A Descent into Madness

my bipolar disorder & mental illness

I have nobody. No one under stands. No support system.

I just want to sleep. I need to sleep. I don’t want people to wake me up until my body decided to wake me and that it’s okay. So tired. No work. Hate work. Hate people. Hate job hate smelling bad hate it hate it hate it.

Too far gone. Don’t want to go home where responsibilities and obligations mock me. Don’t want to stay here where they’ll find me and hurt me with their almost kind words that don’t mean anything because they don’t understand.

I want to be alone. To be free to be miserable.

Let me sleep.

A Descent into Madness: My Bipolar Disorder & Mental Illness

I have bipolar disorder.

I went through a lot of crap before getting such a diagnosis and even more to finally figure out how it affected me, my relationships — and basically my entire life. I still haven’t completely figured it out. I was diagnosed in November 2009. I have had serious struggles with anxiety/depression most of my life, but most of it started coming to a head my Sophomore year of college (2005-2006).

People simplify bipolar disorder into a few different things: simply being moody, being happy one moment and crying the next, a range of being hot and cold (emotionally-wise) to the extreme. It is so much more than that. I can’t choose to just “get over it” or to just “snap out of it”. I’ve often thought lately that I’d probably trade one of my limbs to have a normal way to process emotions and stress and whatnot. It certainly feels like it would make life a little bit easier.

My journey with bipolar disorder is going to be simultaneously similar and completely different than anyone else’s. I’ve wanted to do this for a while, but only recently have been inspired to attempt to be courageous enough to do so. I’ve read books and am actually currently reading a memoir of sorts of a woman who struggled with bipolar disorder; in many ways her tale mirrors my own — however I strongly suspect she’s bipolar 1, whereas I’m bipolar 2. I want to write my story, my experiences, my pain and sorrow and triumphs because I want people like me to be able to see that they are not alone. Knowing that I am not alone is so very important.

Let’s start almost somewhat (but not really) at the beginning:

My Diagnosis

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in November 2009, about a week before I was due to return back to work after a makeshift maternity leave allowed to me by my employer. At my six-week post-partum appointment I saw the OB psychiatrist — this was a woman/psychiatrist associated with my OB/GYN’s practice that ONLY dealt with pregnant women. I had loved that and loved her up until that appointment. Being a parent was a whirlwind of nothing I’d ever experienced before — toss in a background of anxiety and depression, out of control hormones, and a not exactly perfect relationship to begin with, and it was truly a recipe for disaster. My then-husband’s best friend had bipolar disorder, and as I began to unravel after having my beautiful son I began to very strongly suspect that I had it, too.

I told this, my suspicion, to the OB Psych Lady. She didn’t take me seriously. It was the first time I had sat in that office and felt like a burden. Like a waste of time. A nurse came in while I was sitting in the office with her and placed a file on OB Psych Lady’s desk, pointing to something written on the cover (there was a piece of paper paper-clipped to it). Maybe that was a patient in dire crisis, who needed OB Psych Lady’s help more than I did … but I had begun to unravel. I was irrational, unreasonable, overly irritable and emotional. I was depressed and suffering. I never thought to harm, nor did I ever harm, my baby, but I kicked my husband. We fought a lot. I was slowly going insane, and I was exposing myself and making myself vulnerable to this woman and she didn’t seem to care.

She spout off some platitudes about post partum hormones and whatnot. Meanwhile, I’d been seeing her throughout my entire pregnancy and was labeled as “High Risk” because of my depression issues. I was supposed to be keeping an eye on this — and I came to her when I felt I was at the end of my rope, only to be made to be felt as though I were overreacting and not being taken seriously. I will never forget that. It made me feel so terrible. I worry constantly over whether or not I’m overreacting or if I’m dealing with things correctly. I knew something wasn’t quite right and when I reached out for help, I felt like I was being patted on the head and told I was fine.

I wasn’t.

I continued to drift through life after that for another two weeks. Having a constant inner dialogue with myself debating my sanity and whether or not I was “okay”. Finally, my husband and I decided I was not. I called a local help line (I think it was Respond), and they did an evaluation over the phone and then I had to go into the hospital to be evaluated for possible entrance into a Partial-Hospitalization Program. I was accepted. I figured I’d be there for a few days and be able to return to work the following Monday as planned. Unfortunately, that was not the way it happened. I was there for about a week, from 9 AM – 3 PM, doing group therapy after group therapy after group (in between a 15-20 minute meeting with the psychiatrist, lunch, and ART — my favorite!). It was here that I found salvation, an answer —

It was in that program that my life was saved for the first time.