Last year, I did it. I came out with my story. I decided I was done hiding. That is what I felt I was doing. I was ashamed. Ashamed of what? It’s not my fault my brain is the way it is. I didn’t ask for this. I came to realize that I was probably doing so well because I had a friend. I had a friend who knew EXACTLY what I was going through, because they were also going through it. Where would I be if I didn’t have this person? So, I sucked it up and decided to share my story. If I did this, I might help someone just like me who didn’t have that person. My husband and my friends and family love me and care about me, but they don’t understand my illness because they don’t live it. I am so happy I did. I have connected with people who share my story. People now understand why I do and have done the things I have. This was my post. One year ago today, I came out of the bipolar closet.
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.
In the last 3 years I have had approximately 3 depressive episodes and 2 hypomanic episodes. I see my psychiatrist every 3-4 months, more if I’m having an episode. (I updated this 10/20/2016)
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 ❤️