2015/02/20

My condition: Home, Diagnosis and Bad Habits

Last time I left some questions unanswered. This was mainly due to the fact that I had no answers to them. So I guess it is time for an update on my current situation.

I was couch surfing for a week and stayed with my relatives in Vienna. I also had a lot of talks and phone calls with many friends and family members. I have to say, I know some pretty awesome people. Thank you all for your support, kind words, suggestions and support. Also, let's not forget the evenings with (a bit of) beer and deep, thoughtful discussions.

The next week, Nicole stayed out of the flat and I moved back in. We actually were a lot at home together, to spend time with our daughter. Needless to say, she was extremely confused and did not understand what was going on or why we were not all sleeping at home.
Sleeping in separate locations was rather strange but it helped a lot. It introduced some calm into our relationship which we desperately needed. This, along with the fact that I picked up therapy, eventually led to Nicole stopping her affair and we are now living together again.

I also ditched my first therapist because he literally had no plan and I didn't feel helped.
I now have a kick ass therapist, a truly awesome woman that has the nice mix of a personality of a grandmother and professional therapist.

On top of that, I saw a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder. Getting this diagnosis was a big relief. Of course, you don't want to have this diagnosis (I hoped it was "only" depression), but in my case it helps me more than most other things.
Once I had the diagnosis I dug through Wikipedia and read everything I could find. The truth is, some 99% of the described symptoms fit my condition. Having the disorder does not bother me much as I can't change reality anyway. Quite the contrary, I can use this knowledge to understand my own mind a lot better. For example, it never crossed my mind that black and white thinking, which I did a lot, could be part of a mental disorder.
I was also lucky to realize that my more positive phases could be part of the problem. Bipolar 2 is hard to diagnose because the hypomanic episodes often go unnoticed. Due to anti depressants, they can be be pushed into manic episodes, which is dangerous, to say the least.

It's a constant battle, I knew that for some time.

However, everything has two sides. I started smoking again (I quit 4 years ago) and will have to take medications for the rest of my life. The relapse after stopping to take mood stabilizers is somewhere around 40 to 50%, which makes it far too risky.
Things at home are sometimes still very tense. Nicole made some very hard emotional decisions and a lot of our relationship got destroyed in the last year. We are still picking up the pieces and trying to get it going again. I don't have my wedding ring back yet and I don't expect to get it anytime soon. But at least I am still married. And still in love, even if that is a bit one sided at the moment. But time can heal many wounds and I am giving my very best to rebuild the trust that my wife lost.

I am still figuring myself out and go to therapy once a week. One of the things I struggled with is the fact that I more or less can't be sure of any decision that I took in the last few years. It bothers me a lot less now but it was difficult in the beginning. I monitor myself a lot more now and am way more aware of my own emotions. Therapy, having a diary and meditation helps a lot with this. It's interesting how such simple tasks as writing a diary can change the way you think about your own life. I wanted to start meditation anyway and now is a good time to do it.

My life is currently very much work in progress, a lot of things are in flux and the future is unsure. But I am confident that the future will be nice. I survived worse stuff.

The tattoo wouldn't stick, my wife bought the chain.
Fun fact: Kurt Cobain suffered from Bipolar II. That makes a lot of sense.