The story continues

(14) My emotionally painful health history. . . am I Bipolar?

Stacked Stones Sculpture

Unable to make any headway regarding my PANDAS diagnosis with Dr. Rookie or my primary care physicians, I made an appointment with Super Amy, the clinician who treated my son and is currently treating my daughter for PANDAS.

I thought I knew what to expect in the visit.  I had gone through the initial intake interview with Super Amy regarding my two children.  What surprised me during my visit was how complicated and evolved my health history actually is.   I  walked into the appointment with the presumption that I had emotionally integrated the facts of my health with the devastating toil it had taken on me and others around me.  Yet I walked out of that appointment needing to much more “grief work.”

The most difficult part of my story is how “bad” I was as a child.  Exploring this further with my parents, I  have come to understand that this “bad behavior” was very much connected to being sick.  As my mom explained, “Every time you got sick, you fell a part. . .  it’s like you were crazy.”

One the other hand, there is an amazing part of my story:  A profoundly redemptive fact,   is that, my dad, as my pediatrician,  often treated me aggressively with antibiotics when I was sick as a child.  We lived part of my childhood in Africa, where the  deadly threat of infectious disease was far more pronounced than in America.  Dad did not take any fever I had lightly. This probably has made all the difference in my life.  I was treated “properly” for PANDAS before the disease was ever discovered.

Looking back, I have had many, many extended periods in life where I had both great physical and mental health.  When I think about my  junior high and high school days, I recall that I was on prophylactic antibiotics for acne. . .  for years.  It was a great season of life for me.

I also had many dark seasons.  A few years ago, while preparing for an appointment with my psychiatrist, I wondered, “Am I bipolar?”  I felt like I had the characteristic episodes of depression, anxiety and such.  They seemed to come and go for no reason.  What was missing, however, were manic episodes.  And having been on SSRI’s for over a decade, it seemed likely  that I would have had manic episodes if I were truly bi-polar.  Either way, I wanted– and still desire– a complete diagnosis and proper treatment.

 

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