Friday, February 23, 2007

Mood Watch - 34

Still on an even keel. Tending to get up early and go to bed early, a routine I am coming increasingly to like.

I had an interesting experience last week with a woman who was a little freaked out to learn that I had bipolar disorder. The main reason was that she believed her father had had bipolar disorder, though he was never diagnosed, much less treated, and who created a very chaotic family environment. (Her assessment was retrospective and based on reading the DSM-IV criteria, which she said he fit in textbook fashion.)

At any rate, for a couple of days I engaged with her on the assumption that it might be a healing experience for her to be able to talk candidly and at length with someone who had bipolar disorder. She was still dubious about my claim to be able to manage the disorder effectively.

Then I discovered she’d been married three times, had once taken off on impulse with a man she described as a sociopath (and who bilked her out of thousands of dollars), and considered every relationship she’d had with a man to have been abusive. My therapist pointed out how chaotic was the life the woman had created for herself, and thought her skepticism about my ability to handle bipolar disorder was a classic case of projection.

And come to think of it, the people with the most confidence in my ability to handle the illness have been those with the highest degree of self-possession. It’s an interesting insight.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Mood Watch - 33

I’ve let too much time go by between entries, but generally speaking my mood has been on an even keel from a biochemical standpoint. Any alterations have been pretty clearly due to circumstances or, in one case, a sudden opening of ancient wounds that have yet to heal.

Since my last entry I met with an undergraduate who’d experienced a depressive spell and just wanted to talk it over with someone who’d been there. (Of course, a lot of people have been there; most just refuse to acknowledge the fact.) Anyway, I wound up playing Polonius and offering a lot of advice about forestalling depressions when possible and rolling with the punches when one does occur. Recently got an appreciative email. The student has actually implemented most of my suggestions, and says that they have helped.

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