Every journey has a story. My road to recovery is laden with potholes, puddles, landmarkers, and best of all, pit stops.
As early as my memory permits me to recall, I have been different from my peers. It went above and beyond the Mr. Rogers addage. “Every snowflake is unique.” It only occurred to me in my early teens that it seemed as if there was a monster crying deeper inside of me.
After several years, I made a true cry of help, and began treatment. At that point, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. I spent the next five years on various antidepressants, with no relief. Eventually, I ended up discontinuing treatment on my own. It was ineffective and I became an uninsured adult.
Between the time of late teens to early twenties, I spiralled into an altered world of substance abuse. For me, it was difficult to determine what was typical for my age group, until it was far too late. By the time I was 21, I was using a host of substances, all within the scope of what a pathetic part-time job could buy me. I especially liked freebies. Doing favors often brought me prescription medication, cocaine, marijuana, and best of all, alcohol.
After a life of being verbally and physically abused, I found myself being domestically abused. I lived in a delapitated house, and had no basic necessities. Finally, I had hit rock bottom.
A man came back into my life. He had been one of my best friends for five years. And this man reached in, pulled me out, and saved my life with his love.
Truly, love is not enough to be a cure for mental health disorder. But, it was enough of a start.
Xan and I were soon married and had a little baby boy (Beast). After such a whirlwind romance, I was struck with mental illness harder than ever in my postpartum. I cried constantly. I insisted people were attempting to take my son away, or my husband was going to run away. The paranoia had tendrils that wrapped around each branch of my life. I spent majority of my time in bed. I struck at objects and screamed.
Finally, the last straw was the day drinking and the fact that I feared myself. Six months after Beast was born, I sought treatment.
At that point, in my mid-twenties, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II, mistaken to be the milder sibling of Bipolar I. I was put on Lamictal and Ativan and continued treatment from there.
Two years later, part of my own self-treatment became blogging. I originally began As The Pendulum Swings, my monologue and outlet for my BP II.
I managed to have three months of a stable episode, when all hell broke loose. I started my first recognizable mixed and manic episodes with psychotic features. After several months, I voluntarily hospitalized myself. It turns out my symptoms have flown beyond the radar for quite some time, along with other diagnoses.
If you’d like to read more on As the Pendulum Swings, please leave a comment.
As a close friend of mine always told me, “Labels are for jelly jars.” Sure, we can attach Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Post-Traumtic Stress Disorder alone with Lulu. But, those are just my clinical identifiers. I am not my disorder. But, I know my disorders are just one part of a more complete me.
Thank you for sharing this. I think this will help a lot of people. I have struggled myself with my own mental well-being. While not as serious as yours, I have struggled with depression. I too was on Lamictal (for epilepsy, but my consultant said it would help the depression too) and I noticed that if I wasn’t taking it, I would go into a kind of hibernation. I’ve always had issues with over-sleeping and mood swings, and I have to pretty much steer clear of alcohol because the next day I’m so down, I can’t talk to anyone.
I have my ups and downs. All year, I was working and felt pretty good. I think I felt valued and needed. Now that the summer holidays are here, I’m thrown out of my routine and I can feel the depression starting to set in. That’s why I started my blog-if not to make other’s laugh, to make myself laugh. It feels good.
I’m glad I’ve read your entries. They have actually helped me a lot.
Today I read an article about the “Mad Pride” activists, and was wondering if you are aware of this movement? I found the following weblink about it:
Thanks for bringing this to my attention! I’m going to have something out by tomorrow morning. I’m actually really excited! But, a little distracted by job hunting….