since having a parent with any mental illness increases your own chances significantly.
What I have basically found out is that depending on the study (which I have read several), I have anywhere from a 10-25% chance of having bipolar disorder myself. Also, the disorder usual shows itself around the age of 25. And I am about 4 years shy of that so I am definitely not out of the woods; especially since that figure is just an average and can really appear at any age.
As I have discussed before, I am in nursing school and will be a senior in the fall. Ironically enough, I am in the psychiatric mental health semester right now, working in a psyhiatric clinic and the whole 9 yards. So I have been able to talk with people with all sorts of interesting but dibilitating illnesses. And with Mental Health Awareness Month coming up fairly soon, I decided I better start really advocating for us in whatever way I can – and start writing in this blog periodically again.
Anywho, I decided to just have a bit of humor about the whole situation and try to focus my worried energies that way instead of obsessing about the idea of collecting mental illnesses like stamps.
Panic Disorder- check
GAD – check
Bipolar Disorder – to be determined
After all, having bipolar disorder wouldn’t be the end of the world. I try to always remind myself that whatever I’m going through it’s not the worst thing. The universe has a really cruel sense of humor. That, coupled with Murphy’s Law, means that everything could always get worse. And I think alot of that has to do with your mental state. Are you a positive or negative person? I promise being positive may require more creativity at times, but you’re way better off that way.
These past few days I have dealt with some feelings of depersonalization. It kind of means exactly what you would think. “Not feeling like yourself” or almost as if your life is just kind of happening and you’re almost watching it from a third person point of view. I think this is just my anxiety presenting itself in a new and creative way. Afterall I get it. I’m literally now dealing with the knowledge that I am an extremely at-risk person for a mood disorder and I will be for the rest of my life. Anxiety does not do well with the unknown. And that’s exactly what I will have in this subject for the rest of my life. Uncertainty.
So, I’m trying to have humor and an overall good disposition. I am so lucky that my dad has been very frank about everything and is very willing to talk to me about how he is feeling and what all he is going through. But, I also wonder if he omits things from me because he knows my nature.
So for any reader who deals with bipolar disorder, I or II, or any other mood disorder, I would absolutely love to hear your own stories in the comment section. And not really for myself. Afterall, I have a 75-90% chance of not ever having bipolar disorder. But my own research on this topic has really made me aware of how misunderstood it is. And of course the wannabe nurse in me just loves anything medical. So please, share as much or as little as your heart desires.
Hugs and Positive Vibes,