August 17, 2012
I’ve been called a lot of things, good and bad, throughout the years. I’ve come to realize that a lot of this doesn’t matter. A recent trip to a new psychiatrist after having been failed too many times by my last one had me thinking.
I am not my diagnosis.
That is, to say, I am not defined by it. I am not bound to the title of Bipolar II as some sort of abstract definition or a list of symptoms. These things do not tell me who I am and they do not dictate my behavior. I am not limited by the confined diagnostic criteria in the DSM-IV TR, nor am I confined by the deductions of a medical doctor of any kind, no matter how intelligent and well-versed they are in their practice. These things do not tell me who I am. I don’t think about them when making decisions or writing these blogs or going through any other portion of the creative process.
I am not the medication I take. I am not the Viibryd, the Lithium Carbonate, the Clonazepam, or the metoprolol. I am not under some sort of mind control nor am I a zombie as part of the side effects of these medications. They do not steal away my personality or my mind, they do not sequester it nor do they alter it. They do not tell me what to do. The misconception is that if you’re medicated for a mood disorder you’re giving up part of yourself in the process or, at least, that’s the reaction I’ve gotten from some people, even those who share the same diagnosis as I.
After having removed from my regimen a medication that stabilized my mood I can tell you that is what it did. And when it was gone, I destabilized for a time before coming back to a sense of equilibrium. But I was still me.
I think people limit themselves or hide themselves behind labels as a means to hide what they feel is their true self because they are afraid or unsure of how the world will react to who they are. This isn’t limited to mental illness. And I know what this is like because it’s something I struggle with all the time. It was only until recently that I only showed my full, true, self only to people I trusted because I knew they wouldn’t use it against me. But something broke in the last few weeks and now I find myself caring less and less about people trying to define me by what they see.
Now I try to define me for them. And it’s a lot more fun to do it my way.
I am probably not who you, or a lot of people, think I am. Here I am just words on a screen but I try to represent myself honestly and openly in hopes that you’ll get it.
I am not my diagnosis. I am not my medications.
I am a child of God. I am a fierce one for the underdog. And I will answer almost any question you ask me.
I am an anomaly.