Bipolar Disorder, Living With (cont.)
I think reading can be helpful and talking with other people can be helpful. I was fortunate in having quite a bit of understanding from friends and family, but there's no question that it is a very, very difficult sort of thing to deal with and anyone who says otherwise probably has not been there.
There are certainly many overlapping symptoms between ADHD and bipolar illness. Sometimes people have both illnesses. Sometimes people have only bipolar illness and are misdiagnosed as having both.
I obviously couldn't say in your particular instance, but I would learn as much about both of the illnesses as I could, and I would talk to my doctor and ask as many questions as you can.
PS: Your book The Unquiet Mind is amazing and I have so much respect for you that you never let it stop you from getting what you wanted out of life. You are truly one of my mentors. Light and love.
There certainly is a correlation between thyroid problems and mood disorders. People who have mood disorders are much more likely to have a history of thyroid illness. Some people who are put on lithium develop thyroid problems which are pretty easily treated by thyroid replacement. We know just a lot of things about what goes on in the brain and one of the things is that there is a relationship between thyroid functioning and mood disorders.
As far as antidepressants go, we also know that with certain kinds of bipolar illness, antidepressants can make the illness worse. It can precipitate mania, it can precipitate mixed states, it can make the illness more rapid cycling and more difficult to treat. That's not true for everyone who has bipolar illness but it's certainly true for many people who have bipolar illness.
I was actually quite delighted, in general, with the response of my colleagues. I had always told the colleagues I worked most closely with that I had bipolar illness, but I had not told most of my colleagues and they were more supportive than I really thought that they would be.
There's no question that people look at you differently and treat you differently. There's on occasion the very patronizing remark. You are, I guess, just regarded differently. I think that you can only influence other people's opinions up to a point, and the most important person's opinion that you can influence is your own.
One of the best things that you can do is really just become convinced yourself that that's not a negative, that it is part of who you are and just take strength from it. Take strength from what you learn from the adversity and just don't give other people the power to make things even more difficult. Having said that, I realize it's a lot easier said than done.
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