These are questions (and one person’s answers or, really, one person’s additional questions) posed almost two years ago by a high-functioning bipolar patient. I imagine that many are things most HFMI people think about regardless of specific diagnosis. Since reading this blog post, I have thought of these several times, and I think they’re a good way to get the alternative-to-group ball rolling. While I am not copying-and-pasting her answers (follow the link for that), full credit to Laura Yaeger for her unwitting contribution-by-proxy:
1. Do I really need to take my meds?
2. Should I “come out” in my family, the neighborhood, or at work?
My immediate family knows. A small few of my friends. Beyond that, I don’t know that “should” is the right word for this question. I do wonder what I might gain. Then, I wonder what I might lose.
3. Can I take (normal and not-so-normal) risks?
I take no risks. Practically none. My anxiety and paranoia regarding almost everything mean that I don’t do simple things that most people think require a healthy amount of risk-taking. I believe that I’m missing out on some experiences through this decision. I also believe that that’s the only risk I’m willing to take. Right now I think that’s sad.
4. How do I cope if I start to get ill?
I can’t pretend to be able to answer this question right here in two sentences.
5. Should I marry?
I am married. Yaeger asked in her post, “Who would want to marry me? How can I trust a total stranger?” I am lucky. I married someone who has seen the worst in my disorder, and loves me anyway. Maybe that’s wrong. He loves me because he knows I can get out of it.
6. Should I have/raise children?
See Number 4.
7. How much responsibility can I handle at work?
I don’t know. The breaking point keeps moving. (Clap if you feel me on that one.) Sometimes, I can handle a lot, and if I don’t have enough to do I’ll lose it from feeling idle. Sometimes, I can’t handle anything and the anxiety of being incapable only makes it worse.
8. How does my illness relate to my spirituality?
This is not for me to answer. Please, someone else take this.
9. Will I become seriously ill again?
I always say that I will never go back there again. I will never be that again. The truth is, the best I can do is just the best I can do. I don’t know.
10. Should I be proud of myself?
Everyone, HFMI or not, should probably be proud of themselves. If you aren’t proud of yourself for something, you’re not doing it right. Go, find that thing, do it, and be proud.
So, that’s the IceBreaker. Your turn.