It’s been about a month since I started blogging consistently – it’s been a wild ride.  There are muliple motivations here: initially, the goal was simply to help clarify my thoughts and feeling in dealing with this difficult, unsettled period.  Secondly, I hope this outlet will assist my wife and me work together on the problems we are facing and receive support and guidance from others who have been through similar challenges.  Once our situation stabilizes, I am hopeful that we might be able to use our experiences to help others through this blog, but first “place the oxygen mask on yourself”, right??

The response to my attempts to publicize my blog have been incredible and very revealing.  I have been told I am too ‘scientific’, that I should do personal therapy, spirual obsessions and doubts are common in depression, ultimatums are sometimes required and mindfulness is something I may have been neglecting.  Actually, there were many, many more insights shared, by a number of readers, sometimes with comments that were longer than my blog posts!  I am really blown away by how relevant and helpful this feedback has been.  I look forward to receiving more feedback and suggestions, as the blog becomes known more widely.

So here’s where we holding at the moment. As self awareness of the likelihood of have a condition developed a couple weeks ago, my wife spent a few days intensely researching websites and videos explaining bipolar disorder II, as well as other related conditions.  We read some sections from a few books and talked, sometimes argued, but mostly it was a really positive step towards acceptance.  My wife took a bunch of questions to her last psychiatrist appointment, which unfortunately I couldn’t attend, but I heard that it was also quite helpful.  This period of discovery has been quite confronting and stressful, so last week my wife understandably asked that we have a break from discussing her ‘condition’, for a few weeks.  Also, since the intensity of the depression has reduced slightly, possibly due to medication starting to take effect, the motivation to understand the distress is naturally reduced.

Interesting, before the ‘ban’ from talking about bipolar disorder went into effect, I was able to clarify something interesting.  My wife’s resistance to accepting a psychiatric label, depends on which condition it is.  She acknowledged that she had accepted the diagnosis of ADHD in the past and is potentially comfortable accepting a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) label, having identified some significant stressful events in her childhood, such as a ‘rough’ divorce of her parents at aged 9. I have always tried to suggest that we don’t need to focus on what the condition is called, but that the pattern of difficulties, intense mood changes and frequent anxiety, need treatment.

This idea was repeated many times on a recent psychcentral forum discussion about psychiatric labels. I like the way ‘Jacky’ responded:

The best thing I did was say f#/! the label…. 50% of my brain was like…’you have it, deal! And the other half was like nope nope nope . It led me to a vicious cycle of going on meds deciding I was fine going off meds having an episode going on meds… get the point. So now I just tell myself it doesn’t matter WHAT it is. you do bad on your own, so accept the help

Overall, I’m extremely thankful for the progress that we’ve made, proceeding with medications and couple therapy, while the current episode stabilizes. I guess my hopes to work with my wife to develop a holistic treatment plan, including clarifying mood states and identifying triggers, has to be put on hold for now.  Alternatively, maybe she’ll agree to do this work for her unnamed ‘condition’ or PTSD…we’ll see…