Thursday, August 07, 2008

Personally Speaking

As I've said before, I try to avoid talking openly about myself and my life on this blog. My personal thoughts are shuttled off to an undisclosed location in cyberspace, leaving CKC as my public face. But I will make an exception today if, for no other reason, because I am yet again seeking to serve a greater purpose. This is to say, readers of this blog for any length of time at all know I talk openly on here about the fact that I suffer from bipolar disorder. Coping with the disorder provides ample frustration and frequent inspiration to speak my mind, all the while trying to make sense of what often seems senseless.

Bipolar is a brain disorder, first and foremost, and there's much we still don't understand about that vital organ. We understand more and more every day but there is much of which we are practically clueless. Trying to keep my condition regulated is very much an exercise in patience, trial, frequent error, and modification. The treatment at times can resemble an attempt to hit a moving target. Exactingly precise methods used to treat my condition are in short supply. Not only that, the reasons why they work are poorly understood, if not totally misunderstood. Occasionally I feel like everything I've tried is roughly analogous to the old metaphor of throwing spaghetti against the wall in the hope that something will stick.

These days, I'm beginning to think that just as there is no self-actualized human being, there is no 100% healthy individual with a mental illness. That might be a slight exaggeration, as some people do find successful drug cocktails and maintain stability for years at a time, but they are the lucky ones. Mood swings and fluctuations are standard for all of us with the disorder. For example, I am usually more inclined to mania in the wintertime and conversely, inclined towards depression in the summertime.

So it should be no surprise to you that I've been struggling with depression for the past couple months, right on schedule. In younger days, there were medications available that worked on different neuro-receptors, different brain cells if you will, which in psychopharmacology are referred to "neural pathways". I've exhausted all the currently available classes of medication and now am attempting to use slightly different combinations of drugs I've tried before, tweaking the cocktail somewhat. The problem, which is often much more so than a minor annoyance, is that every medication has its own particular side effects and interactions with other drugs. An adjustment period of 1-3 weeks is pretty standard anytime one throws something new into the mix. That's where I am at the moment, adjusting.

I'm an old hand at this. As I pause to reflect, 2008 marks the thirteen year I've been struggling with the disorder. I'm better than I was, but I'm never at perfect health, which is a goal I have been trying to resolve within myself that may not be feasible, nor realistic.


Sherry Pasquarello said...

i send good vibes. depression sucks big time.

good health, but a dream, tho i dream big at times, myself.

Life As I Know It Now said...

I am sorry to read about your disorder. However, no one is perfect, even those who carry no lable, so don't feel badly about a lable. At least you try to understand what is going on for you and that's more than some ever do. Anyway, I'm trying to be supportive and not lecture so I hope it comes across that way :) Hope you get to feeling better soon.