Spinning Out

Don’t worry, I’m not personally spinning out, that’s the title of a TV show about an ice skater who just happens to be bipolar. I ran across a Facebook review of the show, which lasted only one season, and so on to Netflix I went. After some time searching for it, I settled down to watch and became intrigued almost immediately. The plot lines are admittedly pretty thin, but the main character, Kat, and her mother Carol (who also has BP) portray complex people in a complex relationship with authenticity.

Built around the dog-eat-dog world of championship figure skating, the story follows Kat, her sister Serena (who is also a skater), her mother and a host of other colorful characters. Of course, no one in the skating arena knows about Kat’s “nonconformity” but Mom and Little Sister, and they hurt each other frequently and deeply. Serena does NOT have bipolar, and she is often caught in the middle between Carol and Kat. Carol goes on and off her meds at more or less regular intervals, with predictable results; Kat is generally good at taking hers, but in one episode she goes off the lithium to see if that would give her enough energy to skate better, and the chaos that ensues in subsequent episodes almost costs her everything.

Almost. I’m coming to the end of the series, and so far she’s been able to resurrect her career, reconnect with her best friend, and make peace with her skating partner. I hope she can hold it together through her next competition, because she’s a very good skater. I’m just sorry the series only ran for one season, I believe it was in 2018 or 2019.

It’s wonderful that mental illness is being brought into the open more and more, even though stereotypes are still common and audiences may get the wrong ideas. This is the end of Mental Health Month, which is helping to raise awareness of mental conditions and show the public that the vast majority of MI people are not monsters. (Sorry I’m back up on my soapbox, but I cannot overstate how important it is to keep advocating for ourselves.) That’s why I do what I do here at bpnurse.com, and why other mentally ill people are doing the same thing. I don’t feel sorry for myself as someone with bipolar disorder; I fight bipolar disorder.

I didn’t always do that. For a long time after I was diagnosed, I felt I was marked for life and that nothing would ever be right again. While I’ll never be “cured”, I have weapons to deal with the illness and I use them religiously. I haven’t even THOUGHT about messing with my meds in two years, and it used to be every spring and fall—it was so predictable that I didn’t even need a calendar to tell me what season it was. Now I’m over the idea that cutting back on meds is a worthy goal to be accomplished as soon as possible. Every single drug I’m on has its place in my treatment plan, and only Dr. Goodenough gets to decide if and when the regimen will change. My job is to take them as prescribed, and only on a (very) rare occasion do I forget them. No spinning out for me!

Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

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