We Are Not Our Disease

I was recently in California, visiting a dear friend. She was crushed because she realized the Depression she had lived with for years was, instead, Bipolar I. A lot of her feelings were based on the fact hat her husband of 11 years has severe Depression/Bipolar.   She was the one who always took care of everything. The previous several months had been very hard on her. She spent a lot of time in her bed; her therapist quit; she had her husband were building a house from the studs up. Her Mother of Conflict and her heavily drinking brother were making her life crazy and her Mother subsequently died.  Major factors were making her life miserable. However, I’m not the Doctor and while I think she’s right – she bought a 27 acre, beautiful property against the warnings of her husband – she needs a trained professional to verify she , indeed, has the condition.

However, all of this got me thinking.  I had been in a down mood prior to going to California, but was rejuvenated there.  My moods shift more often than before.  Sometimes I can’t tell what mood I am experiencing. I thought I was only Depressed for years but while looking back over journals 35 years old, I noticed I was definitely Bipolar then.  Next, I started thinking of being Bipolar in general.  There are all sorts of nuances, facets, depths and ambiguity in Bipolar people. It looks different in each person and from day to day. There are things you can do to limit intensity like staying on meds and eating right.

We struggle some days, bounce off the walls some days, and feel great and balanced on yet other days (which might really be you are on a manic high).  But largely, we are like a lot of people on the streets and in the stores.  Most people in this world have issues of one kind or another. We don’t have to minimize ourselves just because of our disease. We are not our disease! We are human beings with scars and wounds, just like so many others,  I, for one, will try like hell not to wear my disease as a cloak around me, because I want to be as healthy as possible.  And I know most of us feel the same way.

  

One thought on “We Are Not Our Disease”

  1. Your primary point — we are not our disease — is spot on.

    Although the circumstances are different, it made me think of a good friend who quite recently took a tumble, breaking her foot and her nose. In the process of breaking her nose, her face turned into a swollen, symmetrically bruised mess that made me laugh the first time I saw her. (It’s a good thing we’re such good friends — although, if we weren’t friends, I probably would have stifled my laughter.)

    We talked a bit about the issue of going out in public, looking like “that.” She’s scheduled to leave on a cruise this weekend, and although the foot isn’t giving her any particular problem, there’s still those black eyes, and so on. She said she had struggled through to the conclusion that, however silly she looks, her face is only an injured face, and she is the one taking her trip — not her face. In short, she’s not her injury, any more than anyone can be reduced to their disease.

    Like

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