In One Fight With Bipolar Disorder, a Loss of Self
A patient learns that mental-health experts ignore identity
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2013 12:50 PM CDT
A woman with bipolar disorder looks out on the world.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Bipolar disorder sent Linda Logan on a terrifying journey in her thirties. A budding writer and mother of three, she was hospitalized several times with the illness and found herself losing all sense of identity. "I was stripped of my identity as wife, mother, teacher, and writer and transformed into patient, room number, and diagnosis," she writes in the New York Times Magazine. She feared that her cocktail of psychotropic drugs might alter her personality even further. But doctors said little when she tried to discuss her vanishing self; they just focused on her symptoms.

Gradually, Logan improved and returned home, where she rediscovered her maternal identity and got back into writing. Now divorced and turning 60, she helps run a support group for people with mental disorders. But she argues that psychiatrists ignore the importance of identity, which shifts from "person" to "patient" during mental illness and can take years to reconstruct. Still, she believes that her old self has survived intact. "I'm having a small party to celebrate my ingathering of selves," she writes. "My old self was first to RSVP." Click for the full article. (Or look at nine celebrities who cope with bipolar disorder.)

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Showing 3 of 9 comments
DarkFrancis
Apr 28, 2013 6:10 PM CDT
I was afraid of being transformed into a mono AM radio when prescribed mood stabilizers for BP2 in 2010. After an initial dip (read: plummet) that lasted a few weeks, life has been so much better after receiving an accurate diagnosis. It's worth noting that the anti-depressants I took on and off for 20+ years were either useless or deleterious. Correct diagnosis means a much better chance of appropriate meds. Combine that with good cognitive/behavioral and life can be transformed. Yes, it's true that there are clinicians who depersonalize their patients, but my guy is exellent. Having said that, I haven't seen him in 6 mths because I've been in America...and the way things are going, I'll likely be in America for the long term. So the whole US health care thing is looming large.
sonofabeach
Apr 28, 2013 5:50 PM CDT
Mental illness extracts a terrible toll for the patient and everybody who loves them. That said, I can't figure out why righty is so hellbent on arming them.
Riffran
Apr 28, 2013 5:11 PM CDT
Tough choice....be a freak out or be "comfortably numb". Mental illness is a sad disease process indeed.