bipolar, Mental Health, mental illness, suicide, Uncategorized

13 Reasons Why

***Trigger Warning***

What do you do when you have a bad night? Like laying in bed thinking about suicide, considering how your husband would react when you found you when you got home from, and worrying about if your baby girl wakes up before he gets home.

I’m having one of those nights. I haven’t watched 13 Reasons Why but my husband just finished it last night and told me that the suicide scene was really bad. I asked him how she killed herself (big mistake) and he told me about the scene. I thought about it all last night. It took me forever to go back to sleep. I just kept replaying over and over again what I imagined it would be like. I can’t get it out of my head.

That is the problem with shows like this. I don’t care if it is getting people to talk about mental illness more. How is that helpful when it is alienating and triggering people who actually have mental illness. I have so many people tell me how intriguing the show is, but I still chose not to watch it because I know myself and I know the dark place I’m in right now. And I know there are others like me. People who want to talk about mental illness but want to do it without dramatic rape scenes and a traumatizing suicide scene.

I don’t know if anyone heard about this but earlier this year a young girl live streamed her suicide. The camera stayed on until her parents found her and turned it off. As soon as the website/police realized it was online it was removed but it had already been shared. Did you get what I just said? A video of a live suicide had been shared on the internet.

It is my belief that situations like this and 13 Reasons Why aren’t helping us talk about mental illness, it’s desensitizing us to suicide. NO ONE should be able to sit through a suicide scene. My husband told me he had to turn away and was almost crying. This is from a guy who saw active duty in Iraq. Yet I already have friends who are starting the show over because it was so good the first time. That sickens my stomach. I don’t care how well written it is (and I know because I have read the book), suicide is real. Life isn’t like 13 Reasons Why. You don’t get to watch a dramatic scene unfold and then fast forward through the suicide so you can sleep at night. People need to start talking about mental illness, not suicide.

I know lots of people may disagree with me on this and that’s fine. What I want people to understand is that you can’t just put trigger warning at the beginning of an episode and pat yourself on the back for acknowledging mental illness. I chose not to watch the show but it is constantly being thrown in my face on social media and in my own life.

Anyone can watch a show about mental illness and suicide but how many of those people would have held me last night while I cried and hallucinated (my husband did). Mental illness isn’t a fiction story, this is so many people’s real life.

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bipolar, healthy, medication, Uncategorized

Healthy Lifestyle

So I have accepted my diagnosis of Bipolar disorder. I don’t argue with it, I don’t deny it. But lately I have been researching what I can do, besides medication, that can help me feel better and stabilize my mood. I know the first thing I need to do is eliminate enriched breads. I have a gene mutation that makes it so my body does not process folic acid, in fact it actually hurts my body when I have folic acid. So I am purposefully removing any enriched grains and pasta that have folic acid in them. I am trying to eat more vegetables but that is not going well.

My psychiatrist has encouraged me to lose 15 pounds to help with lowering my cholesterol (Yes I’m 22 and have high cholesterol). So the removal of bread helps me cut out some carbs and hopefully lose some weight. I have been walking at least 3 miles every day and trying to get in some core workouts. I am also just adding in things that make me feel better about myself in general.

So here is a breakdown of my plan:

  1. Cut out 80% of my carbs and all enriched foods
  2. Walk or do a cardio workout every day
  3. Stop biting my nails
  4. Take care of my skin
  5. Clean my house!! I have realized that the clutter in my house really contributes to my anxiety
  6. Lastly, I have started “gardening” I have a couple of plants on my front porch to take care of and even bought a strawberry plant

This is my intentions to live a healthier lifestyle that contributes to the work my medication is doing. I am not considering going off of medication because I know right now I need it to be stable, but my husband and I have been talking about when we want to try for another baby. The reality is that none of my medications are safe for pregnancy. So my goal is to learn how to be as stable as possible with or without medication.

bipolar

I add in those quote from Carrie Fisher because I can relate to how she feels. I take medication three times a day as well and it is a constant reminder that I cannot function normally without medication. If I miss a dose, I feel the effects and to be completely honest, that makes me feel like shit.

So here is to living a healthy life, using medication, diet, attitude, or whatever. We can all strive to be as healthy as possible.

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bipolar, parenting, Uncategorized

Momming is hard

Since I left my job a few months ago I have been a stay at home mom. Let me tell you being a mom is hard. Spending 24 hours a day with a little person that is full of attitude takes a lot of patience. Unfortunately patience is not my strong suit, especially when I am depressed or manic, which to be honest is 90% of the time. Momming is so hard.

I have a 20 month old daughter and two very annoying dogs. I snapped at all 3 of them this morning. I yelled and I hate that because I don’t want my daughter to remember me like that. I want her to remember that her mother always loved her and never feel unsafe or scared of me.

So what do I do? I’m taking my medication, exercising, eating relatively healthy. I don’t know what else I can do to stabilize my moods better so that I don’t lose it with my daughter.

I know moms are allowed to have bad days. I get that. I just feel like when I have a bad day I feel so guilty and that guilt makes me feel depressed and then I can’t be a good mom. It is a vicious cycle. This is the time to give myself a little grace, to realize that the frustration doesn’t just come from my bipolar moods, “normal” people have bad days with their kids too. This is something everyone struggles with. Parenting is hard. Parenting means lots of tears and laughs and snuggles. If every day with my daughter was perfect I wouldn’t really appreciate the good days but that moment when my daughter has been whiny and clingy all day and reaches to me to give me “Ugs” (hugs) and tells me “Love you” it is so worth it. That whole bad day is erased from my memory and I just want to be there in the moment with her.

I am never going to be a perfect mom. I’m never going to stop struggling with mood swings but I have plans in place for the days that I can’t function. And the rest of the days? A lot of coffee and prayer.

Moms, please tell me I’m not alone.

keepmomming

 

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bipolar, Mental Health, mental illness, Uncategorized

Blame it on Bipolar

Over dramatic. That is what I get called on a regular basis. I’m over dramatic when I get more emotional than other people.

Guess what?

That is what Bipolar is. I have stronger emotions than people without Bipolar disorder. In fact, check out the National Institute of Mental Health and it says, “People with bipolar disorder experience periods of unusually intense emotion”.

Sometimes having crazy strong emotions is so cool, being able to feel so much can be like a high. The ability to live in this state of black and white horror is something other people don’t get, it sets us apart from others.

But on the other hand, people who don’t feel those emotions, don’t understand those emotions. Which is how we get back to the over dramatic. I hate being called over dramatic or emotional or sensitive. Unfortunately, my emotions are usually so scattered when someone calls me one of those words that I end up crying or getting angry, thus proving their point.

So what do I do? Do I hide my emotions or try to act like I’m not “crazy”. Or do I let myself be me regardless of what people think.

Bipolar is such a big part of my life. I am who I am because of bipolar disorder. But people don’t know that. Most people don’t know that I have bipolar disorder. I contribute to the stigma of mental illness because I keep my disorder a secret. I am too ashamed of my mental illness to be open about it. The thing is, people treat you differently. They might try not to but it still happens. All of the sudden you can’t babysit their kids or volunteer at that school event. There is a fear that you will snap at any time.

I am such a high functioning bipolar that I’m not going to let it destroy my life yet. But here we are again encouraging this stigma that people with a mental disorder are treated differently.

Oh well. For now I will continue to allow people to think I am over dramatic and too sensitive instead of just blaming it on bipolar.

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bipolar, Mental Health, mental illness, suicide

Mental Illness

*Trigger Warning: Suicide

 

Let’s talk about mental illness. What is mental illness?

It is defined as a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling, or mood. As someone who has a mood disorder, I am living proof of this definition. I love that this definition includes thinking. Our thoughts are so important.  Our thoughts lead to our feelings which lead to our actions, no matter how damaging those actions will be.

Since I got out of the hospital and have been working with a therapist I have been more aware of my thoughts. You can’t be complacent about suicidal thoughts. You have to actively fight against them. It is a conscious decision to tell yourself that you will not entertain those thoughts. That suicide does not run your life.

Your decisions do not have to be based on the thoughts of  doubt and worthlessness. You can control what thoughts you dwell on. When you are depressed it is so hard to handle the thoughts. You don’t have the energy to fight your feelings. That is what makes depression so dangerous. The thoughts that you can’t control that make suicide so appealing.

So how do we change our thoughts. I’m not 100% sure, but I will share what I have been working on with my therapist.

We realized that I have a progression of suicidal thoughts. First, the thought pops into my head. It may be the thought that I could jump off this bridge or step in front of that train. Second, I keep thinking about it. I dwell on this thought, I imagine it really happening. How I would feel before I died, how other people would react. Then third, the depression comes. The idea that I really could go through with it. The thought that I could end it all and that would be it, I would be done forever, no turning back.

So once I realized that this is how my thoughts worked I had to consciously stop them at that very first thought. As soon as I even get an idea of suicide, I immediately have to distract myself, think about something else, call someone, turn on Netflix. If I can stop the thoughts at the beginning, I prevent the inevitable depression that would normally follow.

Do you still not agree that thoughts are important?

When it comes to mental illness, thoughts have the power to end your life.

And your life is important.

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bipolar, Mental Health, Uncategorized

Relapse

Wow, I haven’t posted in so long I almost forgot I had this blog. I am back here because my disorder reared its ugly head again. I was stable for a long time. When I got pregnant Fall of 2014 I immediately went off my medication and did perfectly fine until about a year after I had my baby girl. I had a pretty bad manic episode which resulted in me trying to leave my husband and having an affair. Thankfully my husband is an amazing man and actually forgave me. We decided it was time for me to go back on medication. I was put on a bipolar antidepressant and a drug to prevent mania. I did okay on those for a bit until I started going downhill. I started a new job working third shift at a psychiatric facility (ironic I know). It was hard to see these people who were involuntarily committed by a judge for long term treatment, many of whom had the diagnosis of Bipolar. This job took a huge toll on my health and definitely added to my depression. I started writing suicidal notes (notice I said suicidal, not suicide. They were not notes to say goodbye, they were notes about suicide). I only wrote these while I was at work. I didn’t tell my husband or parents how depressed I was getting until a few weeks ago. I tried to reach out to my psychiatrist who prescribed me the medications but I couldn’t get an appointment or a call back. Finally it got to the point where my family did not think I was safe to be with my daughter alone or be left alone at all. They decided that I should be admitted to a hospital. My sister found a hospital out of town and I voluntarily committed myself.

This hospital stay was crazy. I hadn’t been at inpatient treatment since my 72 hour suicide hold when I was 16. Now I’m 21 and I was put on the adult crisis stabilization unit. I had a panic attack as soon as I got there and was given a sedative. Once they determined I was not hallucinating or going really crazy I was moved to the regular adult unit. The doctor added another antidepressant to my cocktail of medications but that made go a little crazy on the manic side. He then increased my mania drug and doubled my bipolar medication. I’m hoping this mix of drugs will keep me stable for a while. I was released from the hospital Wednesday against the doctor’s advice. He wanted to keep me a few more days but I kinda threw a hissy fit and then had my mom call (I know I’m an adult but when I’m unstable I act like a child). My mom talked to the doctor and explained the safety plan that she and my husband had put in place. She then told him that she thought if he made me stay another night that I would freak out and do something stupid (which was true). The doctor came to me and said (this is a direct quote), “Before you get mad or throw a fit, we decided to release you”. I said, “I’m totally calm” (which was only kinda true) and then he replied “We want to discharge you before you make this difficult”. So he released me with my mother’s word that she would remove all medications and knives from my house. When I got home everything was gone. My husband gives me my medication in the morning and at night and takes the bag with him to work. I still haven’t really been alone with my daughter for very long and I can’t stay home during the day when my husband is gone unless I have a plan of exactly what I’m going to do and then my husband and mom call and text to check in.

If you have never been locked in a psychiatric facility I would not recommend it. The food is terrible for one and you only have about 15 minutes to eat it once you get through the cafeteria line. We also did not get to go outside at all except for the walk in the covered, fenced in walkway to meals. All of our group therapy was held on our locked unit where we spent time talking about communication and self-esteem and relationships. Some of the sessions were actually good information but most of the time I felt too drugged to learn to much (the nurses really liked handing out sedatives). As I got less depressed over the days, I felt more agitated which is one of my first symptoms of mania. I do feel better now that I’m home with my husband and daughter. I’m definitely still fragile but I quit my job and my husband isn’t letting me do anything for a while to keep my stress down until I get more stable.

The one good thing about my time in the hospital is the people I met. I found a little group of friends. We ate all our meals together and since we had a lot of free time we kept each other occupied by talking about our problems or playing board games. The ability to be honest with people about my disorder when I keep it hidden from even my close friends was really therapeutic. Many of these people were like me and felt suicidal or attempted and came for treatment. There were a couple who were detoxing from substance abuse. It was such a judgement free zone. People wore their problems on their sleeves. There was no hiding anything. If you struggle with mental illness, I highly suggest finding a support group for people who struggle with mental disorders or a group therapy where you can talk to people who can relate to the specific struggles you face.

I’m not stable yet, but I will be one day. I don’t trust myself yet. I’m so impulsive I’m scared I would do something stupid to hurt myself so I don’t fight my family when they try to protect me. I’m going to take some time to relax and take a break from all my stress. I need to be more careful about not letting it get so out of hand before I reach out for help. I have an appointment with a new psychiatrist and counselor next week (part of the terms of being released from treatment). I’m going to do everything I can to stay safe because I want to be around for my baby girl and that’s reason enough to get better.

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bipolar, Mental Health

Random

So much has happened this week.

I moved all of my stuff into my new apartment. I won’t be moving over there officially until Friday but it already feels so real. I’ll be living an hour away from my boyfriend in a new city where I don’t know anyone. I’m a little bit nervous but I did meet my roommate yesterday and I really like her. So far I’ve only seen guys go in and out of our apartment building but I’m sure there are some girls hiding somewhere. 

One of my best friend’s moved away this week. That is depressing all by itself. 

My other best friend’s crush is moving to college this week. Why do I care? Oh right because last year I slept with the guy and got pregnant with his baby. Maybe one or two people even know this happened, but I had a miscarriage at 6 weeks. My best friend has no idea this ever happened. She has been in love with guy for years. She told him she loved him yesterday in a note. This whole situation has made my emotions go crazy. I feel like a complete whore whenever I see my best friend. Just to be complete transparent, I did know she liked him when I slept with him. Yes, I know I am a horrible person. Go ahead and judge. In my defense, I knew they would never be a thing. 

Speaking of emotions and pregnancy…I’m 6 days late. Although my boyfriend is incredible and supportive and could completely take care of me and a baby, I can’t have a kid right now. I’m about to start my junior year of college. I’m researching grad schools. I’m moving an hour away from my boyfriend. 

I don’t want to be criticized for an unplanned pregnancy. I am completely aware that there are ways to prevent pregnancy and my boyfriend and I have not been very smart. Things sometimes just happen.

So what do you do in situations like this? I don’t even know. I feel so alone right now. My boyfriend has been on his computer game for hours and talking to my best friend on the phone just isn’t the same. I have watched so much Netflix this week to keep my mind distracted. I’ve also been doing a lot of drinking, but I’m taking a break until I find out if I’m pregnant. I even broke down this week and smoked a little weed. The only good thing I have been doing is taking my medication regularly. So I’m trying not to fall apart at this point. 

I do see my psychiatrist this week. It will be an interesting appointment because I called him a few weeks ago about hallucinating again. I saw my familiar hallucination and she told me to cut. I’m sure my psychiatrist will have lots to say about that and how I have been acting the past few weeks with the drinking and the pregnancy scare. 

Well if ya’ll get the chance send up a prayer for me. I’m just trying to stay stable. 

youth-quotes-young-change-dreams-strength

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