I would really love to work with an organization as a writer to further help the cause. I want to do this for life. There are non profit organizations that can and will help rehabilitate individuals who desperately need help when they can’t afford it. I am lucky I have help and support. I want to do everything in my power to support their recovery too. These organizations are important for saving a lot of lives. I know that’s seems like a huge leap, but I want to give back. I want to help end suffering. I want to do something about it.
I want to share my personal experience of what happened when I was Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at 18, and how much I struggled with what this illness would have in store for me while left untreated, ultimately destroying a big chunk of my youth. I just didn’t comply or believe it for a very long time until I spun completely out of control. So this is the story of my stubborn youth, which is putting it lightly.
In my late teens and early twenties, before I was properly medicated, let alone taking my diagnosis seriously, I honestly thought I was God’s gift to everyone. I would just party for days and would do all kinds of drugs because it felt so great and I just thought it was what we all did in college, I really thought I would be ok after taking molly and ecstasy for a month straight. When I wasn’t doing drugs to get high out of my mind, I was at least at the club 3 times a week until 3am getting wasted and belligerent.
I literally hated being alone and I wanted to do things all the time. Anything. I had to be out of the house doing something that was fun, yet destructive. I used to have a lot of one night stands, way too many of them. I can’t even remember their names, or if I even asked what their names were because I probably didn’t care anyways, because I was just using them for sex. I put myself in incredibly dangerous situations. One time after leaving a bar with a “friend” I blacked out and woke up face down on the side of the road, very far away from where I was. I went to jail for a horrible DUI and again for Domestic Battery due to hitting an ex boyfriend, who was a drug addict. I have a criminal record. I honestly believe that my early 20s was just one gigantic manic episode on top of me being an extremely naive and selfish girl.
I became less symptomatic the older I got, mainly because my friends started getting jobs and were starting families like normal people. Yet I still felt the need to be doing something stimulating all the time, I didn’t care about my future. I just wanted to live fast. I experimented with drugs I don’t want to mention just because I wanted to know what they felt like, just for the fun of it, I have tried just about everything. I wanted to feel everything and nothing at the same time. I finally went to rehab, not once but twice because I wanted to get clean, my life was unmanageable and I was in a toxic relationship with someone who abused narcotic pain medications which didn’t help.
I lost my father suddenly when I was 26. He was killed in a plane crash and it was absolutely devastating. I still miss him every single day. At the same time I found out my then boyfriend was cheating on me, obviously lying about it, and on top of it he showed complete disregard and disrespect for the loss of my dad which was the final straw. I will never forgive that heartless boy for adding salt to my wounds. This tremendous grief triggered the heaviest downward spiral and lasted for about a year and a half.
I isolated myself from everyone, even my mother, who just lost her husband and needed her daughters. I felt bad, guilty and dirty for my past. I stayed home and played video games at my house and did nothing else. I lost all of my friends because I never kept in touch anymore and I just wanted to be alone. I lost so much weight because I was never hungry and food tasted like nothing. I looked sick, I only weighed 95 lbs, which is the smallest I have ever been. I smoked packs of cigarettes for hours on the back porch, I was mostly alone and I was also heavily smoking weed to numb the pain. I cried and just wished I could trade my dad’s death for my own because I felt I deserved to die, not him. My dad was my idol and he was there when I needed him, when no one else wanted to help me, he pushed me to do better. Losing him was the worst pain I have ever felt.
I continued to beat myself up. I hated myself, the person I was, the emptiness and loneliness I felt and I wanted to disappear. I thought about dying a lot and at one point really thought about taking my life. I stopped feeling that way real quick because I thought about what that would do to my mom and how selfish I was. I wanted and needed to be a better daughter to my mom and a better sister to my younger sister. We all needed each other. My mom and I began to speak more openly and we started having adult conversations for the first time. I was used to being treated like a child before that because it was honestly how I acted, like a child. I now have a strong relationship with her. I quit smoking weed and I stopped drinking immediately. I was done covering up my illness with drugs and alcohol because I began to understand the true nature of this disorder, and how self medicating is the worse thing I could possibly be doing.
When I was around 27 or 28 I really grew up fast and started to kick into gear hard because the past me was never going to show up again. Something just clicked and I started to take mental illness seriously and I wanted to be a better person. I started seeing a new psychiatrist who I am completely honest with, and I am now on the right medications, and taking them as prescribed because that is part of my treatment and stability. I’m a completely different person. I care, I love, I don’t use drugs and alcohol to cope. I have a wonderful relationship with my family and my fiance. I am stable and happy and I am continuing to flourish and I am growing stronger every day. I try not to regret the past because in all honesty, this is what made me grow up and helped heal me. Today, I try and help others who battle mental illness because I know how much it hurts, I have felt it to its core. My past has caused me to become an advocate and a strong believer that Bipolar Disorder does not define a person, and stability is maintainable. I will never stop fighting for myself and for others who battle this because it can be extremely difficult without support.
I hope this sends a positive message. This is not a post asking for pity. I wrote this because this time in my life was how I became strong, how I saved my life and how I got better. This is what happened when I didn’t know what was happening to me and Bipolar Disorder caused that much hardship left untreated and ignored. I take my life seriously now, and I never take anything for granted because I am lucky to be here, and I am well now.
I am truly thankful for everyone in my life, and everything that I have gone through which has led me to be the person I am today. It has never been easy to live with a mental illness, but I know how to do it now. Somewhat comfortably.
We need to end the stigma toward mental illness.
This is for all who suffer with a mental disorder.
Do not give up fighting and stay strong because you are stronger than you think.
Sometimes it will bring you down, if you allow it, but your tenacity and courage will pull you through your doubts. Your support system(s) will always be there for you. Your mental health means doing what’s best for you, no matter what anyone has to say. You live for yourself, no one else.
Live a peaceful and stress free life. You do not have to burden yourself by going along with society’s standards because it’s what is expected. Some of us just can’t. We get judged, but you know what? They have no idea what it is like to fight so hard every day just to lead a happy and semi normal life. We are “mind warriors.” We are empathetic and caring.
Life is wonderful, remember that and live exactly how you want without allowing yourself to be victimized by the stigma towards mental disorders. Look the other way.
I would like to help people understand what mental illness does to those who suffer. First of all, it is not a walk in the park. It is not something we can just change at the snap of a finger. We hold jobs we cannot keep, leaving gaps in employment, making it difficult to move on to the next job. We struggle with irrational fears and episodes of mania and depression that I cannot even begin to describe.
The struggle is real, but I also believe in my heart that it makes us some of the strongest individuals in the world because we never give up hope. This is a disorder for life, and we know it will never go away.
This is only half of the battle. The rest is telling ourselves to move forward even if it’s the smallest steps. Setting even the tiniest goals saves our lives, so the next time you feel like we are lazy or bums, take a look at the big picture.
We look at the big picture, which is stability and happiness in our lives. We must be kind to ourselves and stop biting off more we can chew because society deems it so that in order to be a contributing member of society, one must have the steady job, the house payments, bills and car payments, raising a family and having good social lives.
Most of us are happy and lucky enough just getting out of bed in the morning and managing some form of self-care and that is good enough for us.
This is heavy and personal. I think I’m just having one of those days but here it is.
Today when I woke up I thought a lot about my life. When I Say that, I really mean it. I had a full-blown existential crisis. I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing anymore. This illness has become something that pisses me off to no end, it holds me back no matter what I do, one step forward three giant leaps backwards, you know. All of that. I started to think about everything that has led up to where I am right now. Where did I go wrong? I am supposed to be strong, right? I know I am doing my best, but in this “strength”, especially with understanding how detrimental this disorder can be, I have begun to walk on eggshells around myself, because I hate that I am basically a shell of who I should be. I am broken. I broke my own heart.
I am disgusted by the burned bridges, mistrust, deceit and lack of self-control I have left behind me. I am Bipolar, but that does not make up for the inexcusable things that I have done to my family, friends and to the many failed attempts at doing something with my life I’ve had. I don’t know where to turn sometimes. I just want to run but my legs can’t move. My mind has no problem running laps, however.
I despise the person that I was only 3-10 years ago. I’m not asking for pity, I’m just explaining how it is. I feel this way all of the time now. I feel like I had so many chances to do the right thing and I failed. I let down my family and most importantly myself. I have no other choice but to keep fighting though! Is that all my life will be? Just battling every single day? I can’t even have a normal conversation with my mother without wanting to break down in front of her and no, she does not need that added grief. My mom is my saving grace, if it weren’t for her, I would be homeless or dead. My mother deserves everything that is wonderful in the world. I just wish I could talk to her as a confident adult right now. This makes me sad.
Is that why I always want to cry when I see her? Do I feel guilty for my life? I think I do feel guilty. I wish I didn’t, but I also wish I wasn’t Bipolar, which would have kept me from being such a train wreck to begin with. I was so young when I did all of those horrible things, yet I can’t move on from the damage I have caused everyone who loves me. I am an outcast due to my own actions. I will never be treated the way I want to be treated because look at how I treated them. It is not fair to them. I don’t blame them at all, I was a timebomb, perhaps still ticking.
I was selfish, careless and misunderstood and now I just feel alone and selfish for being misunderstood. I’m teetering on being just “okay” to literally breaking down from all of the emptiness that consumes me when I think about all the pain I have caused. I’m suffering, yet I have caused so many others to suffer because of this monster. Not a day goes by when I don’t think about what I could have or should have done differently, and not a day goes by where I don’t think about how much better my life would be if I just knew back then what I know now.
Unfortunately, “YOLO” and I can’t erase the past and there are no do overs. I am almost 30 and I am panicking. I have grown and learned from my past, but I haven’t made any great strides from it either. This is the most intense I’ve ever felt living with this and it hurts me and I feel guilty for feeling hurt because I’ve affected people in terrible ways.
I am at an impasse. I am strong and I have to carry on, but I cannot forgive myself for the s**t I don’t like to remember when I was so sick and unmanageable. So right now, I am very uncomfortable with myself for the first time in a long while. I just hope I get it together soon.
We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Being manic is so intense. It’s not as fun as you think, allow me to explain. Restless nights, Racing thoughts, grandiose, over the top behavior and ideas , the I am on top of the world superhero feeling that really just sucks you dry. I know it’s not here forever, but it is irritating for the days it decides to show up. (Always at inconvenient times I might add, we need to sleep to function, right? I just want to scream sometimes.)
Having a manic episode is even more irritating when I’m taking medications that are supposed to be leveling my mood. Don’t get me wrong, they do work most of the time, but sometimes triggers just happen…oops. We aren’t perfect.
Currently, I am getting very annoyed by anonymous people telling me I should just go to therapy. (face palm.) What an ignorant thing to say to someone with a lifelong chemical imbalance of the brain, ok? It frustrates me to no end. I’ve been to therapy for the things in my life I’ve had to deal with and move past, that’s one thing, alright? I do what I can for my mental health in every aspect. Telling someone to go to therapy for Bipolar Disorder just gets under my skin.
This rollercoaster is for life. It never goes away. We can only continue to fight the war that’s going on inside of our brains. Luckily, with age and some wisdom now, it’s a little bit easier to understand my triggers and how to stay calm in the present and being mindful.
Not all of us are so lucky and some of us might surrender. I only hope my words can show some hope that while this does suck, having a support system and even a support group of like-minded individuals, not doctors, helps me immensely. Don’t let people who don’t understand this illness push you around or badger you into doing something that won’t necessarily help you.
This is your life and you should live it the way you want, as healthy as you can and to the best of your capabilities. I am absolutely not trying to sound negative. I love all of you, please stay strong and courageous.