Saturday, August 28, 2010

Two worlds and mentalist obsession

I read the book ‘a girl interrupted’ a couple of weeks ago on the recommendation of a shrink who did a home visit. I have watched the film several times. The opening chapter mentions how this whole mental health world is a different universe that runs parallel to the ‘real’ world. It got me thinking. You see in the six weeks I took a break from blogging I thought I could distance myself from this other world. I couldn’t, it still consumes my thoughts, still reading up on it via internet, books, news. I still talk about it. I still have my bi-weekly (or sometimes more at mo) meet up with my CMHT. It still keeps me awake. It has taken over my life. Am I obsessed?

You see in the past, a past I can barely remember say before two and half years ago. I didn’t know anything of this other world. CMHT, CPA and CC or CCo I would have assumed were initials for some global company or such. I don’t think I had ever heard the term Bipolar or that personalities could be disordered(I still struggle with this idea). I knew there were antidepressants (Prozac) and I knew there were psychiatric wards. That was it. It was a scary other world I the high-achiever with a stable adolescence and early adulthood didn’t need to think about.

Now I live eat and breathe in this other parallel world. I’ve lost my anchor point. I thought knowledge was power so I made it my mission to learn everything. I know a great deal about psychiatry and particularly my diagnosis of bipolar affective disorder. In fact I even spent a recent visit to a bipolar specialist and professor discussing the DSM-V (but that’s another post). But to what end? Does it help me avoid this rapid cycling? No. Does knowing the theory around why my moods change or why I fit their diagnostic criteria make the illness more tolerable? No. All it does is make me an informed but I’m guessing a more difficult patient.
Now the question is. Can I find my way back to that other world. Or will I always have one leg planted here? I can’t unlearn the information. I can’t forget the hospital admissions, A&E visits, crisis calls etc. In fact I can’t get rid of my team or their endless visits. You see like the author of ‘Girl interrupted’ puts when you are in the ‘normal’ world, this world doesn’t exist just like it didn’t for me three-ish year ago but

‘ Once in the parallel universe, one is perfectly aware of the world left behind.’

Anyway It is early hours now so if you got this far what do you think?


NOS said...

I don't know; it's hard to say. I think once you have stepped foot into this "world" you CAN leave it, but you don't go back to the way things were before your illness. I think once you have a taste of mental illness you'll always know something that others can't really know. Call me crazy (pun intended), but I think that's really valuable.

Wishing you well,

Sairs said...

I read girl interrupted about ten years ago and it was my favourite book for a while. I lived the life of the craziness in the book girl interrupted as I almost acted out the life of Susanna in my own life. My identity was so all over the place that I used to taken on those of people in books and films. The poor nurses that had to deal with me over that time deserve a medal, lol. I agree with NOS too, that you can leave this world, I have left it now too, though I step back every now and then when I am not well. I know that I can leave and sometimes I completely forget it. I think you could get there too.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant blog, I had not come across earlier during my searches!
Keep up the great work!

maledictis said...

Good question. I don't actually think it is possible to go backwards - experience being experience, et cetera. However, I do think it is possible to find different viewpoints, frameworks, ways of thinking about the whole caboodle that don't depend on the jargon and the rough-sketch of mental illness de jour... I certainly find it useful to just describe things *in my own words* and sod the DSM etc. I suddenly find I have much more in common with many more so-called normal people... :-)

And yes, I agree to an extent with NOS - it is valuable, but simultaneously crippling if one lets it get the better of one.

Take care, dx

Purplesapho said...

Oh love this post.

I think it is possible to go back, for better or worse people are very resilient.

I'm glad to see you again

Cassie said...

Interesting post. I find myself very involved in this world of mental ill health too, perhaps far more than I should be. I think your experiences will always be a part of who you are, but that doesn't mean you're always going to struggle with mental illness, I think it is possible to use your knowledge and experiences to grow from it.

Take care,
Cassie x

Ruby Tuesday said...

Excellent post; I feel like it explains a lot of what I've been thinking about recently. I'm not sure that I'll ever not have at least a toe in this world, although at the moment, it feels like more of me is here than in the 'real world'. It's hard juggling both.