I’ve decided to break my silence. I should not be ashamed for something I have no control over. I’ll probably find out who my true friends are after I post this. But I can not help anyone if no one knows my suffering. Nobody knows my full story. I have shared bits and pieces to a select few, but now I want to share it with everyone in hopes that it may help one person, in hopes that it may save one life. I have decided to become an advocate for people like me. Ask me anything, I will tell you. Need help? I will find it for you. I can tell you funny stories about my illness and scary stories.
Everyday starts with a question: Can I do this today?
Facts about MY Bipolar and Anxiety (everybody is different.)
Remember, I was an actress. I’m very good at pretending. Most of the time you never know I am suffering. I am afraid of what people will think of me because the stigma is harsh. But it won’t get better if I keep hiding. Questions? Ask!! Suffering? I can help or get you help.
I have bipolar II, meaning I suffer from bipolar depression and hypomania (a lesser form of mania.)
I have generalized anxiety disorder. So, I have anxiety about EVERYTHING! Mostly crowds, being around strangers and strange places, meeting new people. You know that feeling you get when you’re nervous? That’s it times 10. Usually consist of heart palpitations and shakiness. Uncontrollable worrying.
I was misdiagnosed in 1999 with having depression starting after Marian was born. Finally correctly diagnosed in 2006. Over the past 16 years I’ve been on approximately 5 antidepressants, 3 antipsychotic’s, 3 mood stabilizers, and Xanex (not all at the same time of course!) You name it, I’ve probably been on it! My cocktail now has worked well for the past few years.
Depression sucks. It is more than feeling down. It brings you to the pit of despair. I have never wanted to harm myself personally but I have not wanted to live and hoped I’d never wake up. The last time I was that depressed was June 2013. Mostly, when I’m depressed, I sleep the day away and have to force myself to sit on the couch with my family. I cry a lot and don’t want to do anything. Showering is optional.
My mania consists of sleeplessness, rapid speech, spending money (hubby tightened the reigns on this), drinking too much, heightened sex drive and having endless energy.
I cannot work. I worked until my youngest was 2. After I got divorced I had to work again. Being a single mom battling this disorder was very challenging and I tried really hard. I worked 35-40 hours a week for 2 years and I kept going downhill with worsening depression and anxiety attacks. My psychiatrist put me on FMLA working 32 hours a week and intermittent leave. It still worsened. I was popping Xanex like it was candy. My worst anxiety attack that sent me to the hospital for a full work up (EKG, drug panel, etc) was just that, an anxiety attack. I sat in my car and cried to my mom and made the decision that I couldn’t live like this anymore. I applied for disability and fought, without a job, for a year and a half before I won.
I have bipolar anger. Yes, this is a thing. I’m not proud that I have had people tell me they are afraid of me and they would never cross me. I get highly irritable and have been known to lose my shit. This is a work in progress.
That’s my daily struggle. I’m happy to share specifics with anyone. I’m making my advocacy public, so please if you know anyone, even just so they know they are not alone. I’m here for everyone ❤