reply to post by PatrickGarrow17
I've been very open about my psychiatric issues on ATS. I am diagnosed with Bipolar, PTSD, and five additional, lesser issues, most of which are sub
categories of the "big two".
I take a very small dose of Xanax and a small dose of an older SSNRI each night. On paper the doses are insignificant enough that, when I have to see
a new medical doctor for any given reason, it causes them to doubt the sincerity of my problems. It takes quite a lot to try and convince them that my
doses are that light because I have put decades of work into getting them that way. Once upon a time I was on much, much stronger medication and at
much higher levels. I made the personal choice to become accustomed to my symptoms and to adapt to them, rather than to spend my life on strong
Still. Take away those minor doses? Within 48 to 72 hours not only can I feel the difference, but others, around me, can see it. I become much more
emotional and highly aggressive. This is a function of my Bipolar disorder. In my case, my manic state is not very pronounced and went undiagnosed for
years. I am atypical. My manic state manifests in behaviors that don't stand out in our society too strongly. I tend to just get very flirty and
promiscuous with women, and aggressive with males. I also become highly jovial.
Thus my manic state would seem to most people like I was just some slightly arrogant guy at a bar, trying to blow off steam by picking fights and
trying to pick up every cute female in sight. Much of this got overlooked, though, because I also bought rounds, picked up bar tabs, and my nature is
to joke around a lot. So my "isms" were accepted by the group. I was considered a great guy. Fun at parties and always entertaining.
I spent more than two decades of my life in this state.
Beginning in 2003 a person I trusted and cared for very much urged me to start going to therapy. She and I lived together and she could see the less
"shiny" aspects of my illness. She could see the nuanced compulsions that haunt my life ( ATS is a perfect example. When am I NOT here? ). She could
also see that, beneath the happy exterior, I was miserable. My coping mechanism was to make everyone around me happy - and not to worry about myself.
I honesty don't know why this was - and still don't get it. But it was true. As long as those around me were smiling? I was smiling. If they stopped
smiling? I did whatever it took to make them start again. I never focused upon or worried about myself. Which is, in itself, strange - because much of
my behavior during those years had the appearance of being selfish. Go out with a guy who insists upon paying, who insists upon telling jokes and
guiding the conversation, who insists upon making sure everyone else is having a blast. It ends up being seen as ego and self-absorption. A control
In 2007 I, finally, had a total breakdown. I've discussed it before on ATS and don't care to do so today.
Since 2003, however, I have been "in the system". Not an inpatient ( ever ) but very participatory in the county mental health clinic. Upon request,
I have even attended Q&A sessions with local police to help them better understand mental illness and to demonstrate that it doesn't have to be
obvious to be legitimate. I also attended and helped to run weekly group therapy sessions for 8 years.
I am friends with and am acquainted with literally hundreds, if not thousands, of mentally ill people. Some, very, very obviously so. Others get
better and disappear.
There are people diagnosed who are never
put on medication. I have known many. In fact the doctors I deal with are often hesitant to prescribe
medication. It all depends upon how obviously troubled a patient is. There are many
people who fake mental illness as a means of trying to get
prescription medication. That, in and of itself, is enough to dissuade good doctors from going straight to meds as an answer.
There is no doubt that psychiatry is an evolving science. It is not, IMO, an exact one yet. One of your OP examples shows that grief is now being
listed as a depressive state. IMO this is good. It allows doctors to prescribe medication, temporarily, if the grief or separation anxiety in a person
is strong enough to warrant it. And they can do so without fear of being sued or having their right to practice taken away for "prescribing off
In the end, some here will say "I can relate" - and others will post that mental health is BS and that it's just an excuse or a lie, based upon a
myriad of motives. All I can say in reply is to restate what I said above... Without my medication? I can feel the difference and the people around me
can see it. Without it my life would be much less fulfilling and enjoyable.