Struggling with Bipolar Disorder

I thought about going through and deleting a bunch of my previous posts, but then I realized the randomness and consistent changing of my mind gives you readers more insight into the way my mind works.

For those of you just tuning in, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in late 2003/early 2004. I was suffering with postpartum depression after the birth of my son, which caused me to reach out for psychiatric help. During that time, after years of struggling and many attempts at controlling my mental health through talk therapy, the underlying culprit was finally given a name, and my treatment for bipolar disorder began. I have been on and off medication for years now in an attempt to keep me stable.

When I’m on a high, I can do anything. I take on too much, plan great things, and believe I can do it all.

But then the lows hit, and I can barely get out of bed. I want to hide, sleep, disappear from the world. Dealing with anything is just too much. Today is one of those days.

Actually, I’ve noticed the darkness gathering around me over the past couple of weeks. And yesterday it really came to a head. I couldn’t even take a shower. I stayed in my pajamas all day, ate very little, and laid around until my husband got up (he’s on night shift so sleeps till afternoon). When he got up, the dogs got up and ran around, and just the noise from their movement irritated me. I was suddenly angry and had to clench my jaw shut to keep from yelling at them, because I knew they weren’t doing anything wrong. Instead, I grabbed my tablet and cell phone, and told my husband I was ill and going to take a nap.

Once I got back there, I pulled the covers over my head and tried to get a handle on my thoughts. But I couldn’t stop my mind from racing, thinking about past events, decisions I had made, and things I have no control over now. I was so pissed at myself! I wanted to punch a wall, throw something, scream, hit myself in the face, be violent and destroy something! I absolutely hated myself in that moment, not just because of those thoughts about the past, but because of my stupid bipolar disorder that constantly makes me feel like I’m losing my mind.

I thought, this anger has got to be a side effect of my medication. I started doing research on the internet, looking for validation of meds being the cause of this anger. After a few minutes, my husband came into the room, and I told him my suspicions. After all, hadn’t I been a holy terror, especially over the past couple of weeks? Hadn’t I been lashing out and biting at everybody? He confirmed my behavior (poor, sweet guy let’s it roll off his back), and I told him I was calling my psych to change my meds. I called the office, left a message, and went back to researching my medication options.

But then, I stumbled across an article about the depression side of bipolar disorder that hit me square in the gut.

Source: HealthCentral Written by Julie A. Fast

It wasn’t the medication. It was me. It was my mood disorder. I knew this. I’ve dealt with this my whole life. But I wanted to feel like it wasn’t just me. I wanted to blame it on something else. I felt so guilty and hopeless–big, fat tears spilled out of my eyes.

My psych’s nurse called me back, and said my doctor wanted to see me asap. She said they had both agreed it wasn’t the medication, because those side effects would have been apparent soon after starting them. I told her I had realized it was a part of my depression, and we set an appt to see my psych Friday (now tomorrow).

This disorder is debilitating. It’s too high speed plummeting to deep despairing pits of darkness. It’s ugly. It’s mean. It’s dangerous.

I have been dealing with bipolar disorder, especially bipolar depression, for as long as I can remember. I’m tired. But I keep going. I keep fighting to find balance, to stay in the light more than the dark. I can’t let it win, even though sometimes I really want to throw up my hands and give up. For the sake of my loved ones, I keeping pushing through.

I just wanted to give you a little insight into my struggles so maybe it will help those of you who also struggle to know, you aren’t alone.

Your life matters! You matter! Please call, dear friend!

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