I have officially launched the first of some of my mental health awareness products! Continue reading “Mental Health Awareness Product Launch”
It’s been months since I’ve written a post, or even opened my WordPress page actually… Life decided to throw me a few more curve balls (I didn’t catch them, they hit me). But we will save the details of that for another post.
I’m slowly realizing that writing is one of the most beneficial things I can do for myself right now. Working out had always been my outlet, it always made me feel better. But with depression, I find myself having to force myself to workout. And that’s not always the easiest when I’m having a really bad day. The thought of making myself presentable and having to put on an act for other people just does not appeal to me whatsoever. In fact, I’m perfectly content at home alone, listening to music. Sometimes it’s better that way.
It’s been over a year now since the onset of my bipolar disorder and sometimes it feels like no one seems to know my struggle. My episodes are rapid cycling, very abrupt, it catches even me off guard sometimes. But I’m beginning to have the ability to identify when an episode is happening. Everything can be going great and something small can trigger me and my mood takes a complete turn around. Sometimes, my husband seems to still not understand that I can’t control it. It’s like he thinks I use being bipolar as an excuse for my behavior, but I don’t. I hate it.
“I’ve hit highs, and felt lows. Held on, and I’ve let go. Stood tall through bad calls.”
I cry all the time, wishing that I didn’t have to be this way. He’ll tell me “just stop then.” I wish it was that simple, if it was, I wouldn’t be this way. I think one of the things I miss the most about me before my bipolar onset is being confident and strong enough to not let other people control or affect my mood. Now, if I’m already spiralling down and my husband doesn’t realize or have the patience to consider the fact that I’m not doing it on purpose, it’s a recipe for disaster. The arguments start and the insults are thrown around. I fall weak and he holds the power. He always wins. My world falls apart and his stands strong and held together. Hatred flowing through my veins, on the verge of going insane, thinking of a thousand reasons why I don’t believe of him and I. He knows the way to sink us. My mind races, swarmed with thoughts. Why would he want to do this to me? Why does he want to hurt me? Why doesn’t he want to help me? My mind begins to get lost in the past.
The emotional pain is so unbearably agonizing that my mind begins to dance with the devil, filling with thoughts of physical pain. Telling me that I am the only one that wants me around. From my perspective, self-harm seems to be thought of as an escape. Like anything would feel better than the pain I feel inside that I can’t control. But I know better now. I know that it won’t help. I know that I don’t want to end up in the mental hospital for the fourth time. I begin to panic, here I am again. The fact that these thoughts even still cross my mind is bone-chilling. I just keep telling myself that everything will be alright. I have to keep telling myself that.
I have found medicine that has been able to stabilize me a lot, but medicine isn’t a cure all. It has definitely helped me, but I still have to learn how to handle this myself. In fact, I’m currently experiencing a relapse. Mania and depression have become prominent again after a long period of being in remission. It’s frustrating. I had been doing good for so long and out of nowhere I began to experience more intense episodes. The disappointment is overwhelming and the setback is painful. I have began to search for a different medicine as the one that was working before clearly isn’t sufficient now.
Slowly I am beginning to learn how to identify triggers and episodes and discover new ways of coping. If anyone is reading this that is more recently diagnosed with bipolar, know that it takes time. I know you’re probably sick of hearing that like I was, and still am sometimes, but it’s true. It takes time to find the right medicine. It takes time to figure yourself out (not sure I will ever completely). It takes time to be able to tell yourself that everything will be okay, but know that it will be. You are stronger than you think you are.
Some days I want to quit with all of these medications, therapy sessions and coping techniques, and just be normal for a bit. However, the reality is that most longitudinal studies support the notion that bipolar disorder is a chronic lifelong condition. So hey, I’m stuck with it. That’s still hard for me to grasp.
There are arguments that with the right kind of psychotherapy, people suffering with bipolar disorder can live without drugs. Then, there are arguments at the other end of the spectrum that bipolar disorder is biologically based, chronic and lifelong. Essentially, if you’ve got it, you’re stuck with it and there’s little to no chance of resolution. Every part of me wants to believe that I can learn to take control of myself again and manage my life without medications, I hate medications. The side effects are horrible and I hate having to set alarms multiple times a day to take pills.
You hear a lot of people saying that they are recovering, but that is a lot different from it going away forever. Unfortunately, bipolar disorder, like most other modern medical illnesses, doesn’t tend to go completely away even with treatment. Have you ever thought about this before? Take a second to consider this and pick any major modern disease – cancer, heart disease, diabetes, HIV, dementia, autoimmune disorders. For most of these conditions, doctors can control symptoms but cannot eradicate the underlying disease process. Mood disorders share many of the same disease pathways as these other illnesses, and because of this they can often be managed very well but seldom cured. This is one of the reasons that major depression and bipolar disorder are such painful and devastating conditions. Experiencing the swinging moods, shifting energy levels, sleep difficulties and intrusive anxiety, associated with bipolar disorder can feel overwhelming. And managing it can feel the same.
There are times when I entertain the fact that maybe I’m not bipolar. Maybe all the stress in my life at the time of my said ‘bipolar onset’ was just me having a mental break down. Stress can affect anyone, whether they have a mental illness or not. It doesn’t deem me crazy. Maybe once my life completely falls back together and gets less stressful I can handle myself just fine. I wouldn’t say that out loud for anyone else to hear though, I’ve made that mistake before. I get the typical reaction of them feeling sorry for me and quietly thinking that I am delusional and need to accept the truth. Am I delusional though? No. Is it unlikely? Yes. But, I guess it’s me holding on to the hope that just maybe I will feel like myself again and not question what is really me, or what is ‘normal’. Is that so bad?
The holistic approach to mental health supports a full body approach, utilizing multiple fields of medicine and nutritional sciences. Continue reading “A Holistic Approach”