Bipolar and the Neurodiversity Movement: A Personal Story

Bipolar and the Neurodiversity Movement: A Personal Story

Let Us Surprise You
By Susan Lauriot

Once I learned in a seminar on ADHD that the new world was made up of pioneer types who didn't conform in their country of origin. Hence the prevalence of "misfits" coming from the pioneer genes in America. My grandmother, her twin sister, my father, I and three of my four siblings, and three of my siblings children have a diagnosis of bipolar. I am not sure that all this is true, but I do know that we all have suffered extreme stress, and I believe our diagnosis is because of our reaction to this stress and that a resultant change in our physical makeup may be the reason for a cyclic change in mood. Bipolar works very differently in each of our situations. My father’s cycles were around 11 months, but he didn’t always have a psychotic break — except when confronted with his stresses. One of my siblings reacts to mourning, another to alcoholic poisoning, the other has been stable on meds since diagnosis. I believe two of the affected grandchildren diagnosed were from unstable circumstances.

I believe my grandmother suffered an early onset of dementia after a long mid-life depression that occurred when her mission board turned her and my grandfather out. She suffered her first mania after treating herself for malaria with Atabrine. Atabrine was a German drug now known to cause psychosis. Prior to that she had just been strong-willed in her beliefs.1

My father had a problem with the organization he worked for. Prior to becoming involved with them, he had produced the first two models of Discourse Analysis (DA).2

DA is a socio-linguistic science of studying how people tell their stories in order to communicate effectively. This science has produced social results like Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) which have changed paternalistic companies into more employee-empathetic ones in an effort to help make people better employees by aiding them to solve their problems at work and at home. Too bad this didn't come...

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