Further education

I love drug lunches at work. There was law passed that drug reps can’t just come in, bring food, and skedaddle, because that is bribery; now, there has to be an educational component. Often an expert is brought in to talk about something related to the medication being pushed, or the illness it is meant to treat. I love learning more about the medications out there and developing a greater understanding of the world of mental illness in general. I will also never turn up free food. I’ve got my fantastic girlish figure to maintain, after all.

Sometimes it can be a double-edged sword. Whenever the subject is bipolar disorder, I end up with my paranoia turned up to eleven. One time they were talking about the increased prevalence of type two diabetes. My paranoia heard “you’re bipolar therefore you’ll get diabetes” when in fact it’s very complicated, owing itself in part to the illness making it hard to make healthy choices when you don’t want to do anything other than sleep, a lot of our clients smoke and drink and lead very sedentary lifestyles, they cannot afford healthy foods and don’t necessarily know what healthy food *is,* and the medications often do not help, leading to metabolic syndrome at times. Plenty of non-bipolar people get diabetes. I have no family history of diabetes, and my sugar is fine whenever I have it checked. Being fat and bipolar =/= diabetes.

At one of the most recent drug lunches I went to, the presenter pointed out that when people with bipolar II are symptomatic, 90% of the time, the symptoms are depression. I was depressed at that time, and felt like I might as well go jump off a bridge, because those are pretty bad odds. (I still think they’re absolutely terrible odds, but I want to focus more on reducing symptomatic time, and enjoying the time when I’m not symptomatic.) All I could do was nod solemnly and fight not to stand up and loudly agree with him. (Sometimes I forget not everybody is supposed to know I’m bipolar.) I instead focused on eating as much of the free food I possibly could because it was Boston Market and it was absolutely delicious. It kept me out of trouble, anyway. Made me think about the diabetes thing again, though…

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