Six weeks ago I relapsed from my addiction recovery and, subsequently, from my Bipolar Disorder recovery. The two are so intertwined that a distinction can barely be made by me or my mental health team. When I use substances I also quit taking my medications. When I quit taking my medications I am more likely to use substances to control growing symptoms.
You are here
“Bipolar (Disorder) people must have magnets to one another, because since I met you I have met all your friends and they all have Bipolar Disorder,” observes my partner. So I do a quick search of the internet:
A 2009 thread describes a similar phenomenon. In fact, most of the “evidence” I found was anecdotal (about 8 forums that spanned 2009-2015).
However, social psychology holds the following basic tenant:
I just watched A Beautiful Mind again and found the premise that love conquers all somewhat hyperbolic in the film (I kept thinking, “If you’d just take your meds…”). But then I remembered my college English teacher, who said hyperbole usually contains a shred of truth that it is built on. So, I thought I would chronical my life and loves and examine the effect one had on the other.
I knew you’d be knocking at my door soon.
Your familiar spirit--always unwelcomed--but persistent.
She asked me “What are you depressed about?”
I wanted to shout “About the serotonin depletion,
The change in weather that makes my synapses misfire,
I dreamed of having a child throughout my formative years. When asked what I would be when I grew up, I readily answered “A Mommy!” I doted on baby dolls, babysat throughout my teen years and dressed every cat we ever owned up as a baby. I deeply wanted to know the connection, but had problems with my reproductive system, including massive scarring, that doctors said would prohibit me from successfully carrying a baby to term. Still: I dreamed, prayed and hoped.
Much has been written and said about a potential link between the hypomanias of Bipolar Disorder and creativity. Last month’s Webinar, Igniting The Creative Fire: The Neurobiology Of Creativity In Bipolar Disorder With Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan, explored the link with more scholarly insight than I am able to do, but I wanted to weigh in on the subject, from my own experience.
“Population-based studies have documented that among all patients with major psychiatric disorders, those with bipolar disorder have the highest prevalence of comorbid substance abuse and dependence” (Tohen, et. al 1998, Pg. 133).
Liz was diagnosed as Bipolar Disorder I, NOS during college in 1996. As a Psychology/Women’s Studies major, she was relieved and intrigued by her diagnosis, but not surprised. Both her siblings and Mother were also diagnosed Type I or Type II Bipolar Disorder. During 1998 their family all partook in a genetics study done on blood relatives with a high prevalence of Bipolar Disorder diagnoses.