Friday, March 14, 2014

What's in a label?

I knew very early, growing up, that I was different. I was extremely shy. I couldn't stand loud noise or crowds or too much stimulation. I did very badly in school for many years due to undiagnosed learning disabilities and have a genius brother. My mother was very troubled, and my father usually absent. And I discovered that by pressing my arm against the hot water pipe I could feel better.

By the time the labels came, it was too late. I had already labeled myself as a terribly flawed person. It didn't matter when they told me that I had learning disabilities- I knew that I was stupid. And when they told me that I had: first borderline, then depression, then bipolar- I knew better. I was just weak.

There was a brief period of time in which I almost started to believe the psychopharmacologists- that someday we would find this drug cocktail that would make everything alright. It was a nice dream.

But mostly I have thought that I just need to try harder. And I don't think that is exactly wrong- but I need to be smarter about it. I keep fighting the same fights over and over again. The same things keep hurting me. I keep getting the same results.

And my moods keep doing their thing. Is it helpful to label this as bipolar? I don't know.

I am not sure how to make things better in my life right now. I think I am going to do an 8-week mindfulness course given at my hospital. Maybe it will help. At least it will give me something to do one day a week after work instead of going home to crash.

Something has to change. And I don't think it is meds.

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