Was Julius Caesar Bipolar?


I had to go to Urgent Care a few days ago because I thought I had strep throat again. I was certain of it, really. When the doctor walked in, I was immediately a little shocked. He had Tourette Syndrome. Wouldn’t have surprised me as much, if he hadn’t of come in immediately making jokes: “Alright Melissa, I’m a surgeon and I see that your throat is hurting you. What I’m gonna do is take your throat apart and send the pieces away to be looked at.”

Clearly a joke. So, I thought, maybe this loud sucking noise he was making every 6-10 seconds was a joke too. Or maybe he had some really nasty nasal drainage he was trying to suck back up. But he kept doing it. And doing it. And I realized it wasn’t a joke.

He looked into the computer and asked what medications I’m on. When I said Lithium, he stopped, slowly turned, and said “And how’s that working for you?”. I said it was working just fine so far. By then he had crossed the room and was sitting in the only chair there, with his legs crossed. Lounged back.

Ahhhhh, this man knows something about mental health.

It was kinda nice, having a conversation with a doctor about bipolar disorder. A doctor that I hadn’t been seeing for over 3 years. He didn’t know all the details of my life. All he knew was that I had a sore throat, am on birth control, and am bipolar.  

He said that supposedly, Julius Caesar was bipolar. He said that he would take a vacation often, far away, to a place that had a spring that had a lot of lithium naturally occurring in it. Every time, he would try to bring a lot of that water home with him. He said that it had a very calming, mood stabilizing effect.

Then he said something very nice. The effect of it’s niceness hasn’t left me yet, which is nice. He said that everyone he has ever met that is bipolar, has ADHD, ADD, etc., were very intelligent. Once the medicine has been able to calm the mind down and help it work properly, we are all very intelligent.

I wanted to thank him for saying that. Someone early in their diagnosis (and even those far into it I’m sure) needs to hear things like that. That we’re not a waste. That we’re still capable. That we can in fact be special, or above normal. Don’t get me wrong, people tell me this all the time. But they’re people who know me. Have something invested in me. They have to say that. Strangers don’t have to say anything.