Friday, February 22, 2013

"Well, go see someone!"

Try talking to me about my depression. I dare you. Actually, I don't, but here's what that conversation looks like. For my dear imaginaries, the main reason I'm writing this is so when people try and start this conversation with me I can just link them to this post, since I'm kinda sick of trying to type this all out articulately at various times when I'm in various mindsets.

"Well, go see someone!"

Um, well, see, there's a problem with that. Several, actually.
 A) I'm in the military. Which means I do have an option for confidentiality (chaplains, and of course there's the speech over how they won't shove their religion down your throat to help you, which I do actually kinda trust), but I'm still putting my career (and essentially my future, since I don't really have prospects for a plan B if I get kicked out just yet. We can discuss this in a later post) in the hands of a random person who would feel bound to do anything necessary to keep me from killing myself on their watch. These options could range to breaking confidentiality and relaying this secret of mine up the chain of command, or they could order me to the doctor and shove pills down my throat, or they could declare me unfit and get me booted out.

Admittedly, I'm not quite sure how a chaplain would handle this situation, and it does kinda depend on what I tell them- there's a sliding scale between absolute truth: "Well sir, I've known I was bipolar well before I joined the military, and I've had suicidal ideation since I was around 7 years old, but I lied on every psych eval to get in the military since I didn't see another option for myself to have a future, but I recently realized that I don't like my brain that much so I want to take shameless advantage of the military's benefits to fix this life-long problem I lied to the Air Force about", half-lie: "Well sir, I recently found out from my parents that I was diagnosed with bipolar at an early age, and it's made alot of things come clear for me- I've always assumed that I was normal, but I did more research and holy shit but my brain is actually rather fucked up, and I think I'd like to see what it would be like if I didn't have random depressive spells, maybe see if I could be an even better, more productive Airman" and shameless lie: "Well sir, I've recently developed suicidal ideation, and thanks to friends not leaving me alone I haven't given into the impulses, but it's gotten to the point where I honestly scare myself and I want to take shameless advantage of the military's benefits to fix this problem". Problem with the truth is that I could very well get kicked out; problem with the half-lie and outright lie is that everyone involved would make incorrect assumptions about the sort of treatment I would need and probably end up fucking me up worse.

B) Treatment options. The two main options are therapy and medication.

Therapy: The is probably the safer route. I could probably go to a chaplain, spill everything that's bothering me, let them help me work out issues, or let the chaplain refer me to a therapist who could help with said issues. The problem with this is... professional therapy wouldn't actually help that much, permanently. I already have a cadre of friends I use as therapists, I meditate daily and I'm slowly researching therapy techniques, psychology, all sorts of things in that general body of knowledge to help myself out. I'm already getting alot of theraputic value at no risk to myself, so to involve risk to my future for better therapy when I'm already getting enough to keep me alive? Hell to the no.

Medication. Aka having some random-ass doctor feed me a bunch of chemicals designed to fuck with my brain that doctors haven't quite gotten the science down on. Meaning there are all sorts of horror stories about how different chemicals affect different people for different reasons and the doctors haven't figured out why yet, and I'm terrified of being a horror story. What's worse, bipolar II (my issue) hasn't been studied nearly as much as bipolar I, bipolar hasn't been studied nearly as much as depression, what works for depression makes the depressive side of bipolar even worse, AND the medications for bipolar are all designed around treating the mania first, depression second. Which sucks for me because I LIKE MY HYPOMANIA, and I know I won't be able to convince any doctor that letting me keep my hypomania is a legitimate option.

C) I am managing alright already. I have made loads of progress on the therapy front; Basic was hell but it also forced me to confront alot of what I hated about myself, so now depressive spells just entitle lac of energy rather than loads of self-hate, I was serious when I said I have a good group of friends as therapists, and I've been meditating daily and doing my best to resolve issues as they come up. As far as intellectual and emotional understanding, I'm pretty damn far ahead of alot of healthy people. I've been paying conscious attention to my mood, the sort of things that trigger certain reactions, practicing emotional regulating techniques to keep bad spells from getting worse and great spells from getting too out of had, and I'm much more regulated than I've ever been. For the chemical front (which is the dominant factor of this whole issue), I've started taking fish oil supplements based on some research I found (multiple sources confirming this, yes it's casual internet research but then again I can't really do much harm to myself with this) that suggests that the omega-3 proteins can help ease depression while boosting/ignoring maniac effects (differing opinions), which is certainly my goal. And yes, I've been incorporating ways to protect my life from suicidal ideation- not letting myself research best ways to kill myself (beyond what knowledge I've already gathered, and I know half of which is probably inaccurate), not letting myself buy rope, not letting myself leave my room when I'm depressed unless I'm in the company of friends or going to work (aka not letting myself climb the stairs and jump off the fourth floor), etc.

And yes, I do know that my bipolar is all about the chemicals in my brain, therapy won't really change the fact that I get major depressive and maniac spells, so if I want to stop feeling depressed I need to seriously fuck with my brain chemicals. Which I'm terrified of doing. And adding the possible damage to my future as a condition for fucking with my brain.... yeah, hell to the no. I'll stick with what I have and occasionally rail against Fate for putting me in the position to where I'm no longer allowed to consider killing myself as an escape option. Life sucks and then you die, and all that...

And no, I haven't figured out why the hell I'm feeling the need to talk about this shit on this blog. If you figure it out, let me know XD

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