I was still living in Honolulu, Hawaii at the time of my diagnosis. However, everything was wonderful, I mean I lived in paradise! I had just graduated from high school, I had my first love, I had received good grades in school, had good friends and was on my way to college. I was on my way to college in Tampa Florida. I grew up a military brat, so moving was normal for my family and I. However, this was different because I would begin “adulthood” in a new city and state, knowing no one, not really sure what I even wanted to do in college, and now being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Basically I said fuck it, lets rage, I’m ready for what the world throws me.
The next 8 years would test me in ways a “normal” functioning adult couldn’t even imagine. Adapting to new situations was something that I was used to. I moved a lot, so moving to Tampa for college seemed no different, except it was. I made friends, some that I am still friends with until this day, but I also made fake friends. I would always choose to spend my time with these fake friends, and what I mean by that, is being self destructive with them because they lived wild, drank, partied and did drugs. I thought this was normal. I didn’t care that I would spend sometimes weeks away from my parent’s home so I could go party in another town, about an hour away.
I lied, I cheated, I stole and I did not care what happened to me as long as I could always have fun. I barely made it through college, even failing some classes and having to retake them because I honestly didn’t care then. I didn’t graduate for me back then, I did it for my family, to avoid rejection or being kicked out of the house.
I spent the next years of my life in terrible relationships. My relationships always started due to one night stands. I was having promiscuous sex with too many people, it’s hard to even look back on. I struggled with addiction. I was addicted to everything, not just pills, weed and alcohol. I was addicted to relationships because they also seemed to fill some void in my life. The people I dated right up until the healthy relationship I’m in now, were destructive and just dragged me down with them.
I didn’t connect with my family at all. They were in denial and so was I. I let myself completely spiral out of control. I just stopped caring about my future and myself as a whole.
Just because I was diagnosed and taking meds didn’t mean I was taking them like I was supposed to, or not taking them at all. On top of that, the recreational drugs and drinking wasn’t helping me either. I had domestic disputes with a boyfriend which led me to jail for domestic battery and I also received a DUI on top of that. I was hospitalized at least three times for attempting suicide and suicidal ideation. A hard pill to swallow, I know. I eventually went to rehab, twice, to get me sober. That’s when I realized I had a serious problem, and that problem was me.
Everything that had happened to me, everything and everyone that I blamed for my unhappiness was actually me not taking control of myself and not taking the proper steps to manage my condition. Bipolar Disorder became real to me and I started to take it more seriously. I talked to my dad a lot. My dad had always been an inspiration to countless people about overcoming hardships and building the life he wanted. He was in the Air Force for a long time, he was also a pilot because he loved to fly. Flying was his passion. We talked about life, setting goals, how to live each day the best you can, we even went to church together and I hate church. I just wanted to spend time with my dad, someone I had taken for granted my whole life. I learned a lot from him. I learned how to be strong.
My father died March 18th, 2016. He was involved in a fatal plane crash with his best friend who was also a big part of our family as well. The news was devastating. I remember the song I was listening to in the car when my mom called me to tell me to get to the Peter O Knight Airport because something bad happened to my dad. I didn’t know he was gone until I got there. After this, I grieved. Grieving is a very confusing part of life. Grieving over my father’s sudden death was very hard for everyone in my family. After the funerals and the everything else that comes after the loss of a loved one, the stages of grief hit me one after the other. Anger, depression and pain consumed me.
I do not recognize the person I was back then. The person I was back then was Bipolar Disorder in full force, untreated and constantly rebelled against. Now I am a person with Bipolar Disorder that is an artist, an empath, an advocate, a sister, a daughter and most importantly someone who doesn’t allow pain to rule their life. I am so grateful to be alive and I have myself to thank.