Well, THAT Sure Does Explain Everything

I don’t like to broadcast it, but I’ve always been willing to admit it when the opportunity arises, but I was diagnosed with severe social anxiety disorder/avoidant personality disorder (same thing, different categories in the DSM 1V) several years ago.  But just last week, I was rediagnosed by a new doctor who convincingly argues that the root problem is not social phobia (although it’s there), the root problem is that I have Bipolar, Type 2, which, lucky for me, isn’t the one with all the wacky and rapid mood swings.  It just pretty much means I’m manic, my fight or flight instinct is stuck at “On” — as in fight *and* flight.  At the same time.  I’ll discuss it when the opportunity arises or when I otherwise need to, but in the meantime, let’s just talk pop culture and when pop culture provides me the opportunity to discuss my Bipolar and/or social phobic tendencies, I’ll talk about them with you, but in the context of talking about whatever show or film or comic or book that has piqued my interest and calls for discussion about disorders that, when you got ’em, you can speak with authority on ’em and how they’re discussed in all sorts of media.

Now, enough of that seriousness, let’s get back to the culture we call pop, the biz we call show.

5 Responses to “Well, THAT Sure Does Explain Everything”

  1. John Says:

    Rob, is there a course of treatment for Bipoler Type 2? (I am not asking for what it is, just if it exists.)

    Good luck.

  2. ShutUpRob Says:

    There are a lot of treatments, depends on the person. I just found out last week and have been adjusting to a mood stabilizer called Geodon (it’s the same class as Zyprexa, except without the weight and cholesterol gains). They gave me too strong a prescription, so we’re cutting the dosage in half. The great thing even on the too-strong dosage was that when it was working, it was *working.* And even prompted me to set up this blog while chatting in Row 1 at E! at the same time.

    Keep in mind, too, it’s ALL trial-and-error. We’re all unique people, our brains are wired differently, so it takes a lot of awareness of yourself to be able to tell your doctor, “Hey, this is giving me triple espresso jitters, can we try something else?” There’s almost always something else. And in my case, it’s just lowering the dosage. If your doctor won’t work with you on it, no problem, you just change doctors to one who understands that your therapy is a collaboration.

    That, and I’m so high strung that they can’t even entertain talk therapy for me for about six months or so because my mind races so much that they have to slow me down first, hence the Geodon. Oh, and hence my screen name, Shut Up, Rob. To remind me that silence is golden — except in blogging, of course.

  3. Karen Says:


    You were obviously born to blog. You’re doing a great job so far. Your Conan piece is hilarious, and I will hence forthforth say “French capital hotel” (with due credit, of course) if I need to refer to that person, which I probably won’t. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that I’ve gone from being one of your biggest critics on atgg to one of your biggest fans. You’re just annoyingly right most of the time, and I learn a lot from your analyses.

    I wanted to commend you for being so open about your diagnoses here. Yeah, it really *DOES* explain a lot. I have been diagnosed as having generalized anxiety disorder and avoidant personality disorder (disturbingly close to your own diagnoses), as well as having ongoing depression that sometimes seems like dysthymia and sometimes like major depressive disorder. I have been thought to be bipolar II from time to time, but they decided that was not the case. My closest friend is bipolar and I know a lot about it. I spent 25 of the last 30 years in therapy and did the medication thing for a while, but I have not taken psychiatric medication for over a year, am no longer in therapy, and I have conquered much of my anxiety and avoidance. I will be on the path of healing all of my life. Even if you make different treatment choices than I do (I treat myself spiritually now), I respect your courage and forthrightness in sharing this aspect of yourself with your blog audience. I look forward to more of your insightful, amusing and irreverent takes on Gilmore Girls and anything else that comes out of that very busy brain.

  4. shutuprob Says:

    Hi, Karen! Thanks a bunch for your encouragement. I’d ask you to ask your doctor to reconsider Bipolar, Type 2 again. It’s not the rollercoaster that type 1 is — it’s a mixed version where you’re manifesting symptoms of both mania and depression *at the same time.* My ex-dorm (and apartment) roommate was practically a brother to me and, lucky me, a psych major who should be finishing up his PhD right about now and he explained it to me this way: bipolar, anxiety and depression are sooooo hard to diagnose because one can be a symptom of the other and vice versa, so it’s always trial-and-error in figuring out the correct treatment, which, in a lot of ways, is more important than figuring out the correct diagnosis. Although having the correct diagnosis certainly is a relief, to be sure.

    Also, I too wish I wasn’t “annoyingly right” about Gilmore Girls a lot of the time. I feel like I have Cassandra Syndrome about the show at this point, with so many of the Lor-Luke ‘shippers taking out their misunderstanding of the show on Lauren — by attacking her weight and whether or not she gets along with Scott Patterson and similar tactics. I find it infuriating much of the time because they’re evaluating the show not on the basis of the show but on the basis of some version of Lorelai and Luke that exists only in their heads, so when Lor and Luke do something that’s totally different from the Imaginary Lor and Luke of their minds, it throws them for a loop and they start another round of the blamethrowing. TwoP is undreadable as a result. E!’s message boards are a lot easier to take because 1) they know me and 2) there are a lot of non ‘shippers on the boards there, too, so I don’t feel like I’m pissing into the wind there. I don’t know what to do about it? Should we get a Gazebo Project going to publicize the heartbreaking brilliance of the show and its celebration of parent-child relationships over romantic relationships? I dunno. I’m perplexed.

    OMG! I just realized. I just wrote an aobservation about Gg that’s perfect for atgg. Ack! Makes me wonder if I can move the community over here . . . (he spoke with a Machiavellian twinge in his voice.)

    Thanks again, Karen, even when I disagree with you, you’re one of my favorite people to disagree with because you talk about what we all love, the story of that wacky Irish Chick, Lorelai and her wacky Irish daughter, Rory.

  5. Karen Says:

    Thanks for your warm reply to me, Rob.

    Your comment that I should talk to my doctor about bipolar II got me to doing some research. I don’t have a psychiatrist any longer, and I would not discuss such things with a primary care physician. I am wondering where you got this idea that bipolar II involves a mixed state? I had never heard or read such a thing before, and in my brief internet research, I saw nothing to support it. In fact, according to a site that contains DSM-IV criteria, a diagnosis of bipolar II cannot be made if the person has a mixed episode, which is characteristic of bipolar I, the more severe kind. I ask this in genuine interest, because I am trying to understand Bipolar II better, and whether or not it might apply to me, and whether or not I might want to go back into the world of mental health treatment, with whom I have such a deep love/hate relationship.

    This research also led me to read about avoidant personality disorder, which when it was given to me as a diagnosis in my late 20s, fit me like a glove, not the case with any other disorder in the DSM-IV (DSM-IIIR at the time). You are the only other person I have ever encountered who has this diagnosis, to my knowledge. The therapists I have seen either did not know what it is or did not feel it was important to consider with me. I always found this very frustrating. In reading the criteria for it today, I see that some aspects of it seem less pronounced in me now. I am more sociable and less shy than I used to be, more willing to take risks and interact with people. But still with me is such a strong fear of embarrassment and rejection, and that colors many of my life choices. I’d just like to comment that if you do indeed have this, I find it impressive that you have the courage to put yourself out there with your strong, outspoken views that get you criticized quite frequently and ferociously. I do that, too, at times. I do find that it is much easier to do it on the internet than in real life, which I expect is the case for you, also. Avoidants tend to live in fantasy, so I guess it’s natural that we end up obsessed with certain TV shows and characters.

    You know the sig I use, the Walt Whitman quote: “I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself. (I am large, I contain multitudes).” I see this as the best thing about me, the part of me that is able to see all sides to issues, even when I have strong feelings about a particular side, but it does make life uncomfortable at times. I’ve shifted around all my life. When I was in my 20s and 30s, friends would sometimes ask, not always jokingly, “What are you this week?” I changed religions, sexual orientation, and political views frequently, and sometimes the pendulum swung in opposite directions in an instant. Does this make me bipolar? Does bipolar explain inconsistency any better than saying you are a Gemini? (Fully confessing I’m not a believer in astrology.) Human beings are complex, and living with contradictions makes us more adaptable, interesting, and wise. I always enjoy when you point out the contradictions in the character of Lorelai. I am 51 now, and the extremes in me have calmed down in the past decade. My identity is more stable. But I can still appreciate many views and many kinds of people better than most. I have friends who are evangelical, Wiccan, hippie, gay, liberal, conservative, pacifist, veteran. These days I mostly hang out with Mennonites who are politically liberal and socially conservative, but those labels don’t fit me. I am reluctant to reduce my multi-faceted complexities to a label of a mental illness. I would hate to see you do that, either, you with the quick mind and biting wit and eloquent words. However, if a new diagnosis and medication helps you to focus and get past obstacles that keep you from living up to your potential, then I can only be very happy for you, and try to learn from your example. I have that novel I’ve been working on for years, but am too afraid to show to anyone except one friend, and fear the rejection of publishers, in true avoidant fashion. That’s why I am so pleased about your blog, where you have a greater freedom and opportunity than in other internet forums to express yourself as much as you want. However, much I may disagree with you on particulars, and think you are unnecessarily rude at times, I am always unreservedly impressed with your verbal ability. You are an amazingly good writer!

    Two of the sites I found with bipolar info are:



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