Saturday, February 11, 2017

And Then Things Change

It’s only been a few weeks since I “came out” on social media as a person living with depression.  I had long thought of writing a blog about my journey but, throughout much of the past few years, I simply didn’t have the brain power after the end of a day or week at work to do so. 

I still didn’t, really, last month when I finally came out. But it was Bell Let’s Talk Day, and I decided to stop waiting for when I felt rested, or clear-headed, or articulate enough and just do it.  Reading the influx of posts from others dealing with mental health issues gave me the push I needed to finally just do it and not wait for the right time.

I’m glad I did. I’ve had so many people approach me since then – from my personal and professional worlds – to comment on my post.  It has opened up doors of communication; renewed old friendships; introduced new ones. 
And just as I was becoming a bit used to being a face of depression, things changed. 

I had an appointment on Friday with a psychiatrist for an assessment.  Previous diagnosis and treatment had been at the hands of multiple GPs and psychologists; this was my first time meeting with a psychiatrist. After one and a half hours of questions, seemingly random to me, he delivered his diagnosis: bipolar II. 

I can’t say I’m surprised. I’d begun to suspect as much over the past year or two, as my depression treatment lifted me up enough to be more and more functional, to read and learn more about mental illness, to better assess my being, to better track my moods and symptoms …   The more I tracked, the more a pattern began to emerge.  Once the depression became a bit more manageable, I began to see the other monsters lurking in the shadows.

The result of my assessment wasn’t what I wanted. But it isn’t surprising to me, and it does explain a lot, about my past and present.  And while I look ahead with some trepidation, I also look ahead. I see a route to follow, a diagnosis that makes sense, a treatment plan to follow.  I know it won’t be easy, but now that I’ve started talking about it, I also have a tribe to share this journey with. 

And that helps.   

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