Manic Depression; My Story.
Manic Depression; My story
I was diagnosed with manic depression when I was 19 years old. I didn't believe it. I was fine. I had my ups and downs like everyone did. I was sad at times, I was extremely happy too. Why was that a problem. I had a manic episode. I thought I was supposed to save the world. I thought I could sing. I was a little off. I admit it. I was embarrassed by some of the things I said and did. I was hospitalized. I don't know if it helped much. I was in college and was in my first serious relationship with a much older man. I learned to forget that episode and got away with not taking any meds. I didn't need meds. I was fine.
Years went by and I didn't have a manic episode until I moved to Massachusetts at 28. I had started a new job and was under a lot of stress. I had my own place, lots of bills to pay and a lot of credit card debt. It kept me up at night. The amount of debt I had. Maybe it was from my manic spending times. I didn't sleep for almost a whole week, hardly ate anything. I was sick. I missed my training for my new job I started acting weird at work. I was super religious. I wanted to talk about God all the time. I thought I had this very special purpose. I was special in my own thoughts. i went to see psychiatrists and they never helped. I did all the talking, they just took my money and said a word or two, then prescribed some drugs. I only took them when I couldn't sleep. They made me feel, drugged up, not myself. I didn't believe in them. I believed that I could cure myself with God's help.
I was hospitalized a second time. This time in Massachusetts and it cost me my job. A job I had worked so hard to get and was so proud of. I was making more money than I had ever made up to that point. I was working in Boston. I was so proud of that job. They saw my erratic behavior and sent me to the hospital. I was working in a doctors office so they could see my unusual behavior as a problem. I never thought of killing myself. I never threatened to hurt myself. Seven days without sleep will mess with anyone's mind. I was not myself.
My grandmother was on her deathbed and I was in a mental hospital. I found out that she died when I was in the hospital and family members were asking about me. The secret was out. I had manic depression and had to go to the hospital. That first night in a jail like room with no windows was traumatizing. I felt like an animal waiting to be slaughtered and I had a dream about that, that very night. I slept walked for the first time in my life. I woke up and vowed never to eat meat again.I didn't eat a bite of meat for 3 months or more but with a meat eating family it was hard to not eat meat.
They gave you lots of drugs.The people there weren't all totally crazy. A lot of them looked quite normal. One guy was actually kind of attractive. Another girl also very pretty. She got out a day after I got there and told me to just look happy and dress nice and they will let you out. She was right. I did and on Christmas eve I was released. I would never return.
My parents packed up my stuff and made me move back to Vermont. That was the last place I wanted to go. I lost my job but I was determined to find another and make things work. The choice was taken away from me. My parents were taking me home and that was that. No matter how much I argued and begged. I had failed. I had failed big time in my eyes. I couldn't make ends meet. I couldn't take care of myself. I went back to Vermont and was extremely depressed for weeks. I didn't want to get out of bed. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I was grieving my job, my apartment and my freedom. I was the saddest that I can ever remember.
I slowly came around and told myself that, that job wasn't right for me anyway. I would never fit in there. I went back to work for my parents. I was so miserable. I was working afternoons, nights, anything that was available. I was a complete disappointment to myself. People could see that. Customers asked why I was always so sad. They could see it. I tried to change. I really didn't have anything to be sad about anymore. I had a job and a loving family, great friends. I changed my attitude. I read more about my illness. I went to my doctor who let me take fish oil instead of drugs because he knew how I felt about drugs. I appreciated that a lot. It helped a lot. I was myself again. I was content. Soon I would become an aunt and I was thrilled.
A year went by and I had no manic episodes or depression. I was in a steady mood and felt great. I did my first triathlon with my sister and I felt amazing. I was in shape. I was proud of myself. I even met a great guy and was starting a relationship with someone so sweet and thoughtful, who would do anything for me. Life was good. Manic depression wasn't going to bring me down. It wasn't going to define me. I am more than some lousy illness. I wasn't going to let Bi-polar tell me how to live my life. If I had grand dreams than I was going to find a way to make them happen in a realistic way. I wasn't going to let a disorder tell me that I couldn't be who I wanted to be.
Abraham Lincoln may have been manic depressive, did that stop him from being President of the USA? Did it stop him from being one of the best presidents in history? No, and it wasn't going to stop me. I started reading more about my disorder and the more I read the more I could see that my illness was very mild in comparison to some other people. Patty Duke had a severe case and still managed to be a successful actress. Catherine Zeta-Jones also admitted to having "Bi-Polar". Who knew? I'm currently reading a fascinating story called "Manic" a memoir by Terry Cheney. It is very interesting and makes me feel like I have my illness way more under control than this woman did. I feel I don't even have much of the illness in comparison. She takes you on an adventure of her life with manic depression. She attempts suicide 2 or 3 times. She goes to jail and still manages to be a successful lawyer in LA. She hides it from her colleagues and manages to live a normal life on the outside. This poor woman is lonely, though. She relies way too much on drugs and even has electric shock therapy which makes things worse.
I took the alternate route to treating my illness and I am happy I have. I eat really well, I exercise and I take my fish oil everyday. I sleep really well. When I don't I take a Valerian or chamomile tea. I don't rely on drugs. I will not rely on some lousy drugs to mask my problems. Some people really need those drugs to just get back to normal. I'm just glad I have not gotten on that track. I pray everyday for God's guidance and support and he always comes true for me.
I guess I'm sharing this because this book "Manic" has inspired me to share my story. This illness or disorder isn't a death sentence. It doesn't mean you can never be successful in your life. It doesn't mean that you have to be a victim to this demon. You can beat it. I have for the time being. I won't let someone tell me that my dreams are too grandiose. I won't let anyone tell me I'm sick. I may have had my sick moments. Haven't we all? No one is perfect. I always thought I was a pretty healthy person. I couldn't have any mental illness. I was totally fine. I've come to realize that denial doesn't help anyone. I do believe that I can cure myself with my mind and my spirit. I believe that with God all is possible. I don't let society tell me I have a problem. I don't let anyone tell me I'm less of a person because I have a mental illness. I am still a child of God. I am loved. I will not let anyone tell me otherwise. I am strong. I am intelligent. I am Beautiful.
The stigma against mental illness is really horrible. It is so hard to live with a disorder that you are ashamed to talk about. That you hide from everyone around you because they may think less of you. It's not fair that we have separated the mind from the physical body. Isn't the mind in there too. Why is it ok to say you have diabetes but if you admit you have bi-polar you're seen as crazy. It's just not fair. Society still doesn't know how to handle mental illness. Most of the time people with mental illness are arrested and put in jail. They are treated as less worthy human beings. This needs to stop. I think when people like Catherine Zeta-Jones and other celebrities come out and talk about this topic openly it helps those with mental illness in a big way. I thank those for coming forward and admitting they have an illness that can be treated and they can live a happy meaningful life. Mental Illness does not have to limit you. Remember that, believe that, because it is true. You are not less of a person because you are mentally ill. You simply need some help. We all need help at some point in our lives and that's what doctors and friends are put on this Earth for, to help us when we need it most. Don't be afraid to ask for help. That's the only way that you can get better. Ask for help. It is out there and you are not alone. You are loved by someone so much greater than yourself. Have faith in the power of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing impossible with God. Nothing. Be well, and God bless you.