Change in Our Lives: The Bipolar Question of the Week

John McManamy Health Guide
  • The second of two political conventions just wrapped up. Breaking news: I will vote the same as I did four years ago. My political views are an extension of my core values, and my core values have remained fairly constant over the years. So - I suspect - have yours.


    But change we do, and I was forcefully reminded of this by one of my old posts I happened to come across earlier today on HealthCentral. Coincidentally, that post dated from the year of the previous Presidential election.


    The post was about a grand rounds talk I had been preparing on the topic of meds compliance. Like my political views, my position on the matter has remained very much the same, namely: There would be a lot more compliance if doctors actually listened to their patients. My message was a lot more nuanced than that, but I do recall telling 50 or 60 clinicians in the room that when their patients tell them about feeling like fat stupid zombie eunuchs on the meds they prescribe and over-prescribe that they aren’t doing this to ruin their day.

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    My audience showed its appreciation by making for the exits the second my lips stopped moving. Not one came up afterwards to talk to me.


    Believe it or not, I actually bent over backward to please these people, which was the worst thing I could have done. I know that now - that is what has changed.


    Our illness has a way of turning us into outsiders, and as outsiders we tend to over-compensate by aiming to please. We - not the insiders - are the ones always shucking and jiving to someone else’s tune. I’ve done it all my life. I don’t do it anymore.


    Funny thing, now that I have given myself permission to be myself, I’m more relaxed, easier to get along with. My guess is that if I gave the same talk today, some of these same doctors would actually come up to me and thank me. But you know what? If they didn’t, I wouldn’t care. That’s the whole point, isn’t it?


    Question: Cast your mind back to four (or five or six) years ago. What has changed about you? How has this affected your life and well-being?


    Feel free to write a book. Comments below ... 

Published On: September 08, 2012