Every time I sit down to write an “About Me” page, I go through an identity crisis. I start asking myself, “But who AM I? Who is this ‘me’ that this life is about?” And there I sit, chin on fist, mulling it over. And I have to take a step back, again, and say:
I am a musician, an artist, a physician trained in classical herbology and pediatric medicine. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, a Master’s Degree in Medical Anthropology, an M.D. in, you know, medical doctoring, and a Ph.D. from the School of Hard Knocks.
I ran away from home at the age of sixteen and lived on the streets for a year. I never finished high school.
My fire burned up to the skies in the year 2000, and I have not been the same since. Now I take a lot of medication, and I’ve had over 120 repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) treatments. I can’t remember a lot of things.
Sometimes I think about my bipolar mind and I wonder whether things could have been different if, well, things had turned out differently. I have no doubt that if I had had better support and treatment early on, I would have had better function, for a longer time. I hope so, for the sake of others who are on this journey and hopefully getting better treatment than I did.
I would like to be more positive about this whole thing. I would like to say, to anyone who’s reading this who, perhaps, is newly diagnosed and searching for answers and support: don’t worry, with a little medication and a lot of therapy you’ll do just fine.
Well, you might. And then again, you might have a struggle on your hands, like so many of “us” do. But isn’t that the point? The point is that when we come into this world we are given our set of challenges and our marching orders. We don’t get to choose them. But we do get to choose the way in which we go about the task of living with our challenges, and the grace with which we carry out our mission in life.
I used to think I knew what my mission in life was: to heal the sick, to comfort, to educate. Now I have but one mission: to finish the game with as much grace and dignity and honesty as I can. I can’t say I’m thrilled with the way my life is turning out, relative to the way I thought it was going to. But I do love a mystery, so I’m committed to staying until the end of the movie. My movie. My life.
© Laura P. Schulman, M.D., M.A. and A Canvas Of The Minds 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Laura P. Schulman, M.D., M.A. and A Canvas Of The Minds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.