Old Post Day | Breaking Up With Manic Depression

The basic problem with blogs is the more you write, the more gets left behind in the archives. So a few times a month I’m going to leave excerpts from my original posts which I think can really help people who are just starting out on their recovery, then link them to the original so maybe someone can also find something useful in the original discussions.

For this Old Post Day I’ve selected a post which basically represents my manifesto on fighting manic depression. When I first started Salted Lithium I was writing to myself, so when the word “you” appeared in my posts it was mostly me talking directly to me, not ‘a reader’. So in this piece, when I wrote “Manic depression didn’t force your girlfriend to miscarry”, I was talking about my girlfriend and the miscarriage of our child.

This post is about separating myself from the mythology of manic depression, and proving to myself that I was more than the sum of the disease.

Excerpts From:

Manic Depression Did Not Rape You
And It Certainly Didn’t Kill Your Dog
May 20, 2007

For too long we’ve deluded ourselves into believing manic depression was either something to be perversely proud of or something to be desperately ashamed of… but the mystique is a lie, it’s just a fucking disease.

Why do we have such a hard time convincing ourselves and others about the horrible effects this disease has on us when there are a million fucking web sites and blogs about Manic Depression and every Pharmaceutical company sells an anti-depressant or a mood stabilizer, and there’s certainly no shortage of websites dedicated to selling the pills or telling us why those pills are evil… so, with all of this information so available, why is this disease so misunderstood?

Manic depression did not divorce your parents. Manic depression does not care one little fucking bit about you and your life. There’s nothing personal about Manic Depression… untreated, however, manic depression will prevent you from dealing with all of those issues.

The damage to who you are from those rapes, those divorces, those episodes, those instances, those happenings will fester and grow for as long as you refuse to get treated for the disease. What is personal is the crap you haven’t had the ability to deal with since the disease took over. Manic depression didn’t force your girlfriend to miscarry, but unmedicated the disease will prevent you from dealing with The Things That Happen in your life. You have to stop believing Manic Depression is a definition so you can get the Disease out of the way so you can start dealing with the depressing shit that has happened in your life.

Take the fucking pills… consult with your doctor, ask her questions, check websites for information about those pills… educate yourself so you can answer the questions that will come when you tell someone about the Disease. Bring your family into an appointment — NOT so you can discuss the personal shit that has been festering for one, two, eight, eighteen years, but so they can be told about the severity of this disease and about what they can do to make your recovery easier. But, most importantly, Take The Fucking Pills…

Pronouns are strange things. One of the first lessons I learned as a columnist was how to use them to — not just draw in a reader, but make the reader believe they’re the focus of the column.

When I started Salted I was using the technique on myself, but of course some other people — people who are rabidly anti-psychiatry and anti-medications — have taken great offence to some of the things I’ve written.

Which actually isn’t that big a deal. But it has been interesting how people have reacted over the past few years when I write “take the fucking pills”.

“Take the fucking pills” is something I’ve screamed at myself in the past when I’d miss a few doses in a row. But it is a mantra most people with manic depression should, in my opinion, tattoo on their forearm.

This was the first full post I wrote on Salted after taking a nearly three month break to concentrate on my Cultural Sn:afu blog. But I realized fairly quickly I still had things to work out, and here I still am two years later.

There was also an interesting discussion in the comments. There are some names in there who have stopped blogging, moved on to other blogs or just gone missing. Which is too bad, and they’re missed.


OPD Original Link

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About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression in 1989, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. I have an 8-year old son, and a 4-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at saltedlithium.com....
This entry was posted in Bipolar, Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, Clinical Depression, crazy people with no pants, Health, Lithium, Old Post Day. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Old Post Day | Breaking Up With Manic Depression

  1. thordora says:

    So my question is, when does manic depression STOP being all other people see? I’m so tired of everything I do being blamed on it, when I KNOW it’s not.

  2. bromac says:

    I love this post.

    I’ve often wondered why it is so misunderstood. I think in the past it was a hush-hush topic. My first experiences with the disease were from television, ER to be exact. It just wasn’t something discussed in public, ya know. That’s my theory anyway.

    Now, unfortunately, it is being used as a slang term by people (kids) who have no earthly idea of what they’re saying. I cringe every time a student of mine is talking trash about someone and says “she’s so bipolar”. I think we have Britney Spears to thank for this.

    Unfortunately, I’ve yet to grow the balls to tell them I am bipolar and to actually educate them on the topic.

    I’m now trying to deal with “The Things That Happen in your life”. it’s fucking hard, dude.

  3. Immi says:

    Oh yeah on the depressing things in life still being there. But they sure are easier to deal with once the bipolar is under control.
    I love “take the fucking pills”, as it turns out, but hey, I’m weird *and* bipolar 😉

  4. I loved this post. I think it’s awesome that you’re talking about manic depression in the open. I think that even to a large degree today- it is a subject that is sort of “hush hush”- that people feel uncomfortable discussing..

  5. Iris says:

    “For too long we’ve deluded ourselves into believing manic depression was either something to be perversely proud of or something to be desperately ashamed of… but the mystique is a lie, it’s just a fucking disease.”

    For the LONGEST time I was afraid to go see a therapist/explore medication because I thought being bipolar/depressed was what made me a creative writer, a musician, a fun and funny person….but it was also making me immensely unhappy, and destroying relationships with people, and generally fucking up my life. Now that I’ve been seeing a therapist and taking medication, I am still creative, fun and funny, but I am better able to manage those creative endeavors, and I am better and finding and retaining people in my life that can enjoy my creative acts and fun and funny behavior.

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