Mental illness

With the latest of far too many suicides of friends of friends of mine, I feel I want to do my part in combatting the deep feelings of solitude that can be part of the emotions leading up to something so drastic. It is often not Something You Talk About, but for a few years, I have felt it more and more important to talk about it anyway -- so that maybe, just maybe, someone else in my field, in my surroundings, realizes that what they are going through can be combatted.

I am bipolar. I was diagnosed in 2002 with Mixed State Bipolar Disorder. I was medicated, I had therapy, and after a couple of years, my disorder was essentially under control. 2011-2013 or so, my problems crept back, and early 2013 I was diagnosed with a Light Depression, and given medication for it. As I write this, I have been medicating for less than a week, so it is a bit early ot see what exactly comes of it.

For me, both the manic experiences (hypomania at its worst -- I have never been quite up to the standards of clinical mania) and the depressive experiences alter my perception of reality. It is difficult for me to remember what it was like to be in any other emotional state. It becomes difficult for me to accurately read other people -- I tend to exaggerate what other people are feeling. If I am on the manic side, everyone clearly loves me, and loves everything I'm doing no matter what the real case is. If I am on the depressive side, everything I do is wrong, and people who are nice to me only do this for nebulously nefarious reasons. At times, my perceptions are so far off target I'm terrified to even speak to the people I know love me.

Nowadays, I tend to know, on an intellectual level, that what I am feeling is temporary. That it is not true, as it were. I gained this ability through my therapy, and while it is not a panacea, it tends to help me deal for a while before I can get back onto an even keel.

I think it is important we talk about these things. That we recognize that very many people are struggling with mental issues, and that if you are struggling too -- even though you may feel isolated, alone, unable to communicate, and unable to break out of where you are: chances are someone else around you has had similar feelings, similar experiences. Reach out: there is help to be found.

Stockholm, 12 January 2013.
Mikael Vejdemo-Johansson