Monday, March 29, 2010

The Difference Between "I" and "II"

So I met my new psychiatrist today.  He seems like a great guy.  He's got energy and is amusing.  The appointment went well over all.  I always have to laugh at the required psychiatric questions they have to ask though.  "Other than my voice and your voice, are you hearing any other voices."  LOL.  That one always makes me laugh.

Sometimes I wish I did hear other voices.  Then at least I could have a conversation with someone when I was all alone.  Other times, I think they would be quite entertaining.  I always picture Jan Brady in the Brady Bunch movie with her voices going back and forth.  I can almost imagine what it might be like to have them fighting back and forth in my head.  Hehe.  I think it would be rather entertaining...unless I am trying to sleep.  Then my husband would just look at me funny when I yell at myself to shut up.

Then there are the ever popular medical history questions.  The problem with those forms is they always ask "Do you have or have you ever had:"  and then there is this whole list of issues, yet they don't have you differentiate between past and present.  So I have all these things marked and the guy was all surprised by how many things were going on and I had to sit there and go through the list again with him, clarifying what was past and what was present.  Stupid forms.  Just make one column of check boxes for past and one for present.  There.  Problem solved.  You're welcome.

Ok.  So I really am not blogging to complain about forms or to entertain myself with thoughts of voices in my head.  The biggest reason is for the diagnosis change I had when leaving the office. As you know from following this blog, I have Bipolar Disorder.  For the last 12 years, it has always been Bipolar II.  For those not familiar with the different designations of bipolar, Bipolar II is often perceived as a milder form of bipolar, characterized with more downs than ups, and the ups never get to full blown "mania" stage.  Instead they linger just below that in a state called "hypomania."  Bipolar I is often perceived as the more severe form with both full blown manias and deep depressions.  Sometimes, Bipolar I can be couple with Psychosis which will involved hearing things (yes, those voices I was chuckling about), seeing things, or basically being out of touch with reality.  There is also another form of rapid cycling bipolar but we won't get into that now.  I was always content with the Bipolar II diagnosis since I had a much more difficult time with the depressions than the hypo/manias.

Well the news I received today is that I have been upgraded, in a way, to Bipolar I.  I didn't think much of it at first.  Bipolar is bipolar and it will have the same stigma no matter what category you fall into.  It isn't like Bipolar I is similar to paralysis while Bipolar II is a stubbed toe.  No.  The stigma goes, you have bipolar, you are a crazy, psychotic, lunatic who is either going to kill us all or yourself.  But then on the drive home, it hit me more and more that this could possible mean something.  Either 1) the doc doesn't know what he is talking about, 2) the other docs didn't know that they were talking about, or 3) I have changed.  I no longer know what to think now.  Do I really have a bigger problem with depression or do I actually have a problem with  mania too and I didn't realize it?

It is funny how the simple subtraction of a Roman Numeral "I" can feel so different.  And then you start to question yourself and everything you thought you knew about yourself.  But should I really be questioning that?  Blue is still blue whether seen in bright or dim lighting, but blue is not blue when you add yellow to it.  So now I find myself spinning in circles in my head, wondering how I can comes to terms with this one, tiny, small change.  How can one single number change so much in my head?  Or maybe that is all this is?  Just change, something I already don't deal with well.  Damn I hate change.