Manic Mondays: The Diagnosis

For my second installment of Manic Mondays I am going to cover the diagnosis of a disability. In my case, mental illness.

While some people discuss the ins and outs of being diagnosed, I am talking about the positives and negatives of having a diagnosis. More along the lines of mental/emotional health after being diagnosed.

The bottom line is that its just a diagnosis. I view it as a tool only. It is the means in which you figure out whats going on, get the resources you need to deal with it, and then MOVE. ON. WITH. YOUR. LIFE. It is a diagnosis only. It does not define you. It does not tell you who to love, who to hold close to your heart, what you like to do, what your passions are. Those people who choose to stand by you throughout it all are your “support people.” Your diagnosis may help you figure out who those people are, because many people will cut and run when they find things are too tough for them. Those who stick close, are the ones you count on. Your diagnosis may influence some of your future decisions, to identify what would be good for you in the long run, or challenges that would exacerbate your disability. Ultimately, you are you. You have these experiences to build on that have created you as a person. The diagnosis is just a tool. This is where you say, perhaps years later, “Okay. This sucks, but its just a diagnosis. Now what do I do about it?”

Don’t get me wrong. If you had asked me about this 10 years ago you would have gotten a different response. It has taken me 15 years (holy crap! Has it been that long??!!) to figure some of this out.

I know that there are always nay-sayers who read a blog and disagree vehemently with what a person says. You have that right. However, people have the right to write and express their opinions in a blog. And that is just what this is. My opinion. This is just my view of having a disability, and as a professional who has helped many students and adults identify their disabilities, and how to go about continuing on with their lives afterwards.

What I have learned is that there is a fine line to my mental illness and how it has challenged me, caused me to rethink some of my decisions, and influenced me to make some really poor choices. My mental illness has created in me a creative spirit that I think is intuitive to seeing and experiencing life passionately and deeply whereas others may float along in life never truly exploring life’s adventure. That fine line is so difficult to discern where my disability ends and where the “me” truly resides. Whatever and wherever that line leads me, I like who I am. I may not like some of the things I do or say (as my mouth tends to spit things out that are random and stupid), but I ultimately like WHO I am. This may take years for others to figure out. It is a journey that each person takes. A person with a disability takes a whole different path, one of struggle, one of finding your “support people,” and one of ultimate redemption and happiness in knowing and liking who you are.

A diagnosis is a tool. Whether the tool leads you to taking medications, avoiding large crowds, getting a new piece of software to do your job, modified school or work schedules, accommodations and what not…. it is just a tool to help you get what you need so you can be successful. You are who you are based off of your experiences. Having a disability or diagnosis is just one of those experiences. That disability may color the hues of your final life’s painting, but it is just one aspect in the whole of your life’s masterpiece. You get to choose whether to let the diagnosis make you, or for you to remake it into something beautiful in your life. To me, it is all about perspective.

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Wednesday Worries

So being the person with Anxiety disorder that I am, I tend to worry a heck of a lot. Combine this with Bipolar disorder and my worries take on a stream of conscious type feel to them… worrying about a spot on the carpet somehow leads to Armageddon. Yeah, a bit of a stretch, but it does happen. If I let my worries carry me away then I worry about things WAY out of my control and then I go into panic attacks and things happen to me that I imagine are heart attack symptom related, though it’s not a heart attack.

So why Wednesday Worry day? I decided to dedicate a day to just getting the worries out there…. and then to let them go. Everyone has worries, but sometimes just sharing what those are give you a life, a sense of peace… or maybe a short plan on how to approach this worries or solve some problems. Some of my worries are lame inane things that really are stupid to worry about, and some are really viable issues that I think most anyone would worry about.

The list for today, the 25th day of January 2012, is as follows (in no particular order):

  • My daughter is cruising. As in walking using the support of furniture. This is scary since she practically didn’t start crawling until last week … and her crawling efforts are minimal since she wants to pull herself up and walk. Not ready for this yet.
  • I am worried about our financial situation. I need to help us out somehow, but is would cost more for childcare these days and I am not willing to work full-time just yet. Somehow I need to get my brain out of baby mode long enough to come up with some working ideas.
  • I am getting pretty down. Not my really low seasonal depression stuff, but definitely not too happy. I am afraid this has a lot to do with not getting enough recuperative sleep.
  • I am worried about my relationship with my hubby. I am currently super resentful of my husband. I am angry at the choices he is making. This does not make me want to be warm and fuzzy. I don’t really want to snuggle. Then again, when are we in the same room together for very long in order to do this? Not so much, and when we do, Sunshine is usually between us. Although the choices he has been making are mostly to deal with his own emotional stress, or the bit of down time he has,  his choices have repercussions on me. For instance: not going to bed until 4:00am in the morning because he is stressed out. He chooses to play video games or computer games. Thus he doesn’t get up until late. Thus he works from home. Thus he works way more hours than he normally would to compensate for slower internet workings here and interruptions from Sunshine. Thus I get no time to myself except the 7 minutes it takes for him to get her dried off after bath time and put her in a new diaper, whilst I sit in the bath a bit longer.Perhaps I am resentful because all those hours he is spending playing games, I am not getting to do something for myself. I KNOW that I need to sleep, so any spare chance I get I nap. No reading, no playing games, no fun time for myself.  Now, don’t get me wrong… Sunshine is fun. My hubby loves to point this out when I say I want to do something for myself… “But she is so much fun! Don’t you love her?”  Duh!  I love her, but if you spent 24/7 with her you would want a reprieve as well! If I hand her off to him, its seems an inconvenience for him, or it doesn’t last long because he says “She needs the boob.” Is this the lameass excuse all men whose wives breastfeed use to get out of caring for their kids? I found out that this is common and I am not alone. (Damn. Will have to rethink this whole breast-feeding thing next time around).
  •  In the same theme… I am worried about my hubby. His health. Mental health mostly, and possibly physical health. I give him all sorts of information to look at, as he is one of those guys who has to have quantitative (not qualitative) peer-reviewed research presented to him that supports whatever conclusion he wishes to derive from such things. I am not sure he really even looks at the information I send him any longer. He is a logical thinker.  Why can’t he see that he is not his normal self and that all this stress and worries is effecting his life, his physical health, his reactions to me and his daughter, and his energy levels?

Sigh. I believe those are the brunt of my worries today. Perhaps I am overtired so also over sensitive? Perhaps I just need to let go, or call in a favor from a friend and take myself to a movie? Perhaps I just need to get people together and go the Zoo?  Oooh!  I think I will take Sunshine to the zoo tomorrow.  Get us out and do something fun.  Yep. Year long passes rock!  Woot.  Well, until next Wednesday I will let my worries go for now. 

Have a great day and don’t forget to giggle!