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Jane T.

When Your Diagnosis Changes

You don't have bipolar disorder. 

I can't even begin to describe the feelings that came over me when I heard my newest diagnosis. 

You don't have bipolar disorder. 

You don't have anxiety disorder. 

You don't have OCD. 

5 Times You Should Call Your Doctor

I can't count the number of times I've debated between calling my doctor and waiting it out. We argue that the doctor can't help, that we just need time to adjust to medication or that it's a waste of time. Here are five times when you should be calling your doctor. 

Someone Who Understands

Jane and her fiance, Dana, each wrote about their relationship for our couples series. 

Jane

How I Found True Love in Mental Illness

Life with bipolar has a lot of ups and downs...and not just for moods. I think relationships, romantic ones, become one of the hardest parts of your life to manage and to keep balanced when you have a mental disorder. 

Romantic relationships include allowing someone into your innermost circle and letting them see all of you – the good and the bad. Not just the loving friend, dedicated worker, or friendly neighbour – in order to have a strong and healthy relationship, eventually you need to share everything. 

What Medications?

Mental illness can be an ugly disease to live with. People talk about the prejudice that they face when people know that they have a mental illness. I've been lucky. I've spoken before about sharing my condition with others and usually nothing too terrible comes from it. 

Until this summer. 

No Two Snowflakes

I’ve always thought that if you have a shared experience, you will be more understanding and compassionate to those around you. 

Yet lately I find myself giving out a double standard. Especially when it comes to employment. I have many people in my life who live with a mental illness. Some are employed full-time, and some are 100% dependent on government assistance. 

I have found myself making excuses for one friend and not another. “Well his illness is more severe than hers.” Or other similar thoughts. 

To Share or Not To Share

To share your mental illness with people or not to share… that is one of the toughest questions we come up against. 

I have always been a very open person - especially about my mental health. But I have always drawn a line between personal and professional relationships and what those relationships mean. I don’t reveal to employers any illness that I have unless necessary. It seems easier to me to build new friendships than to find a new job. 

May Cause Depression

May cause depression. Three of the scariest words I’ve ever read. May. Cause. Depression. As a person living with bipolar, moods are a central point when making decisions. 

If I take this job will I be happy? Will I be forced to give up free time and activities that keep me balanced? 

Do I like this colour? Would having it on the walls depress me? 

From big lifestyle changes to small changes, it filters in. I have a mood disorder. Over the years, I’ve learned to integrate it to my decisions so that I barely notice its effect on my life. Until the decision of: 

That's Not a Real Diagnosis

“That’s not a real illness.” “I don’t believe in mental health.” “If you don’t need medication, you must not really have bipolar.” 

These are just a few of the long stream of comments from people in my life, the most recent being “You know, I don’t think you’re bipolar, I think you have cyclomania,” because having a Bachelor’s in psychology obviously means that you know more than the multiple psychologists and psychiatrists that have confirmed my diagnosis. 

The Scary Diagnosis

I was 19 when I first heard the suggestion that I was bipolar. For me, this was a liberating announcement and not a scary one. Here was an explanation for what was happening to me. The loss of control over my emotions, and progressively my actions, was now explainable and in some cases excusable. 

It was also not a surprising diagnosis. 

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