Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Shot Through the Heart

So, by now, most people who keep an eye on bipolar news stories have heard about the former Pro-Bowl player who was shot in an office building. According to his agent and close friend, Robbins may have stopped taking his medication and thus, when he was shot by a police officer, the linebacker was in a complete psychotic fugue.

That's not to say that the police officer should not have shot him. If some 300 lb linebacker is trying to take my gun away from me because he thinks I'm Satan incarnate, I'm sure as hell going to shoot him.

But my problem lies with the article linked above. More specifically, this line, "Bipolar disorder is a disease that causes extreme mood swings. It is treated with lithium but, experts say, patients too often choose to go off the medication."

To me, a mood is distinctly different from a psychosis. I mean, moods, like paranoia, certainly can contribute to psychotic states but believing that you are somewhere you are not is not a reflection of a person's mood.

Similarly, I'm sure that hundred of thousands of bipolar sufferers would be overjoyed to know that if we simply took lithium, then everything would be okay. I mean, surely pharmaceutical companies are throwing away millions of dollars on R&D for alternate mood stabilizers when lithium works for everyone. GRRR.

I don't know Robbins' case intimately enough to know if he was off his meds. I don't know how well his meds were working. I don't know if they had untolerable side-effects.

With piss-poor journalism like this, I'll never know. And neither will the rest of the idiotic public out there. They don't understand what we live with. They think we can just take a pill and be better. And articles like this perpetuate that belief. It's such crap! I'm all cranky about this.

It makes me feel hostile toward my meds (not like I'd come off them, no need to worry mom). It's like these little bull crap pills control my perceptions and my actions. Am I enhancing my free will or obliterating it?

Ugh. A conversation for another day.