Bipolar 2: The Sequel?

13 Sep

I haven’t been posting here because my creativity tank has been pathetically empty. I’m running on goddam fumes, folks. It’s been frustrating and led me to this realization: I must be more depressed than I even realized. That’s how it goes, it seems; you get depressed and the depression screws up your brain so you can’t even see that there’s a problem. It just becomes sort of a normal. You have to think back a year and then it’s oh I remember enjoying writing and posting. I remember how it felt to hit that publish button, why the f**! isn’t that happening anymore?

So I went to my doctor in Maryville and told him that my Effexor wasn’t working and that I wanted to try something else. I said, dude, I’m up for anything, but I didn’t use “dude” because I never, ever talk like that. I’ve never began a sentence with dude.

Anyway, Dr. Kopjas recommended a psychiatrist in Edwardsville, blocks from my house. Dr. Hammer. I sat there wondering how I failed to know there was a psychiatrist with such a kick-ass name right in my neighborhood. I’ve been to four other mental health professionals, two psychologists, and two master’s degree-level counselors. I liked the idea of talking to a psychiatrist.

Ten years ago, before I talked to a psychologist in Springfield, IL, I felt funny about talking to a “shrink,” a little embarrassed. I didn’t want to be seen walking in her door. That was stupid. I now believe that every human should be talking to a trained mental health professional. We’re all flawed in some way.

One of my flaws: I have a tendency to avoid using the phone, so I didn’t call “the hammer” right away. I understand that this is insane. Just pick up the phone, dude! Yeah, well, it’s not that easy. I finally called and got an appointment for three weeks out.

Zoom ahead three weeks, I walked into Dr. Hammer’s office and found an old, plump man wearing suspenders. His large expressive eyes sat under bushy brows. I was expecting more in the line of Alan Thicke, or Dr. Jason Seaver, from Growing Pains, but it’s not like I almost walked out.

I sat down as he was looking over the questionnaire I had just filled out in the waiting room. Then I got right into it. I said “I think I have dysthymia,” and I told him why I thought this. He asked questions for just ten minutes before diagnosing me with bipolar II disorder.

Uh, what?

Oh great, I’m bipolar like freaking Charlie Sheen. I told him that I don’t have those wild crazy-ass mood swings. When I think of bipolar I think of various damaging “sprees,” whether it’s gambling or shopping or killing. That’s not me.

“That’s typical,” he said. “You’re describing bipolar I, you probably have bipolar II, your lows aren’t as low and your highs aren’t as high.”

I was stunned I hadn’t read anything about this. He went on to argue his case quite superbly with a slideshow on his over-sized monitor.

Finally he got around to a treatment plan, which I was eager to hear, of course. First, he talked about the the meds I wasn’t getting: lithium, depakote, and others I can’t recall. Finally, the one he was going to prescribe: Lamictal (generic, Lamotrigine).,

He compared the possible benefits to The Wizard of Oz when it switches from black and white to color. Or maybe he meant I’ll feel like singing and dancing with midgets, not sure. I’m hoping he meant that I’ll wake up one morning and think holy shit, is this how I’m supposed to feel?

Unfortunately, I have to start with a low dose and bump up every two weeks. So now I just wait.

So, yah! I’m bipolor. Go me! And I’m being honest. I’m thrilled with this because it sends me off in a new direction in hope of squashing some of the demons.

2 Responses to “Bipolar 2: The Sequel?”

  1. 4eternalsunshine September 16, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    i can so relate. Hope it helps. keep us posted. :))

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