Sunday, June 20, 2010

They Know

It happened today. It was something I was aware would come when I began this blog I just didn't know how scary it would be when the truth came out. I was admitted to the hospital in February of this year and very slowly I told my side of the family. Today my husband's side learned what I've been hiding.

Mostly I was ashamed of the truth. Growing up I always tried to appease the extended family as they were full of doctors and my immediate family lived in the ghetto and used my high school job paychecks to pay the bills. When I met my husband there was at least one person who at the time didn't think I was good enough for him. No worries...I feel the same way most of the time, yet I'm not my family. My father had bipolar I and so to I yet we chose to handle it in very different ways.

He did not medicate...I do. He rarely went to a therapist...I spent three months, not working seeing a therapist for forty hours a week. I screamed for help as a teen yet my father refused to hear me. There is a strong case for the genetic connection to the bipolar illness. I have extreme fears that our children will become "crazy" as I am and have a lifelong battle with this illness. What I have come to realize is that even if they do become sick I will choose to listen and get them the help they need before they end up where I did earlier this year.

Do not be afraid because you now know. I am freed by the truth of the burden which I will always carry. Now everyone knows.

Perhaps it is understood why my husband and I cannot buy birthday presents for anyone but the children in our family, why I hate the noise of the city, or why I prefer simplicity. Anything to try and ease the unnecessary stress helps my condition. Technically I'm only supposed to work part time due to doctor's orders but instead I took a less stressful job to help our financial situation although the pay is much less. Perhaps some day I can do the best thing for me, to become a stay at home mom. To raise a family in the country would be heaven to me.

Today you learned a little more than you knew before. I was afraid to tell you but now we all must deal. I'm sick but I'm healing. I'm better today than I was yesterday and certainly better than I was last year. You must first hit rock bottom before you can get better!! This is me getting's okay to call me.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Although I understand fully that I shouldn't go off my meds, even for a day, I truly considered doing this today. Currently I'm moving. The move date is set for next Saturday. I have four rooms to paint using primer and two coats of paint and tons of packing and cleaning to finish. These tasks seem far too much for me at present.

When I wasn't on my current mood stabilizer I would have extreme ups and downs. In my manic states or extreme ups I would experience very little exhaustion and have a way too much energy for a normal human. It was in one of these states that I painted the four rooms of my rental in the first place. I did this in a few days with no problems. One of the side effects of my medication is fatigue. On my way home from work I always fall asleep. My husband is driving me as when I tried to drive the hour and half home I would have to stop several times and sometimes take naps in my car at rest stops. Most recently this has been the most difficult portion of my illness to deal with.

My life used to run in spurts. I would run on an extremely accelerated pace and then when my lows came I would crash and the rest of the world could disappear as I did not care. Simply put I would be wrapped up in my bed hidden beneath the sheets. Granted with my meds I still have my ups, downs, mixed states and sometimes my "normal person" pace yet none of them are as extreme and they are manageable if I listen to the advice of my therapists and psychologists.

I'm sure I'm not the only one with bipolar who sometimes wishes not to be sedated. Although if I chose not to take my meds I'm intelligent enough to realize the crap I do when not medicated would not be all positive. Yes, I would have the energy to get done what needs to be done, yet I would do things later I would regret.

In the past few years during manic states I have done many things I regret. Listed below are a few:
          -Spent money as though my husband and I had all the money in the world, resulting in two lawsuits filed against me. Currently we are paying off thousands due to these suits.
          -Speed so much while driving because I felt as though I was invincible and nothing could ever touch me which caused the authorities to revoke my license
          -The last thing I want to share which I have already eluded to...painted four rooms of my rental although I knew I would have to paint it back someday because I didn't like the eggshell white and refused to live in a place so bland

Maybe it's not such a good idea to even consider the possibility of going off my meds even for the week leading up to our move. That may be a very bad move on my part. Oh well, one can always take things into consideration.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Continue to heal though understanding

"Bipolar disorder or, manic depression, is a medical illness that causes extreme shift in mood, energy, and functioning. These changes may be subtle or dramatic and typically vary greatly over the course of the person's life as well as among individuals. Over 10 million people in America have bipolar disorder and the illness affects men and women equally. Bipolar disorder is a chronic and generally life-long condition with reoccurring episodes of mania and depression that can last from days to months. These episodes often begin in adolescence or early adulthood, and occasionally even in children. Most people generally require some sort of life long treatment." (CareNotes System, Bryan LGH Medical Center)

As previously mentioned I recently spent a good deal of time in the hospital in both the Affective Disorder ward and the Partial Hospitalization Program. My total time spent was approximately three months. I believe part of the reason my time was so extensive was that my initial diagnosis of Depression, Anxiety Disorder and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) was partially incorrect.

When someone is diagnosed with Depression initially and given antidepressants which also will calm anxiety it will make manic stages of bipolar more extreme. In my case not only did my mania worsen but so did my depressive states. Things became so much worse than anything I had ever experienced before.  By the time I was admitted for my safety to the Affective Disorder ward I was so fearful of simply going to work at all that I would have a panic attack each time the thought would enter my mind that "I need to go to work."

Though my time spent in the hospital I realized I am not alone. Others suffer as I do. This stigma that surrounds the bipolar illness should not be there any longer. This illness is just like any serious health condition. I compare it to cancer quite often.
          It can effect every aspect of your body.
          It requires the help of doctors regularly.
          You must take your meds in order to get and stay better.
          There are support groups which can help and you should check out.
          It can become life threatening.
          And most importantly some days you will not feel like getting out of bed and continuing to fight but you must!

My title of this blog is meant to make fun of the stigma. Most of those with this condition including myself at one point have seen ourselves though the eyes of the stigma. No one wants to be diagnosed with this condition. It's difficult on your family and yourself. You will never be cured and without consistent work you will never get better or stay that way. Although this illness is something we must endure it is something if we choose that we can we may live with. Perhaps for others suffering the hard work will pay off. Having a stable mood could be one of the greatest blessings you experience in your life!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

An Introduction to the Road of Healing

I am a girl like so many others with a troubled past. A past that sometimes is difficult to bear and impossible to speak of to others, even my spouse. Recently I spent a few months in and out of the hospital because I was suicidal, not once but twice.

My entire life I've had emotional issues. You could say that I've been on a roller coaster that I have come to call my existence. It goes up and down and the ups are just as extreme as the downs.

When I was young I was very much aware that something was wrong....something I couldn't fix on my own. No matter how much I prayed, this curse wouldn't go away. Yes, this last time was not my first embrace to suicidal thoughts as they have always been a part of me as long as I can remember. I begged to be seen by a doctor as a child but that would not occur until I became an adult. In tears I would come. It would be the beginning of a long journey, one I could not escape!

These are my confessions, experiences, opinions, and my life. I hope to give to others a sense of hope that I have so recently received. Although I have this illness (specifically Bipolar Type 1) I will not be held captive and I will never be defeated!
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