Living With Manic Depression, Anxiety Disorder, and Bipolar Disorder As A Teenager (Part II)
By: Toni Whisenant
My life has become solemnly different since being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. When I first found out that I was Bipolar, I kept telling myself "You're crazy. Why even go out into public anymore? They'll all know you're not sound of mind." Honestly, I believe I was thinking in such a wrong way. I was thinking in every wrong way imaginable. I kept telling myself that I couldn't do anything anyone who is normal can do. I look back at myself now and think "Wow. Was I wrong." I had to teach myself that being Bipolar didn't mean the end of anything for me, let alone "normal" things. It took me over 2 years to understand that Bipolar Disorder wasn't the end for me. It was the beginning of who I am today. I've learned to step back and look at every situation a little more logically and a little less emotionally, which has helped me a ton. Yea, I argue more than a lot of people. Yea, I take things more personally than what I should take them. But that's what makes me, well... Me.
I was 16 years old, just a sophmore in high school. I had moved from Las Vegas, NV to Roseburg, OR in December of 2008. In June of 2009, I had run away from home. My parents kept yelling at me and I decided to ditch school. When my dad had found out that I ditched, he called me on my cell and started ripping me a new one. In the middle of our less-than-polite "conversation", i told him to f@#k off and hung up on him. I turned my cell phone off, and walked 5 miles with my boyfriend at the time to our friend's house. My parents weren't at all happy. They called 911 and reported me as a run away. Unfortunately, my parents knew my boyfriend's name and because of that, the cops knew where to look.
I was hanging out at my friend's house with my boyfriend when our friend told us to hide in the garage because the cops were knocking on his front door. We walked into the garage and stayed deadly quiet. I could hear the cop ask things like "Do you know...?" and said mine and my boyfriend's names. Of course, he said yes, but he didn't know where we were. He also asked "Have you seen them today?" and "Do you know where she could be?" to which he replied no to both. I was extremely thankful. They had left, but it was time for me to leave, too. Another of my friends that lived close by told police I was probably at my friend's house. Which made me extremely angry. But hey, why hold a grudge over someone when I was the one being naive? When the police had shown up again and left, I called my mom to have her pick me up from where I was. She was worried sick at this point. She yelled and screamed and cursed at me over the phone. I told her "Just come get me and we can talk about it then." Yet again, I just hung up the phone.
After about 20 minutes, she arrived to pick me up. All she could do when she saw me was yell, and that didn't make me feel too good, so I threatened her with "There will be blood tonight." Which in my vocabulary means "I'm going to hurt myself and it will be all your fault." After the yelling had ceased, we drove in complete silence for almost 10 minutes straight. I started acting like everything was alright. I would crack a few jokes and my mom would crack a few right back at me. The rest of the drive home was giggles and smiles. Then I got home and saw my dad, who immediately started in with "Why the hell do you treat your mother and I like this?" which got me right back into that deadly anger. I started yelling at him, and he at me. 'Why do they treat me like crap all the time?' I kept asking myself. 'Do they not love me? I'm their oldest daughter, and they're going to treat me like this?' Which, in reality, wasn't it at all. I was like Hurricane Katrina wrapped into all 5'6", 165 pounds of me. I ran into my bedroom and just locked myself in there until we got a phone call on the land line. It rang once... twice... After a few seconds of no ringing, I picked up the phone and listened into this conversation.
"...found her. She was at a friend's house. But when I picked her up, she said 'there will be blood tonight." said my mom in a calm voice.
"She said there would be blood tonight? What did she mean?" said a deep, unfamiliar voice.
"Yes. I have no idea what she meant. Can you help us?"
"Yes. We will send a couple officers down to put her into protective custody. From there, she will be given a ride to Mercy [the hospital] and will be put into a room for a mental evaluation." said that same unfamiliar voice.
That was when I hung up. 'My mom called the cops on me. Of course she hates me. She must hate me for her to do something like that to me. How dare she?' was what I had thought. You know how they say "Hell hath no fury like a woman's scorn"? Well, at this point that saying changed to "Hell hath no fury like an overly-emotional teenaged girl." I stormed out of my room, hitting walls, yelling, screaming, and cussing. I almost kicked my cats out of the way because I was, simply put, seeing red. I wanted to murder someone more than anything. I came out into the living room (while my mom was still on the phone) and just screamed "WHAT THE F@#K DO YOU WANT FROM ME?! WHY DO YOU ALL HATE ME SO F@#KING MUCH? WHAT DID I EVER DO TO YOU?!" After that was said and done, I dropped to the floor and just started bawling. From the time I hung up the phone to the time I dropped to the floor, maybe 15 seconds had passed by. Now that's what you call mood swings from Hell. After bawling for a good ten minutes, I got calm enough to stop crying, then became completely numb. Nothing made me laugh. I couldn't cry. I wasn't even capable of feeling necessary feelings like hunger or thirst. I basically went catatonic. I couldn't even really see nor speak nor hardly understand what was being said to me.
During that catatonic state, the police had shown up. I heard the knocking and the mournful greetings. (I say mournful because everyone at the door sounded like someone had just died and they were visiting the family of the deceased.) The sheriff, or so I later found out, walked in front of me. He was a larger guy, about 5'10'' and 350 pounds. I could tell he liked his alcohol, most likely whiskey. He had white hair that made him look older than what he was. And he had nose hair that probably tickled the underside of his chin. He looked at me in a trying-to-understand-you-but-really-can't sort of way. The deputy sheriff stepped in behind him. He was about 6'1'' and about 195 pounds of muscle. Brown hair, brown eyes, and a tan that could make the Greek gods themselves whisper to each other in envy. He was gorgeous to say the least. He gave me a more respectable look; a look more of wonder and amazement than disgust and horror.
"How are you today, young lady?" the sheriff asked too sweetly.
I giggled. I giggled not because I thought it was funny nor was I flattered. I giggled because all I could think of was 'What? Are you f@#king stupid?' with the male Italian voice I get stuck in my head every now and again. They both exchanged looks and looked back at me like "This is a lot worse than what we thought."
"I said, how are you today?" the sheriff asked again, this time a little more cautiously.
"I'm alright, I suppose." I said quietly, more to myself than to anyone else.
"Well, we got a call that you were attempting to commit suicide or that you were going to hurt yourself. Is that true?" the deputy sheriff asked, concern in his voice.
"Why the Hell does it matter to you? I mean, really. I'm no one to you. Just another statistic." I said, bitterly.
"Little Miss..." the sheriff began.
"That's not my name." I said even more bitter.
The sheriff continued on. "...We are trying to keep you safe. Will you please tell us whether or not you were going to hurt yourself?"
"Yes. I was." I surrendered after a slight hesitation.
"Well, we're going to have to search you to make sure that you don't have any weapons or drugs on you. After that, my deputy and I are going to have to handcuff you for our protection and take you to the hospital to get a mental evaluation. Depending on whether you cooperate with us or not, it'll all be very easy. Do you understand?" the sheriff said.
So the deputy sheriff patted me down (the second best part of that entire day, if I do say so myself) and then handcuffed me (that would be the best part) and walked me to the sheriff's cruiser. He put me in the cruiser and shut the door behind me, where I sat alone in the car for about five minutes. When the sheriff got in, we started talking like we were old friends; just laughing and giggling the whole way to the hospital. When we got there, we parked outside the ER. The sheriff calmly walked to the door and opened it for me, but before he got me out of the car, told me "Hey, listen. You're a good kid and I can tell. I'm sorry you got into this rut of trouble. Just keep your head held high and you'll do just fine." That kind of clicked something for me. It was pretty cool having some stranger actually care for me.
While we sat in the waiting room to the ER, people looked at me. And I don't mean just kind of glanced over and looked away. I mean they were downright mean mugging me. I didn't do anything wrong! Why did they look at me like that?! Oh, yea. Because I was handcuffed. In the middle of the ER waiting room. Sitting next to a police officer. I definitely know how that looks. I've been there and done that. With every look that I got from people, I gave them a while, scared yet ferocious look right back, which scared some of the people there, or at least that's what I told myself. The sheriff didn't see my expressions, thank goodness, or else I would've ended up in Eugene in their mental health facility. I sat in the waiting room of the ER for a good 45 minutes before being called back into the "mental ward". (Now, just to clear things up, I know Hollywood has taught us that "mental wards" in hospitals are decrepit, dark, disgusting, creepy places. That's really not true. I was in a hospital in a mental evaluation room. It was very clean and not at all creepy.) I spent less than 24 hours in that seven-foot-by-nine-foot room on that extremely uncomfortable bed. (The "bed" consisted of a wooden table and a "cushion" that wouldn't cushion a nail falling off the table.) If anyone were to ask me how my stay at Mental Evaluation Motel was, I would most likely reply with something along the lines of "I've felt more comfortable on a bed of nails. Thanks for asking." Plus, I couldn't have hot food, (what is that all about?!) and the male nurse was a bit of a bitch. I would've rated the customer service at about a 2, and the food -10. Not my kind of vacation spot.
To make a long story short, the cop left, my family came, saw me, and left, I spent the night on a horrible bed, and woke up at 9 A.M. the next morning to two older women and one older man knocking on my door. I saw them and the song "They're Coming To Take Me Away" by Dr. Demento started playing in my head. (Coincidence? I think not!) They started talking to me about my suicidal past, what had transpired the day before, and about my insomnia, among other things. The male doctor prescribed me some pills and referred me to the school psychologist, who later referred me to a psychiatrist. She basically shoved pills down my throat and told me I wouldn't really be a potential member of society if I didn't take the pills. But look at me now! I'm beaming as I write this, just to prove to her that I am a potential member of society and I can get along very well without prescriptions or anyone telling me I can't.
Being Bipolar as a teenaged girl really (for lack of a better word) sucked. I had emotional break downs constantly and couldn't stand to be around anyone or anything. I couldn't enjoy the things I loved to do and I wasn't ever happy with myself. The prescriptions I had to take for a while made me feel like a zombie. So, I took control of my life. I stopped taking my prescriptions to better myself. And better myself I did.