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Pedal The Bike

Monday, January 28, 2013

Lately I've been feeling like a pretty uncompassionate bipolarized person. On my Facebook fan page I've subscribed to quite a few bipolar support pages. Some of the posts I've read lately are really beginning to bother me.

One thing I've always tried to do is to take control of my disorder and not let it control me. I know I've not always been able to do that, especially after first being diagnosed five years ago, but I've tried, and for the most part I have succeeded. I'm not kidding myself, it was a long, hard fight, and there were many times I slipped, there were many times I may not have made it to the next day without the help of a few close friends and inner most family. But I never said "screw it, there's nothing I can do." Before I was diagnosed I didn't know what was happening or how to fight it, but since then it's been a different story.

I've made sure I stay on top of my medications, I keep all of my doctor appointments, I worked hard to recognize the warning signs that alert me that an up or a down may be coming and I try my best to take appropriate action.  I stay actively involved in my treatment and I continually try to find ways to better cope with the hiccups that come my way, although I've been pretty stable for quite some time now.

I realize I have a pretty mild case of the disorder, and I realize that there are others that have a much more dark reality, but I can't believe how many people on those support pages seem to wallow in the disorder itself and let it define them. I don't deny there are days I shut down, stay in my room and keep the door shut. And there are days benzos are the way I make it through, although those days are far and few between.

Yes, it took me awhile to find the correct medication and it was chaos while I was on the search. I understand how frustrating that path can be and I have no problem with people that are actively trying to find a solution. They're making progress, they're taking control, they're trying. I also know that a spiral can seemingly come out of no where and once it starts you just have to ride it out. Sometimes you can reach out for help and other times you just can't.

It's the others that bother me, the ones that go on and off their meds, skip their doctor appointments, and are continually whining about what they're dealing with, but do nothing to help get themselves under control. Or the ones that purposely stay off their medications to try to get on disability knowing full well what comes with staying off the meds.

It seems lately the support boards have been filled with people that want to use their disorder as an excuse to do nothing to better themselves. They let bipolar define who they are, it consumes them, it wags them by the tail and they're perfectly happy to let it have total control.

I have very little patience for that. I've worked hard to get where I am, and I will continue to do so. I'm in no way dissing people that have a legitimate need for disability, or who are dealing with a major form of the disorder, it can be hard to manage at the other end of the spectrum. I just have a problem with the ones that continue to add to the stigma, the ones that refuse to better themselves, the ones that can, but won't.

If you're not going to pedal the bike, and you're able to, you're not going to go anywhere.



Susie - Walking Butterfly January 28, 2013 at 9:24 PM  

I agree. Most blogs that are based on a medical problem seem to be full of complaining and victim-talk. Even though your title includes the "Bipolar" you don't sound like your whole life or blog is centered around your condition.

middle child January 28, 2013 at 9:51 PM  

I know you are a compassionate person. And I understand what you are saying. It makes perfect sense to me. And I agree.
You are saying that you work hard on your illness and do not let it define you. You have acknowledged that others are not able to do so. You are speaking about the ones that can but don't do what they can to help themselves. Have been thinking about you and Karli and Jakob. Hope all is well.

The Bipolar Diva January 28, 2013 at 10:49 PM  

RCL: I called it the bipolar diva because I wanted to not only be honest about myself, but also help break the stigma that' all around the place. I'm just a normal person that happens to have a few extra emotions.

The Bipolar Diva January 28, 2013 at 10:51 PM  

Middle Child:
thank you. I was a little worried after I posted it that people would take what I had to say the wrong way. I just get tired of the "victim" role so many people play. I don't want to be a victim, I want to be a conqueror! lol. Karli, Jake and I have been doing pretty well lately. Jake's excited about the new business venture!

Andrea L January 29, 2013 at 4:12 AM  

Agree! Another thing I don't like is when everything is blamed (by other people) on depression. Approx 6 yrs ago, my very wonderful doctor of many many yrs took his own life. He worked full time in his office, was an emergency room dr., worked with our local sports teams, as well as was our city hockey team's dr. There were rumors of marriage problems, of him having to work so hard because she spent so much, of extra-marital affairs, etc....but for the memorials, etc, she basically blamed everything on his bipolar! I would never even have guessed he had this (but looking back it made sense because it made him even a better dr to talk to!). I mourned him as a family member, and was so angry with his wife for so long.....i felt she did the whole mental health community such damage by publically blaming everything on depression (who really knows what his reasons were!)

MarkD60 January 29, 2013 at 6:33 AM  

Even if you're on the right track, if you're not moving, you can still get run over by a train!

Outcast January 29, 2013 at 9:09 AM  

I understand that you can get annoyed with certain people and their voicing of their problems because I find I can get annoyed at things often as well. The important thing is to always try to be sympathetic and if you can't to just bite your tongue I guess, some people can let their illness take over them and become very attention seeking like said above but I won't be too critical because I'm sure people have thought that about me as well unfortunately which is a shame because I'd hate to be thought of that way.

Rob-bear January 30, 2013 at 5:35 PM  

I still have to work with my depression; some days I do better, some days not as much. In fact, no even close.

I stay involved in my healing, but I realize, more and more, how difficult it is. How difficult it has been, on and off, for me.

Other than that, I'm all right for the shape I'm in! (My usual response when people ask me how I am doing.)

Blessings and Bear hugs, Ms. Diva!

Claudya Martinez January 31, 2013 at 2:34 PM  

I understand where you are coming from and I do not disagree.

Snowbrush February 2, 2013 at 11:16 AM  

How can you be so sure they could do better? I know that I've had periods of pain remission, and they invariably cause me to forget how bad the pain was and what havoc it caused in my life. This in turn leads me to think that other people who are in pain could surely handle it better if they really, really tried. Then, when the pain returns, all that misery and hopelessness comes back with it. As you said, you don't have the disesase as bad as many, so you don't know that you would be able to deal with it any better than they.

The Bipolar Diva February 2, 2013 at 11:44 AM  

Hi Snow! No, that wasn't what I was trying to convey at all. I know if I was afflicted worse my path would be a much different one. What gets me are the people that continually play victim instead to attempting to take the reins. It seems to be the same ones all the time that are saying the same things over and over about their woes. I wasn't in anyway taking away the reality of people that are affected much worse than I am. It's easy to spot the "victims" from the ones that truly are in trouble.

Snowbrush February 3, 2013 at 10:31 AM  

If I knew them, I would surely feel the same.

Classic NYer February 3, 2013 at 7:24 PM  

I feel the same way about certain people in my husband's aids support groups. They skip their doctors visits, they sell their medications, and then they slowly waste away into nothingness, all the while lamenting their pitiable fates. It's kind of disgusting.

Saracide February 5, 2013 at 11:20 AM  

I've just started a page in the FB world... but I have read accounts by people you speak of, and it is frustrating. I haven't been blogging lately because, well, I haven't been having very many problems with my bipolar, so sometimes I feel like no one wants to hear from me when I am healthy, you know? But I know it's not true. I think I have finally found the right meds, and am finally stable enough to quit whining about my illness and start embracing the fact that I can finally function in the real world. But it did take years, lots of meds, and disability to get me to the point I am at.
Hugs and love Teri.

The Bipolar Diva February 5, 2013 at 2:18 PM  


I'm so glad you're doing well now! It is a long, hard road sometimes. I never saw you as whining. What I saw was a girl that was wanting help and working toward the light. You're awesome!
xoxo Teri

Woolie Mammoth February 10, 2013 at 4:46 PM  

Never thought myself as a victim of bipolar. I do however feel that my experience has been horrifying. I would love to take meds and sail on the stable ship. Meds have been disastrous for me, everything from lamictal rash to antidepressant mania. I have even taken to ECT to try to gain access to that stable ride. 12 years after first diagnosis I am off meds, ECT, and looking for a therapist willing to take my case. I am not a bipolar victim but I struggle everyday. Stability isn't always available even with regular pdoc visits and medication. It angers me when people candy coat bipolar saying take meds you'll be fine.

The Bipolar Diva February 10, 2013 at 6:04 PM  

Woolie: it can be a terrible ride to be sure, and medications don't help everyone. My daughter has had a terrible time finding the right ones. I think sometimes people tell us to just take the meds and all will be well because they don't know what else to say. it's not easy, it's a struggle. Struggling is a part of the disorder and some do more than others. You seem like a conqueror to me. You're fighting the hard fight and not giving up. Good for you!

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