I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2003, but I have struggled with it for much longer. Over the past year, it has severely affected my health to the point of having a mental and emotional breakdown, and has completely impacted my ability to work.
I took on writing a couple of articles for a local magazine while I was feeling well a couple of months ago, but soon after my mood plummeted, and I had to trudge through a deep depression. It took all I had to get those articles out, and as of now, I’m not taking on anything else. I can’t. Even writing this blog post today is an accomplishment.
I have honestly been contemplating filing for disability, because of how bipolar disorder has taken over my entire life. I have been unable to hold a job through most of my adult life due to mental illness. Bipolar depression is especially crippling, and I have had a history of being bedridden anywhere from a few days to a few weeks because of it. Going to work was not an option, and I would call in “sick,” which wasn’t a lie. I was sick.
However, most people don’t understand that depression doesn’t mean someone is just sad. It’s what I refer to as The Darkness, because it swallows me whole, and I’m mentally and physically unable to function. This alongside instability, irritability due to sensory overstimulation, memory problems and anxiety (which have all become worse with age) have cost me more jobs than I care to count.
Then, I stumbled across Julie Fast’s Instagram account a few weeks back, and I was intrigued by her story, how she lives with her disorder, and what she has learned along the way. She gave great advice and really knew her stuff. It was also encouraging to see others who faced the hardships of living with mental illness, and how they were progressing in managing their symptoms of this frustrating disorder. I became inspired and hopeful.
I want to live my life to its fullest. I want to be an equal partner in my marriage, a more involved mother, and a better friend. I want to use my gifts and make an impact in this world. I want to reach my goals and be an active participant in my own life. I need to find a way to take control and get my life back!
I decided to order Julie’s book Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder and received it on Monday. Already I have learned a lot, especially the fact that before anything else can be accomplished, I have to treat the illness of bipolar disorder first. So that is my focus right now: learning more about my disorder, making sure I’m on the right meds, doing the work to become more stable, and putting the proper support systems/people in place to aid me with my health.
Bipolar disorder is a chemical imbalance in the brain. I can’t be cured from it, but I can treat it in order to become more stable and finally be able to fully live my life again. I’m hopeful this process will help me live my life again. To be continued…