Where do I begin?
I go by the nickname of Lee. I am 29 years old and am separated. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II about five years ago and let me tell you, it has been quite the doozy.
I remember the first thought I had when my psychiatrist had given me such a “drastic” diagnosis from all of the previous psychiatrists – denial. I followed into the stigma of mental illness and said to myself, “But I’m not crazy. People with Bipolar Disorder are crazy. He has to be wrong, he’s gotta be.” From the age of 18 I had been diagnosed with depression and that alone. I picked and chose when to keep up with my medicine and for the most part, always felt like I was fine without it. But one day I was in the car with the man who would later become my husband, we’ll call him D, losing my, for a lack of a better word, shit. I was yelling, crying, kicking the inside of his car. I knew then that I needed help, I was not living life and this was not the first time I had lashed out. So D found me a psychiatrist with positive reviews and back I went into getting help. My new psychiatrist was different; he wanted tons of background information into my childhood, my behavior, essentially narrowing down my personality in a sense. The appointment was an hour long and I found myself in tears as though I had been holding on to some deep dark secret for years. It was in this meeting I became the worst kind of person in the world, I shamed an illness because I was embarrassed to have it.
That evening when I got home, I began to read up on Bipolar Disorder II and realized that, that was me. The anger, the sadness, the lethargy, the periods of increased energy and feeling as though I was invincible. Even though I read these articles I was still in denial. I did not want to be Bipolar (my opinion on being and having changes but we’ll get to that later).
So I started on my first regiment, Zoloft and Lamictal. It worked for maybe three months and then I crashed down. Over the last five years, the only constant medication I have been on is Lamictal, my mood stabilizer which does a pretty damn good job. Currently, Effexor is my anti-depressant and I’m…well, I’m here. This isn’t my first bout with Effexor, I was on it three years ago but it made my migraines so bad I was in the ER almost every month. Then I went on Pristiq, a sister to Effexor, which did its job however, was not a medication covered by insurance. It got to the point where I could no longer shell out over $100 a month and it had stopped being effective for me anyways. When it looked the pickings were slim, I requested to go back on Effexor hoping that side effects would be different and thankfully, they have although don’t ever forget to take a dose, that side effect will be the worst thing you will ever experience. So Effexor and Lamictal have been my friends for the last year and a half and while the sea for the most part is calm, I’ve definitely had a recent event that has rocked my boat and brought me into numbness and simply existing. We’ll get to that later as well.
So at what point did I learn to accept my diagnosis, take my cocktail of medications, and continued marching on? That’s a story I’ll tell you about soon but for now – love, peace, and chicken grease.
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