I’m both Asperger and bipolar – a pair of diagnosis – with Asperger supposedly subsuming the bipolar symptoms. I’m not sure what the relationship is: my grandmother, father’s side, was bipolar. My father, Asperger, with some strange behavior thrown in and bouts of magical thinking, which did not fit with his engineering / math / science mind.
My bipolar symptoms, pre-diagnosis and medication, were quite extreme, obvious, and often “negative” – people would rightfully be upset with me, and yet, forgiving and forgetting. It was the 1970s, a “wild” decade if you were young, and I suppose much of my behavior was just overlooked.
After I began treatment with Lithium, I changed. It saved my life, but took away the person people had known. This was not a problem for me, but other people reacted negatively to the less exciting, more deliberate and calm me. Those I told about being bipolar simply vanished or “pretended” that they didn’t know. It was as if the new better me had the “cooties.” At grad school I was referred to as “one of the Lithium kids.” This was mild: in general, people are very ignorant and behave badly toward “mentals.” I stopped telling anyone.
The various psychiatrists that I have engaged over the years often expressed delight with bipolar people. We’re fun and talkative and kind of entertaining. From what I’ve been told, run of the mill “mentals” are inconceivably dull. Some psychiatrists even get “confidential” about their opinions and worries; at such times I’ve considered invoicing them for my time. Well, we’re all human aren’t we?
Asperger’s is another game entirely. There exists a barely hidden streak of hatred toward autistics and Asperger individuals. There are a few people around who know I’m bipolar: I was shocked at their reactions when I decided to “share” being Asperger. ……….