the stigma of the disordered

A friend who has a bipolar diagnosis had been told for years that her neurological symptoms were all psychosomatic and it was just her bipolar acting up. Well, it turns out it was all in her head–literally.

She has a brain mass and probably a brain tumor and it may have caused the original disordered brain states. She is now being told that doctors had dropped the ball for years. This does not surprise me at all. If you have a psychiatric diagnosis, you do not get treated the same by physicians. I know.

My experience is very minor in comparison, but it still is illustrative of the stark reality. I had had prolonged very heavy bleeding and went to the Same Day Care. When the provider saw that I had a bipolar diagnosis, she proceeded to ask me if I was sure that I did not go out to a party without remembering. I said I was sure that I would have remembered and that I did not.

So, she suspected that I went to a party and got pregnant and was miscarrying and that is why I was bleeding so heavily. She said she had to ask because I have bipolar disorder. I guess she did.

I wish she knew that it is not a good idea to prescribe steroids to bipolar people because it can cause manias. Fortunately,  I had the intuition not to take the hormones she gave me and took an herbal remedy and the bleeding stopped completely, never to return. It seems journalist Jane Pauley was given steroids and that is what caused her to become manic the first time and then have the diagnosis of bipolar.

My friend was given experimental doses of hormones as a child because her mother did not want her to be a “freak” as she was close to six feet tall at 11 years old, if I am remembering the details accurately. Her pituitary was probably diseased way back then.

It is all in her head–her brain is diseased. She has had headaches since she was a child and insomnia and it was all in her head. Of course it was. She has had an ill brain for decades, but no one wanted to listen. Now they say that the surgery has a 40% fatality rate. Stigma kills by neglect…

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