I've just found the doctor's bible - The Merck Manual. I found it many moons ago in a car boot sale and decided to look up bipolar disorder. I am bipolar 1, in which fully fledged manic and depressive episodes alternate. Bipolar 2 (bipolar lite in my book) involves fewer swings and they are not so extreme - no psychosis for example. In the Manual, the drug of choice is lithium and many pages are devoted to its use, dose and chemical composition. No other drugs are mentioned but the book is quite old - 1999. I can't think why I bought it - I wasn't doing any courses at that time - so maybe I just thought it would be interesting. It lists every illness known to man and is a hypochondriac's dream. It is, unsurprisingly, totally stuck in the medical model -- no room for recovery or wellbeing.
When I was first diagnoses, I knew nobody with the same illness and that was very lonely for me. So I read as much as I could about the illness, haunting libraries and bookshops - no internet in those days. I looked in medical books to get the gen on how doctors thought about it - all I found was that it was classed as a "severe and enduring" disease. No help there. One Sunday, there was a review of a book about bipolar disorder - "Darkness Visible" by William Styron. I immediately got it. It was very well written, albeit rather academically - and charted his decline into a suicidal depression. I was riveted by it - here was someone describing exactly how I felt and it was enlightening. I searched for more books and eventually found "An Unquiet MInd" by Kay Redfield Jamieson and that was an eye opener. She describes mania perfectly, and the depths of depression. The difference with her book, as opposed to Styron's, was that she left one with hope.
Since those early days I've become quite an expert and have published my story in two medical books. (Both available from Amazon......) The trouble is that one can have insight at all times when well, but when I'm psychotic it goes away.
It's 0620 and I think I'm up for the duration.........
I spent 16 years in the RAF defending the Free World , then got bunged out unceremoniously for being bipolar. I and was subsequently diagnosed with PTSD. Funny old world, isn't it?