The wall I ran into was published in this blog a few months ago, in the entry “Turning Points” where I share how missing my Grandmother’s funeral helped to save my life, because the neurologist I saw to get checked out saw beyond what the MRI and EEG could show and referred me to a colleague, a neuropsychiatrist.  I was terrified of the idea of seeing him, afraid of him like I was being sent in to see a troll that would eat me up for dinner if I did not chronicle my life history and analyze it correctly, or some other horror story that had me tossing and turning during that long night before the first meeting with my new psychiatrist.

And what happened after this night of terror?  I went back into that same waiting room, and met a man I trusted at first sight, and was gratified to find out this was indeed my new psychiatrist.  I may not see auras, but a strange sense of calm came over me that I was indeed in good hands, and considering his thirty-seven years of practice to my thirty-nine years of life, calm and encouraging voice, I believe for the first time in my life and experience with mental health professionals that I am.

It is quite good that I trusted this man so implicitly, for it did not take him long to–without even knowing my case history or the diagnosis of his predecessor–declared me to be “manic depressive with a borderline personality,” exactly the same as before.  Hell’s bells!  But this time it did not sound so bad, for he recommended a therapist (whom I also have taken to just as wonderfully) and medications that did the trick, and I feel like a brand-new woman from that scared one that was afraid to meet him in January.  This past week I saw both him and the neurologist, and they beamed at the progress I have made since then, and I felt the glow as if I was a prize pupil back in grade school. 

Has anything changed regarding the stigma against those with mental illness?  Probably not.  The double standard where people will expect one to just “get over” a depressive bout like it is the flu or people who are sympathetic to those with cancer and condemning of those with a psychiatric condition often still applies.  Saying I am on Lyrica for my fibromyalgia is acceptable, but possibly saying that I also take the antidepressant Cymbalta (which is also rated for FMS pain) makes someone uncomfortable. 

What has changed for me is the quality of the people I have around me, and my efforts on communicating with them about my condition and the treatments for it.  I also have changed my view of myself, finally learning to love and respect myself, manic-depressive or not, I am me, and if you do not like me, that is your problem, not mine. 

Also, another change is a key desire to get involved in patient advocacy for the mentally ill and for chronic pain sufferers as well.  So many people suffer from these conditions that are hard to translate to those who do not have them, thus frightening them on occasion, so I seek to be a bridge between the two communities of the ill and the healthy and see what education and cooperation can happen.  Thus, this blog has more punch than it originally started out as, for now I am a crusader for those who do not know how to put their pain into the words I am fortunate enough to be gifted to write.

And now, I bid you adieu until the next entry … have a blessed week and may love and light be always with you!