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Today, I hate having bipolar

IMG_8764At night, I lie awake terrified. I’m terrified that I am losing my mind. Terrified that I’ll end up back in the psychiatric hospital.

I am also so angry right now. I am not posting this for sympathy or for people to feel badly for me. I’m writing this post so that others who feel this way right now do not feel alone or forgotten.

As I mentioned in a previous post I’ve been slowly weaning off of a medication I’ve been on for the past two years (and yes, I am being supervised by my doctor). My withdrawal symptoms are almost identical to the withdrawal symptoms a heroine addict goes through.

But here is the thing that I’m so angry about. Unlike a heroine addict I did not choose to take up recreational drugs. I was prescribed these drugs thinking they were “safe” and the responsible decision for managing my bipolar symptoms. Now that my body is rejecting the medication, I am finding the I am completely addicted.

My withdrawal symptoms include nausea, confusion, shaking, nervousness, agitation, depression, muscle spasms, spinal shocks, difficulty falling asleep, tearfulness, headaches, a feeling of my mind being numb, and only because I have a history of seizures, I can tell I feel “seizure-y” all day. Basically I’m a huge disaster… and I’ve been progressively getting worse over a period of five weeks.

Worst of all, my sweet husband is having to step in to take care of our children until I’m over this. Please God, let it be soon!

It’s moments like this these that bring me to my knees and ask God to takeover. I’m helpless without Him. I trust in Him that I will get through this. And if you’re going through this as well, you will too.

I’m so much stronger than bipolar, it will not destroy me. I won’t let it. It tries so hard to destroy me, but I will always win.

So, that’s all I’ve got for today. If you pray, I could really take one of your prayers today. Thank you 💚💚💚

Enjoying Life’s Simple Pleasures

IMG_8688On a scale of ‘one to ten’ how busy have you made your life? Do you have the time to stop and smell the flowers? I think that we were created to regularly stop and smell the flowers; we need to.

In a never-ending world of to-do lists, I find myself putting off life’s simple pleasures, like stopping to smell the flowers. All because I simply do not have the time… or so I think.

Today I was trying to get my daughter back into the car, when she let go of my hand to sit in a patch of grass. All I could think was, ‘are you serious right now? We are in a hurry, get in the car!’ But then I realized how happy she was sitting in the grass, picking these adorable little daisies. She was creating a mini bouquet. So I sat down with her and enjoyed every moment of picking flowers with her, just as I used to as a little girl myself.

As someone who struggles with mental health/bipolar issues, the more I believe it is important to become mindful of taking the time to ‘stop to smells the flowers.’

Yet another example of my children teaching me another valuable life’s lesson ❤️.

I’m so bipolar, and unashamed.

Bipolar Med Withdrawal Symptoms

IMG_7056Please tell me if you’ve ever experienced the withdrawal symptoms of psychiatric medications. They are AWFUL.

For the past week I’ve been walking around with what I can only describe as “whole body shocks.” It feels like someone is giving my whole body an electric shock wave every few minutes. It is annoying to say the very least and is giving me terrible anxiety.

Despite titrating my meds very slowly I still get the withdrawal symptoms. How long does it take you all to be off of a med to be clear of withdrawal symptoms? What other withdrawal symptoms have you experienced?

I’m so bipolar, and unashamed.

We All Have Mental Health

IMG_8502Even the most mentally healthy and stable of people will at some point be affected by mental health issues. Be it their own experience or that of a loved one.

According to the World Health Organization, “One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.”

The lack of conversation and education regarding mental health surprises me, considering the above numbers. The reason so many people feel alone with their mental illnesses is because in a way, they are. Few talk about the harsh realities involved with mental illnesses.

Just because someone does not have a mental illness does not mean that they or someone they love could develop one. Mental health affects EVERYONE. Therefore, everyone should be talking, learning, and caring about mental health.

I am So Bipolar, and unashamed.

Defeat the Stigma

defeat the stigma shirtDefeat the stigma. Stronger than the stigma. End the stigma. What is all this chatter about stigma as it relates to mental health? In a nutshell, stigma is shame.   In other words, people with mental health issues have been shamed. They’re shamed for something that they had no choice in, just as a person with cancer had no choice in becoming ill. What does this say about our society that shames some of its’ most vulnerable people? To me, it says that we have lost our empathy in this never-ending self-consumed world.

When we say things like “defeat the stigma” we are essentially saying “stop shaming me for something I didn’t choose!” And I think that is a reasonable request.

How do I know that stigma still exists? The look of fear in peoples’ faces when I tell them that I have bipolar.   Maybe that look of fear comes from their perceptions of what I am capable of doing. Perhaps the fear is from the unknown, from their lack of education on mental health issues. Or maybe they simply don’t want to get to know me after learning I am “marked” as bipolar. I can truthfully say that the latter does not hurt my feelings. I am sad for them though because of all the amazing people they’ll miss out on knowing. All because of their stigma that they may not even realize they have.

Stigma does nothing other than separate people. Mental health stigma helps separate people into the “socially acceptable brain camp” and the “socially unacceptable brain camp.” How does that help our society? The answer: it doesn’t.

So how can you defeat the stigma? Educate yourself. Learn about the mental health illnesses. People only fear what they do not understand. Let knowledge takeover fear. When there is no fear, there is no stigma.

I am so bipolar, and unashamed.

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(A huge special thank you to three-time Olympian and New York Times Bestseller of the book “Fast Girl,” to Suzy Favor Hamilton for mailing me this amazing shirt!  You are such an inspiration to me.)

Bipolar and Marriage

bipolar marriageCan a marriage thrive with bipolar disorder? Countless people have messaged me this very question.  And in my own humble opinion, I say absolutely, yes.

According to a 2003 article, “Managing Bipolar Disorder,” in Psychology Today, 40 percent of all marriages fail in the United States and Canada. The article goes on to indicate that a whopping 90 percent of marriages will fail when involving a spouse with bipolar disorder. So basically, the odds are greatly stacked against us.

Whether you’re married with bipolar disorder or not, you know how difficult marriage can be, but also how amazing. No marriage is without its cross to bear, so to speak. With bipolar disorder it is especially difficult to maintain a healthy relationship because you have all the “regular” marital issues, plus bipolar issues on top of those.

I hate to sound nauseatingly happy-go-lucky about this issue, but I truly believe with hard work from both spouses, a marriage with bipolar cannot only survive but actually thrive.

The subsequent post(s) will include tips that my husband and I use to keep our marriage thriving.

What are your biggest bipolar marriage questions you’d like answered by my husband and I?

I’m so bipolar, and unashamed.

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Do You Have Your Shit Together?

Mehri toddler picDo you feel like you’ve got your shit together? Have you ever felt that way? My suspicion is that most of us do not feel like we’ve got it all together. Perhaps I’m wrong. Bipolar disorder, however, has made it especially difficult for me to feel like I’ve ever got my life together. When I’m depressed, I accomplish nothing and quickly fall behind in life. When I am hypomanic, I am usually playing catch up to barely squeak by until the next time depression strikes.

My childhood is all that I have to compare to for what a “normal” mood is. As a little girl I was happy, content, relaxed; everything a child could be lucky enough to be. As I grew into the preteen years, so did the depression and anxiety.

The years of a “normal” mood are far behind me, but I aspire to get back there one day.  The lack of stability in my life has only made me appreciate my “good” days so much more, and for that I’m incredibly grateful. I may not have my shit together, but life is good.

I am so bipolar, and unashamed.

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Flowers for Depression

flowers for depression picTwenty years ago my appendix ruptured and I found myself lying in a hospital bed for a week. The hospital room quickly filled with dozens of get-well balloons, flower bouquets, handmade cards, even a kitten. Fast forward ten years from that day when I was hospitalized for severe bipolar depression and not a single balloon, flower, or card was sent. Does this make sense?

Flowers say: ‘I care about you.’ ‘I’m thinking of you.’ ‘I hope you get well soon.’ All of these things are sentiments someone who is severely depressed needs to hear. Of course, I don’t fault anyone for not sending those well wishes to me because I was entirely too ashamed at the time to let anyone know I landed in the psychiatric hospital. Fortunately, now I know it’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s just part of my recovery.

This last weekend, I had a depressive episode that caused nonstop crying for three days. I showed up to what was supposed to be a joyous event at church, and instead ended up crying the entire hour. Luckily I have the most loving and supportive family in the world, and everyone stepped in to help me.

The above photo is of the wild flowers my seven-year old picked for me while he was out fishing. He picked them because he said he knew I was sad. He put the first genuine smile on my face that I had smiled in a week.

In a perfect world, I wish that my children never had to see their mother with tear-stained cheeks.   But we don’t live in that perfect world. My children have learned empathy through my struggles, and are the kindest people that I know. My children will grow to have amazing emotional intelligence because they had a mother with bipolar disorder, and for this I am grateful.

I will leave you with this thought. If you know someone struggling with depression, bring or send flowers. Have you ever gifted flowers and received anything but a smile?

What are some other kind gestures people have done for you while recovering from depression? Or what do you wish someone would do?

 

I am so bipolar, and unashamed.

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What Is It Like To Have Bipolar Disorder? (Suicidal Ideation, Part 11)

suicide is a liarLast post on http://www.SoBipolar.com we focused on the depressive symptom of isolation, now moving onto…

 Suicidal Ideation

Suicide has never and will never be the answer to anyone’s problems. Suicide is the biggest liar I have ever met. Suicidal ideation whispers in your ear that killing yourself will make all the pain disappear; it won’t. With that said, I know what it feels like to be so profoundly depressed that suicide seems like the only option.

Suicidal thoughts can start small; What if I run my car into that pole? What would happen if I take a few extra doses of my medication? The thoughts quickly escalate into driving erratically to tempt fate, and taking the whole bottle of medication. This is when bipolar depression becomes not only a problem for the person suffering from bipolar disorder, but for society at large. Mental health problems are everyone’s problem.

In my most suicidal state of mind I remember oddly fantasizing about how I would kill myself.   I thought of how others would feel (if anything) once I was gone. I remember feeling a sense of relief when I imagined myself removed from this world. I am so thankful I never went through with my plans.

Why didn’t I commit suicide? My angel of a fiancé (at the time) dragged me to the psychiatric hospital. A story for another day…

If you or someone you know is suicidal please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 (United States).

** As always, please remember, I am not a doctor. Just a so bipolar lady with a computer. So if you suspect you or someone you know has bipolar disorder, always consult with your physician or psychiatrist first.

I am so bipolar, and unashamed.

(Remember to follow the SoBipolar blog to receive email updates.)

What Is It Like To Have Bipolar Disorder? (Isolation, Part 10)

i just want to be left aloneLast post on http://www.SoBipolar.com we focused on the depressive symptom of fear and paranoia, now moving onto…

 Isolation

Bipolar highs are exhausting, and the lows numbing. When the agonizing depression has become unbearable the only place left is complete solitude and isolation from the world.

The world becomes too much, too overwhelming to participate in.

To some degree every person, bipolar or not, needs “down time.” Time to decompress, time to relax and forget about the day’s troubles. Bipolar isolation is different. When I isolate from the world I physically feel ill. My entire body aches. I swear I can actually feel my brain hurting. From the tips of my eyelashes to my toes, I feel exhausted, depleted of everything I have left to give.

Most of the time I will set up camp in my bedroom; my safe place. Amongst my cool sheets and plush pillows I can lose myself. If my busy life does not allow me to have time to isolate I feel like I am trudging through a swimming pool filled with thick mud. Although not impossible, it might as well be.

How many times have you muttered the words; “I just want to be left alone”?

Next post we will discuss the depressive symptom of suicidal ideation.

** As always, please remember, I am not a doctor. Just a so bipolar lady with a computer. So if you suspect you or someone you know has bipolar disorder, always consult with your physician or psychiatrist first.

I am so bipolar, and unashamed.

(Remember to follow the SoBipolar blog to receive email updates.)