A Response to Kimbriel’s Recent Comment

September 5, 2009 at 6:17 am | Posted in Cognitive Problems, Philosophical Problems | Leave a comment

Hi all,

I’ve been thinking a lot about Kimbriel’s comment on my post describing the research on bipolar disorder and cognitive problems, specifically loss of memory and executive function. I concluded that the outlook is bleak, considering that both seem to worsen with age. Kimbriel writes:

I don’t think any of these things have to worsen with age. Recovery is not only possible, it happens ALL the time… there are many things we can do to care for ourselves and promote our health.

I do try to stay positive on this blog, and to stress self-care. It’s named “Revolt and Resignation” for a reason, though. For me, some aspects of the disease do seem to be progressive, despite my near-absolute adherence to my medication. I do follow my own suggestions, though by no means perfectly. And yet …

While my moods are under decent control, some of the more subtle aspects of the disease are worsening. That’s scary and potentially depressing. I grieve those losses, especially the cognitive ones. Though I believe self-care can dramatically alter the course of bipolar disorder, I don’t believe there is a cure, or total recovery. This is a chronic disease whose nature is to worsen without aggressive treatment — and perhaps with it, too. That’s the resignation part.

I respect Kimbriel’s position and thank her for her comment — her attitude may well be more healthy in the long run than mine. But I have to disagree with her on the facts. Repeated research studies show that, for bipolar people, cognitive problems remain even during times of stability. The resignation part of my formula has to do with accepting the negative; the revolt part means battling it like hell nonetheless.

Love to all

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