If You Don’t Know…

Before I start off with my customary "Screw you in a goat’s ass" comment I usually love to give out so freely, I’d like to take a moment to thank the quite-obviously-"knowledgeable", un-bipolar gem of a person that messaged me in regards to my previous post. I am so glad to know now that mental illness is, indeed, all in a person’s head, and that medication is for uneducated, lazy pansies like myself, and that all I’ve done by addressing the issue of bipolar disorder is encourage people to go out and get drugged up the second they feel slightly grouchy. And to think, all this time, all this "unneccessary anguish" that I "put myself through"…Thank you. Thank you. You will do great things.
And now, for the people checking in from planet Earth, although I’m no expert, I’ll revisit the topic with the very same perspective I’d had for the past 2 years: Mental illness is a disease, just like diabetes or alcoholism or anything else that can cause a person’s body chemicals to get out of whack, and it, fortunately, can be treated with modern medicine. Clinical depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, whatever–it’s not all in a person’s head and sometimes they can’t just "snap out of it", and while you probably can’t understand it, you can be understanding.
Those of you who have been reading my blog for the past 2 years no doubt web-witnessed my little Spring of 2006 episode in which I was ready to kill at least one family dog, and my husband–God bless him–was probably ready to kill me. The entire cycle lasted for 3-4 months, through which I went from being pleasantly energetic, to constantly irritated, to down-right pissy, to stark raving mad, to sad and sluggish, to utterly anti-social and afraid…the latter being the worst part, by far; I couldn’t even bear the thought of going to one of Cheyenne’s softball games, for crying out loud. It was then that my sweet Caleb gently suggested I talk to a doctor ("What the hell is wrong with you? Do I need to check you into the looney bin, dearest pie?") and I submitted to the problem at hand.
Now that I’m "back to normal" I can honestly take a look at that time of my life and still not have a good explanation for what all went down except to say that my body chemistry was completely off kilter–that tends to happen when a person HAS AN ILLNESS. My skin crawled. My face was breaking out. My period was jacked up and as I mentioned last time, I unknowingly gnashed my teeth together all day long, so much that I’d go to bed with a sore jaw and a massive headache. If it were truly all in my mind, I think I’d be able to come up with a better reason, and I sure as hell would’ve been able to stop it before it got so out of hand that I sought help from a MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL–also something that tends to happen when a person has an illness. Hmmm…I’m seeing a pattern here.
While I agree that maybe drugs aren’t always the immediate answer, and that yes, some doctors are quick to prescribe them and patients are quick to rely soley on them, they helped me when I needed the help. Medication put my body back on a more even keel, and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to keep it that way through simple things like diet, exercise, sleep, and the constant subliminal monitoring of my mental state by my loving husband and family. Not everyone has it this easy, and I do worry from time to time that I might not recognize a slip if and when it happens again. But for now, I treat myself like I would if I were worried about any other disease–I take care of myself. If diabetes ran in your family, would you not eat right and watch your weight? If alcoholism were an issue, don’t you think you’d avoid drinking? With either of those things, you’d be watchful of yourself for symptoms, and hopefully you’d seek help if something didn’t seem right.
Like I said before, I’m no expert. A really interesting blog on the matter can be found at Hilary’s page. She writes about bipolar disorder, which is sooo not just happy/sad from minute to minute, and the girl knows what she’s talking about, unlike…well, I’m not going to go there. (Oh, who am I kidding? I just did! Toni=feeling pretty gleeful right about now.) So go check that out, and for the love of Pete have the balls to leave a public comment with your name on it so that everyone out there will know what a fabulously smart person you are when it comes to the wonderful world of the human brain.

About Toni

Mom. Wife. Artist. I take care of the kids and pretend to clean sometimes. I can cook spagetti and I have never been arrested. View all posts by Toni

6 responses to “If You Don’t Know…

  • C.C.

    It was probably Tom Cruise that sent you the message.  LOL.  :-)  "Peace through superior pharmaceuticals" all the way, baby!

  • ♥ Aimee

    i think it’s great that you are dealing with things…and being quite open and honest about the whole thing…
    *~* :o) if you do not have a smile today… :o) I will give you one of mine… :o) *~*

  • Bev

    How sad that people cannot be more compassionate with one another.  I give you great credit for being willing to share what you have gone through.  Many people would NOT have the courage just for the reason that there ARE ignorant people who do not understand what you have gone through, and who make judgments that they should NOT make.  I have a cousin who is bi-polar as well as a friend from church who is bi-polar.  Their illness and struggles are very very real.  Unlike you, my cousin does not think she has an illness and she conducts herself in that manner and has had many difficulties.  Toni, I hope you do not get discouraged and stop sharing the very real person that you are because of a few people.  I would imagine that there are others out there who fight this illness.  To be able to see what a beautiful family you have should be a great encouragement to them.
    Hang in there girl!!  I sure hope you are feeling lots better!  Hugs to you, friend!

  • Hilary

    Thanks for linking to my page Toni!!!  And I’m so proud of you for being honest with Cheyenne…I think being honest with teenagers is (almost) always the best thing, and I’m sure she appreciates it!

  • barnyardmama

    Freakin’ weirdos–that’s why I left spaces.  People kept leaving me unsolicited advice and marriage proposals.
    I don’t think we should have to apologize for what we feel.  What we do, yes.  But what we feel?  Well that’s our own pile of crap and we can do with it what we want.
    I think it’s great that you are talking to Cheyenne.  My mother and grandfather have both suffered from depression and it was NEVER mentioned.  Ever.  I felt like a freak when I was having clinically significant episodes of depression.  No one let me know that they understood.  The day I finally started taking medication my mother warned me that I should never tell anyone. 
    We’re long past all that now, and I’ve told you and the rest of the universe on numerous occasions about my own insanity.  But I do think it’s best that parents do the supportive thing because acting like it isn’t there just starts a whole new generation of issues.
    Whew.  i wrote a bible there, eh?

  • Joell

    OY VEY.  Some people.  SIGH.
    My motto is: Better living through chemistry.  :-D
    Seriously though– Bottom line is, you have to do what you have to do to be well and healthy.  Good for you for getting help.  Lucky for you, you do not have to answer to any high and mighty, holier than thou jerks out there giving unsolicited advice!  Depression is REAL.  Bi-polar is REAL.  Anxiety is REAL.  Pooh-pooh on the Tom Cruises of the world.
    As you would say (and I love it when you say it, cause it makes me smile!): 
    That is all. 

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