Having come to accept the idea that I have Bipolar disorder, I want that acceptance to help me destigmatize the diagnosis.
Intellectually, I have come to understand that my ADHD and Dyslexia are not pathologies, not what is wrong with me, broken, defective or abnormal. These are learning differences, not learning disabilities. In fact they have fueled my creative thinking and driven me to success in education, film and television as well as learning to fly.
Depression and Mania will need a bit more alchemy to change from disorders to just differences. I could resign myself to the fact that this is a diagnosis that is a disorder, but that feels too much like an inescapable curse, a chronic illness with no cure and no hope.
There is probably a through line between the ADHD and the mania. In many ways the mania which often expresses itself as passion, relentlessness, a determination not to be denied, is what got The Magic School Bus on Television and Indian In The Cupboard into movie theaters. But it is also what bought the tractor and the red dump truck, and bankrupted me trying to become an independent producer.
The credentials of success and worthiness, being liked, and loved was a void I became obsessed to fill. Enough can be said about our culture as an explanation, but for me the pit was much deeper, the need for affect was insatiable. Madness.
My depression is easier to define as pathology. You produce no byproduct. Paralysis stands still, and asks to be left alone, and covered with a warm blanket... and that is on the good days. On the bad you want to be annihilated, vaporized, not by fate, or by an accident, but by your own hand.
No Marty, you are not going to escape the DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). What will you gain by the relabeling or delabeling anyway? Its why you have the semicolon tattoo. It"s your personal Dukkha, not an existential flaw in the universe, You can do nothing but own it, really own it, and prove you own it with compassion and self love.
This is the diagnosis. "If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck." If you can truly understand that... the verdict can be an acquittal.