So I was asked to come in for an unscheduled or emergency session if you will. The walk to the Doc’s office took ten minutes longer thanks to the drowsiness of the seroquel increase. I sat across from his as always and began to explain to him the symptoms I have been experiencing. The Doc explains that my psychosis is mainly in the form of hallucinations. He asks me if I have distorted thoughts or ideas, if I have been having delusions of grandeur or if I feel that people are talking about me behind my back. There are those moments that I’m paranoid others are talking about me or discussing my weight but most of what has been happening have been hallucinations.
The Doc sits and watches me for a moment and says “You seem quite well to me.” I ask him what he means. “Most people with your symptoms are very obviously ill, but not you. You have a very good hold of your bipolar don’t you? I wouldn’t have picked you to have any of these symptoms unless you told me” he says. I think about it for a moment, and start to think does he not believe me?! I explain to him how I don’t have the capacity to let go completely, I have a job, a husband, a life. I need to keep it together. I tell the Doc how I’ve learned over the years to present myself well to avoid people noticing there’s anything wrong. This has proven to be very important for my work life.
The Doc tells me that I don’t need to go to the hospital as yet but points out that if I were to go to the emergency department of a public hospital they would most likely not take me in based on the fact that I look like I’m perfectly sane. I would have to get the nurses to call him so that he can explain how unwell I am. It would be best for me to go into a private psychiatric hospital. “It would be much easier if you were in hospital though, because then we can increase your dose high enough to get you better.” he says. We have to go slow with the increase of seroquel and lithium because I’m still working. I need to still be able to work.
I have what you call high functioning bipolar. It does not mean that I don’t suffer. It does not mean that my bipolar doesn’t affect my life and it certainly doesn’t mean my bipolar is not serious. I’m only really high functioning during the day, to get me through work. I put on a facade. Even when I am manic or hypomanic I have to pretend I can focus and get work done. I am always acting sane and normal. It is incredibly tiring and taxing on me. I don’t like to go out anymore, I don’t like parties. Socialising takes a lot out of me because I need to seem like I am ok. If I stop acting, if I let go even just a little bit then I will fall down the rabbit hole so fast and I won’t be able to get out.
It’s not always easy being high functioning. Sometimes I get overlooked because I am not visibly falling apart. Sometimes I feel like people don’t take my disorder as seriously because I don’t think I am Jesus or that aliens have taken over our bodies. I act like I am ok to keep going. Acting like I am ok keeps my rational side active. My rational side keeps me in touch with reality and away from a world of hallucinations and delusions.