Once I have no support, that places me in a precarious position, which might increase my stress to unbearable levels. I know this because it is how I felt in my last full-time paid position at the Maudsley: I lived each day fearing how I could continue to manage and not end up living on the streets. This is perhaps ‘Catastrophe Thinking’, but it definitely assailed my every waking thought.
This leads me to consider some ethical issues. One: do I take the meds because I am afraid that if I don’t I’ll end up on the streets eventually, rather than because I feel like I need them? And the answer, I’m afraid to say, is that I do. The logical consequence of this is to say that I take the meds for money, which puts me in a rather poor light. And this affects my self-confidence. It makes me feel ashamed.
But why should I not have the condition I do have and be free to choose whether or not I do take medication? I should say that I am not in such a position that, unlike some people, I would be sectioned for the simple fact of not taking my medication. I’m not sure why that is, other than I am able to talk a good game, unlike your regular schizophrenic, say. So there is some degree of choice here. But then, there is no certainty at all that were I to stop the rest of my meds I would not end up being sectioned on account of my erratic behaviour. Behaviour that it would be true to say has, in past times, made me a danger both to myself, and other people. There’s no denying it. And since the last occasion of this was only three months ago, how likely it is that this will have changed?
So, bearing in my these few considerations; of potential homelessness and the welfare of all concerned, it may be that the best outcome would be that I am content to carry on as I am any remain partially medicated, with recourse to going back on the liquid lobotomy should the need arise. With that it mind it gives rise to the question, the new question, of how I came to be in this position in the first place. What does the label itself actually denote? What do we talk about when we talk about Bipolar?
This answer to this though broadly applicable; there are a certain set of given symptoms that will earn this label, it is, of course, particular. I myself think Bipolar is incurred as a result of sustained traumas. Bipolar is trauma raising its face to the light and showing itself to be seen. It is trauma that cannot be repressed. One cannot be a ‘Functioning Bipolar’. Someone with Bipolar tends to end up hospitalised. This trauma is not a set of medical conditions, it has a story. It is different in every case. I say this with some knowledge of how it affects others, from my time working at the hospital. I also say this with a lot of knowledge and experience of the machinations of the mental health world from my education as a post graduate and that of a mentally unwell patient. I say this as person with friends and a family who has had a life. I have something to say about it, which is why I am writing this blog.
Thank you. (This is the way some of the psychiatrists at the Maudsley rather quaintly end their psychiatric reports).