MISDIAGNOSED (Or, Letting the Feelings Out: Part Three)

Yesterday I spoke with my psychiatrist.

Today I spoke with my psychologist.

I told them all the reasons that have led me to believe that I am not bipolar, that I have been MISDIAGNOSED, and neither one disagreed with me. How did this happen?

For me, it all began with a cocky doctor at an Arkansas mental hospital. He didn’t do his homework with me. The very minute I emerged from the thick cloud of delusions, he stamped me with a label. My first response: “How do you know?”

To which he immediately listed all of the signs of bipolar type 1 disorder that had been CLEARLY evident from my psychosis over the past few days. Missing from his confident psychiatric prattle? A clinical depression lasting around two weeks and corresponding to my psychosis in intensity, among other things, which he would have known had he asked.

In his mind, grandiose and disordered thought=manic episode=bipolar.

Ahem. It’s my turn now to list the facts.

Fact: Lisa’s feelings do not go up and down without a corresponding external reason. In fact, her emotions are one of the most functional things about her as a person.

Fact: Lisa has never experienced a clinical depression lasting two or more weeks.

Fact: A euphoric high did not accompany either of Lisa’s psychotic breakdowns. No euphoria=no mania.

Fact: A period of psychosis may also be triggered by extreme stress or loss, which was exactly the case for both of Lisa’s psychotic episodes.

If you have been diagnosed with a mental illness, pretend that I’m sitting across from you and looking you in the eye.

If I believed, even for a second, that my bipolar diagnosis was a useful tool for achieving greater mental health, I would use it. Whatever it takes to move forward in life, that is what I want to be doing. 

But you better believe that I will not go quietly into the night if I have compelling evidence pointing toward misdiagnosis.

So here I am. Just Lisa. Maybe I have a diagnosable mental illness, and maybe I don’t. But I’m not really concerned either way. All I want is to rescue my consistently healthy emotions from a box that has done them more harm than good. 

I have strong feelings and strong thoughts. I see the world differently than most people. I love solving problems and finding metaphors, equally. Sometimes I solve the problem and then find the metaphor, and sometimes I find the metaphor and then solve the problem. I understand and empathize with stay-at-home moms and engineers, writers and businessmen, professors and students. I’m an AND not an OR kind of person.

I walk between the worlds, armed with intellect, feeling, and some hard-won discernment. I have my limits, but they are not what I thought they were.

I am not bipolar. I am Lisa. God made me this way, and I will not let anyone tell me otherwise, even if they are a doctor.

-Lisa Kristine


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