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Has there been a moment when you felt you were losing touch with reality? When what you thought you know gets replaced with verbs and nouns that your brain cannot register? That is how I felt on my last visit with my psychiatrist.

I remember sitting in the waiting room and going through exactly what I was going to tell my doctor: “I want to get off medication. It has been two years since we began treatment and I feel great. I think I’m cured.” The thought of not taking medication every single day made me excited. I wanted to feel ‘normal’; and I associated normal with no medication.

However as I told my psychiatrist about my thoughts, I could see sadness creep in her eyes. She smiled and told me it was not going to be possible at this point in time. After reviewing her notes and seeing my reactions to the various combinations we tried, she has come to a conclusion about my current state: I didn’t have sever depression, rather I have bipolar II.

Bipolar II…

Writing this post is difficult because I have to acknowledge that I too had the stereotypical view of what bipolar was. I believed the notion of ‘half crazy’ that was fed to me by the media. I felt like I had failed everyone living with a mental illness; I am ashamed to admit that it took a change of diagnosis to realise how much I didn’t know about other disorders.

I don’t know if I have come to terms with my diagnosis. I can’t bring myself to tell my family or my friends. If anything, I want to run away. Through care to the wind and hopefully out run the darkness that always seems to be nearby. The thought of it makes me cry, because it feels like starting all over again. I feels like I now have to question whether my happy moments are indeed happy moments or moments of hypomania. I feel as though I cannot trust myself; I cannot trust the happiness I feel. I question my recovery: am I getting better or just experiencing the flip side of my disorder?

I’m scared.

VP

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Ros Limbo
mulemwa.limbo@gmail.com