ADHD and Bipolar Disorder

I just read a Life Story on ADDitude about parents raising a daughter who was diagnosed with both ADHD and Bipolar Disorder.  They spoke about their struggles with medication for their daughter’s mental illness.  I’m an adult with ADHD and OCD and I feel their struggles.  These struggles however make me mad because if I had diabetes there’d be no question about whether or not I’d take medication.  If I had a “medical” problem that medication would improve the quality of my life then of course I’d take medication.  Why is it such a struggle for us to take medication for our mental illnesses that will improve the quality of our lifes? 

I believe it has to do with the stigma attached with having a mental illness.  I believe it has to do with people believing that if you want it bad enough and have strong enough will power that you can just make the problems go away.  I always think it’s funny when it’s said that it’s all in your head because in reality it is all in my head – it’s in the way my brain functions.  There is something wrong with my brain that does not allow will power to make it right or more determination.  Brains are complicated and difficult to understand.  It’s no wonder that things go wrong sometimes. 

I also get upset when I hear people say, “they are on meds, why aren’t they better?”  I look at medication as one tool in a tool box.  You can’t build a home using just a screwdriver and you can’t just take a pill and make a mental illness go away.  I think medication though is more like duct tape.  It helps a lot and can fix alot but you still need other things to make yourself happy and feel “right.” 



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