- Mental Health
Living With Bipolar
Reach For Stability
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- Bipolar Disorder: I Can't Give It Back
Living with a mental illness can be an daunting experience. Having bipolar disorder is often a curse, although I have heard many call it a blessing. I do know however, it is something you cannot give back.
Get Over Yourself
I have been bipolar for a few years now, I've traveled the world unexpectedly hoping to find a dream. A dream I did not find. I did however along the way find adventure, many wonderful friends, strangers wandering aimlessly, happiness in places I will probably never see again. Despair, hopelessness and enough crazy behaviors to last my entire lifetime.
I have been diagnosed about a dozen times, quite possibly more. The reason being every time I moved I had to find a new psychiatrist and therapist. So I ended up going through the whole process each time. So that tells me I finally had to come to believe I was mentally ill, like it or not. I had been fighting the diagnosis from day one. There was no way I was bipolar. I just was not. "Get over yourself", I've been told a number of times.
I had choices, find a way to live with it or die. I did not make the right ones for a very long time. I became a substance abuser, any substance was fine. Hard liquor, and Vicodin being my number one preference.
I have lived in the mental hospital, rehab, or a half-house more than my own. Not really but it feels like it. I eventually ended up on disability after going through job after job. Never remaining stable long enough to stay in one place, or I would have an episode and call in sick to many times. Or causing misadventure at work during a manic episode resulting in insubordination. And eventually being fired the only solution.
"So here I am today still on disability, fairly stable. I still have bipolar episodes. I still struggle with believing I am bipolar. Still fighting the stigma along the way. Am I really so different?"
It has always been my goal to fit in from the first day I was diagnosed. I have never felt normal since K-5 when I decided talking was overestimated. From that time on I spoke very until around third grade. But these days having been through so much it is to the point it doesn't matter what people think. It's their perception, not mine. But in reality it's deeper than that.
I never wanted to be different, but I always thought that way. So I acted like I felt, imagine that? If I acted small enough no one could see me, or notice what I was doing. I actually pretended I was an object all through my childhood. That is how I survived my unpleasant young adult life. As long as it was not me I made it.
All this among whatever bipolar episode I was having. If I was not manic, I was depressed. If I was not either of those I was mixed, that being manic and depressed at the same time. A real pleasure. Especially for those around me. I am sure they wanted to slap me, or lock me away.
So all this brings me to now, still questioning my diagnosis. Do I know I am bipolar? Yes-because I learned the hard way. Ironically to this day I cannot bypass the wild card. What If? Well maybe this time nothing will happen. I always have that in the back of my head. I use to think I was pretending that too. Because I was told to get over it. It was just for attention. Well if this were true, than sweet Jesus give me some attention.
Please! The sad part being I only obviously wanted the most attention when I was not taking my medications. So I apparently was a non medicated attention monger seeking cannot get off the crazy train goofwad.
It has always been excessively difficult for me to accept this diagnosis. You have bipolar 1 with mixed episodes. Twelve times over. I can almost remember each time, each doctor's name. Almost but not quite. I remember the third psychiatrist I saw, I was in one of my long hospital stays, he told me I was a perfect textbook case of Bipolar 1 he'd ever observed. Am I supposed to be proud? Cool, I get a plaque for nut of the month and a special parking space.
This went on for several more years. Because I kept moving. Each doctor confirmed the last doctors diagnosis. I would always end up in the hospital for psychotic manic episodes, so there was no hiding it. There was so many overdoses, alcohol poisoning, suicide attempts, the depressions were hard to hide as well. Suicide attempts, sorrow, prevented me from going to work. I just kept repeating the same patterns over and over.
The simplest way to find wellness with bipolar is follow some rules you set for myself and stick to them.
→Take my meds-all the time.
→Get enough sleep-Try to have a routine here. Otherwise my rhythm is out of whack. I can stay up for days when I am not on the right medication.
→ Watch my diet-Eat healthy foods, stay clear of a lot sugars & fats. I do okay here. I crave carbohydrates often.
→Exercise. As much or as little as I can tolerate. If I can get outside that is even better. Fresh air and sunshine does wonders especially if you're feeling depressed.
There is always that nagging voice that says just one more time. Try it and see. But I have so much chaos already, I do not need more. I just want to feel normal and not irregular around other people.Why should it matter what other people think? It should not. One person's sensitivity is another persons cruelty.
And that's how the cookie crumbles.