Last week, we missed the launch of the Ealing Broadway, BiPolar Youth Group, having arrived at 8pm, assuming it begun at 7:30/ Fortunately, we made it to the Gray Inn Road meeting, which met earlier today. Earlier in the afternoon, we met with a counsellor followed by an occupational therapist.
It was our first bipolar group meeting, having missed the first, however, much to our surprise, we realised that it did not follow the format of the depresion groups. For starters, it purported to be young people, and so, whilst the facilitator was there, I am not sure if, unlike other meetings, she had experience manic depression. Irrespective, there was little tension or suspense in the group, as the members were able to unwind and revel in the cycles of their symptoms. There was quite a bit of talk about medication, whilst, I sensed that one of the people there worked in a university – perhaps an assistant lecturer, or researcher – whilst another was at a logistics company. Like myself, he didn’t have an exceptional amount of friends, either, explaining that he was getting sad of living locked up with video games and so decided to go to a bar to be a lonely, functional alcoholic. Another joke involved a lady who went on to say that, although she was not working, rather than say she was “doing nothing”, she would explain to people that she was “actively seeking work.” There was mention of Stephen Fry and his suicide attempt, as well as talk of Holywood disfiguring the label of Bipolar: “you dont need to be Jewish or gay to make it in Holywood. Just bipolar.” Movies touched upon included Suckerpunch and Silver Lining.
Our Occupational Therapy session was revealing. Apparently, it was the third I had seen in my life, however, the first time an open assessment was being conducted. FOrtunately, she was able to draw upon the autism notes and report of last year, as opposed to asking myself a string of questions. She was also quite helpful, explaining the purpose of the meeting, and providing structure in the form of an agenda. Finally, she explaining that the meeting had been organised by a care coordinator so that I could be reviewed for a ADL (assessment of daily living skills.). The irony was, however, that I myself had requested to see an OT more than three months earlier, however, like much of our requests for service, this was simply ignored, and simultaneously marginalised as the professional dismissed this request suggesting it was not relevant, appropriate or necessary, however, havng been advised to conduct this assessment, suddenly, it became feasible. Thus, we have since been reflecting on “testimonial injustice”, for a similar scenario occurred much earlier in the previous year when other medical professionals did not believe we had a torn ligament and even accused us of being “intelligent”, somehow suggesting we were pretending, manipulating and malingeering, so as to exploit services etc. Finally, we get the impression that we are are also on a leash – behind the cage.