Automatically whenever I say that I have bipolar people automatically assume that I go through seven different moods in one day. I enjoy educating people that it isn’t that simple. I go through episodes of hypomania (which means I’m very impulsive, excited, euphoric, I do have the occasional delusion and hallucination, etc.) and phases of depression (My symptoms are usually depersonalization, apathy, lack of motivation). These phases aren’t within days of each other. They’re usually in phases of weeks.
The problem with treating bipolar is that the only two choices of medications you can take are mood stabilizers and anti-psychotics. Also, when you experience bipolar, chances are that’s not your only problem. I also had to be on anti-anxiety medication and a sleep aid. And you have to find the perfect combination with the least amount of interactions. Some drugs can’t be mixed together. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against therapy, there was a time in my life where I went once a week. But therapy alone doesn’t help mitigate the impact bipolar makes on your life.
My first problem with the medication is mostly the side effects. With any medication, there are going to be side effects. But with me, my anxiety causes me to have ridiculous hypochondria. Of course, when I’m on my anti-anxiety medication, I don’t worry so much about it. I study the side effects to watch out for, so when I notice one, I immediately freak out. These aren’t simple side effects like nausea or sleepiness. The symptoms I have to watch out for is sleep paralysis, seizures, bleeding from my nose, heart attack, etc.
The second problem I have with treating it is the stigma. A lot of people believe that I should give up medication and just use therapy and just use “holistic medicine”. They have a problem that medication doesn’t cure the illness. I agree. It doesn’t cure it. Right now there isn’t a cure. And for the most part, medication can help make it easier to deal with. Life is already hard enough, why not make it a little bit easier?
But regardless, the brain can be sick. If you think the brain can’t be sick, it’s probably because (drum roll) your brain isn’t sick. Just let people be because medication isn’t for everyone. So the three people who can cope without medication shouldn’t be the spokespeople for medication. And I swear, if anybody tells me I can get the same impact of my medication by eating 17 oranges in one day, I will throw a fit.
The absolute last problem I have is the cost. Some of my medications with insurance have been upwards of $50 a month. And that’s only one. Every month. Without insurance, it was around $600. I don’t have to explain how wrong that is. The price of mental health should not be this expensive. People should not have to struggle so hard every day just to pay the bills and their medication.
I was raised in a very supportive family that did not make me feel bad about having a mental illness. I have heard horror stories from friends that their parents completely reject the idea of mental illness as a whole. Dealing with a mental illness is hard but that’s only the half of it. We have to deal with the rest of the world against us at the same time.