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Home: Writings: Essays & Rants: A Troubled Life

A Troubled Life

I have a very troubled life. I guess that it has always been that way since I was a child. From being teased, to being totally isolated at times, I have gone from one extreme to another. I have seen many "professionals" for help and all they have said is that "It takes time, Darren." I have been hearing this for over 32 years, or quite honestly, since I was born. Being sick and tired of being sick and tired is an old cliché, but it really applies in my case.

Labels are an important part of every day life and when dealing with my own mental illnesses, this is no exception. Currently, I am diagnosed with Bipolar II Affective Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. These helpful labels have been bestowed on me based on extensive study of me by five psychiatrists and four family physicians. The labels are based on criteria set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV by the American Psychiatric Association. The Manual is the "Bible" that psychiatrists use to help diagnose people, but I am firmly of the belief that it contains no information that is no more helpful than the "Racing Form" that people use to pick bets on at the race track. The same principle can be used in picking numbers when rolling dice because it is all simply a guess. Rolling dice is how the psychiatrists make their diagnoses anyway, since it is very rare to find two psychiatrists who independently reach the same diagnosis. Yet, the labels have to exist, the wonderful things that they are.

People wonder why it is that I can change moods from being quite friendly, gregarious and active to being nearly suicidal. I tell them it is because I am Bipolar and that rapidly shifting moods are its primary indicators. I also tell them that because of the specific subtype of Bipolar Disorder that I have, ultradian rapid cycling type, that my moods will change within the hour and as a result, treatment options for me are quite limited. Much of the replies to me are very simplistic and downright annoying like "Get over it" or "Don't think about it." Indeed! Saying that to me would be like telling a cancer patient to forget about having cancer or telling a diabetic to forget about using insulin. It seems to me that people are afraid of talking about a mental illness or mood problem as being a real medical concern, as compared to a physical ailment.

An hour ago before I started writing this self description, I felt quite energetic and I wanted to do many things, which is a symptom of hypomania -- an addicting part of the world of Bipolar II Disorder. Its antithesis, major depression, is striking me now and it is making me question my ability to do anything at all, and more importantly, it is making me question my will to live. I am extremely nervous because I do not know what the next few days and weeks will hold for me and this comes on top of the Generalized (constant) Anxiety that I always have present.

I am quite sick of my life. I feel that I will never accomplish anything in life because of all this medical nonsense that I have to deal with. No doctor has helped me and I doubt that one ever will. Yes, there are people worse off than me in the world, but when I am ready to take my own life, I will question that statement. I could go on forever describing my feelings, like the idea that I think that I am being abandoned by everybody, but that would mean that I have a mental illness wouldn't it? I certainly would not want that. What would the neighbours think?

Modified December 11, 2002

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