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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Mental Health

Return to blogging

I have not written a blog in a very long time. My life was going so well and honestly a blog about a bipolar person acting completely normal would not be all that interesting in my opinion. But all good things come to an end. I have been having a kind of crazy week since I forgot to take my medication a few nights last weekend. By crazy I mean most of the time I just want to be having sex (but my current boyfriend is keeping me pure) so that has been difficult and then I will just hit this wall at night when I will just have a complete meltdown and cry for a while. Tonight I was doing really well until my best friend brought up suicide in her text to me. I’ve known that she has struggled with depression and cutting and mentioned suicide but I have never really put much thought into it. I dealt with all those things and I’m just fine (well that’s debatable). But for some reason this time it really hit me.

It’s so hard being on this side of it. I’ve been the person fighting to find the will to live everyday but I have never had someone so close to me in the same position. My best friend was my absolute savior after my suicide attempt and I just want to be there for her, but I don’t know how.

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Rant of the Day

I need to rant about the people in my life. I am so sick of people talking about me. This is MY LIFE. If I tell you that I’m bipolar, I’m telling YOU, not you and whoever else you want to tell. It is not your job to share the intimate details of my life when it’s convenient for you. 

I share my situation only with people I trust and people that need to know, such as teachers and bosses. If I wanted my friend’s parents or my boyfriend’s best friend to know, I would tell them. I don’t know if I’m just overreacting to this but it annoys me that people think that is public information. And then people try to justify it and console me by saying that the person they told won’t tell. Uhhm…THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT YOU SAID. You broke my trust by telling other people, so chances are other people will break your trust. I probably shouldn’t care this much about keeping it a secret, but the stigma attached to bipolar is so distorted. When people find out, all of the sudden they start being careful around you. They watch what kind of jokes they make and they take away sharp things saying, “I can hold this for you”. It’s like all the sudden I changed from this semi-normal human being into a crazy girl who wants to kill everyone around me and then kill myself. 

I’m sorry about the rant, I didn’t intend to use this blog as an outlet for anger but I suppose it’s healthier than other coping mechanisms. 

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Mental Health

The future

I’ve been thinking about my future a lot. And it scares the hell out of me. Everyday that my disorder doesn’t run my life I just spend waiting for the tables to turn. It’s so hard to enjoy the good times when I am fearing the bad.
It scares me to read horror stories about the bipolar wife who breaks the family apart, scarring the children for life. Or the stories of not being able to keep a job and ending up homeless. When I think about it, I’m scared because I know how fast I can l become unpredictable and out of control. They scare me because those could become a reality for me one day.
The doctors say I have time on my side. They say we caught it early (I was 16 when I was diagnosed). They say I have a good chance at a normal life. When I think about the future, it makes me want to take care of myself now. It makes me want to fight this disorder with everything I have in me.
To those of you with broken families and homelessness and heartbreak as a result of your disorder, thank you for sharing your story. You are an inspiration to people like me who aren’t quite there, so keep fighting and keep telling people because you are making a difference.

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My diagnosis

I know I have already posted a few times on here, but I’m going to backtrack to when I first found out I had bipolar. It was August, my parents took me to a psychiatrist because I was feeling depressed. He, using logical thinking, concluded that I had clinical depression so I started taking an antidepressant. For those of you who don’t know, when you give someone with bipolar an antidepressant, we don’t just go back to normal. No, our mood doesn’t stop there. We go way above normal to a manic phase. This is exactly what happened to me.

Fast forward to October, I was very manic and hallucinating. I attempted suicide, after which the people at the hospital stuck me in a psych ward. It was there that the doctors attempted re-diagnosing me. I heard schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, and multiple personality disorder. After I was released from the hospital, I returned to my psychiatrist and he decided on the diagnosis of bipolar 1 with psychotic features. 

Bipolar 1 and bipolar 2 are mostly the same except that bipolar 2 caps out at hypo-mania, which is just a less severe form of mania. I have the most severe form of bipolar, yet I still manage to keep my crazy hidden from most people. Maybe the doctor misdiagnosed me? Maybe I just haven’t hit my crazy potential? 

I don’t want to get hung up on a diagnosis because those are so impersonal. It is some doctor, somewhere trying to put a name on something that is unknown. But the one thing that bothers me about my diagnosis is the fact that I can’t get rid of it. Doctors don’t go back and say, “Oops, sorry, we were wrong and you aren’t really bipolar.” This is a label I have to live with for the rest of my life, just because I reacted poorly to antidepressants and had some hallucinations. I kind of view it like being arrested. That may have been one moment of poor judgement, but it resulted in a lifetime of having this on “my record”. 

I still have days where I don’t believe that I’m bipolar. Those are the best days for me because those are the days when I am fighting my label, fighting the stigma of mental illness. Those days can also get me in trouble because if I am not bipolar, then I don’t need to take my meds.

I think it is always hard to accept chronic illness, whether it be mental or physical, but once you accept it, then you can learn to live with it. 

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Sunny Saturday

It is beautiful outside. I love days like this, so why am I feeling so down? I don’t feel depressed, more just worn out. This is usually how it goes. The low side of my bipolar is an exhaustion, which is better than downright despair I suppose. I have chronic migraines and I don’t know if I get a migraine because I am feeling low or if I feel low because I have a migraine. Either way, they usually coincide. Migraines are a great excuse for laying around. You can’t call into work and say I can’t come in today because I am depressed, but if you are laying on the floor crying in pain because of a migraine, you have what is considered a legitimate excuse. All I have been doing this week is working and sleeping. When me and my boyfriend hang out, we usually just sleep. I know this isn’t a healthy way to live, but I am just so exhausted. I am taking my medication. Contrary to popular belief, medication does not stabilize bipolar people, at least it never has in my case. Yes, sometimes it makes the mood swings less intense, but they are still there and they still affect my life. I know that as fast as I slipped down this slope, I will climb back up and probably be bouncing off the walls next week. Welcome to the ever-changing life of a bipolar person.

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Crazy Coffee

There are two things you should know about me. I am addicted to coffee and I throw around the word crazy. I don’t mean it in an offensive way towards mentally ill people, I think everyone is a little bit crazy.

Anyway as I am typing this I am drinking a hot mocha. I know it’s hot because I just burnt my tongue on it. And it got me thinking about temperature. Please excuse my analogies because they aren’t that great, but I’ll try to make this clear.

For me being bipolar is like never being the perfect temperature. Sometimes I am much too hot and I burn people. Not on purpose, but nonetheless people get hurt, including myself. On the other hand sometimes I am so cold people don’t even want to touch me. Some people want to put me in the microwave and warm me up, but I am a drink that you can’t change. I am never able to find the lukewarm personality that people want. The personality that doesn’t burn people or push them away. I’ve been on medication that forces me into that lukewarm area and I hate it. As much as I hate my disorder, I love the raw emotion that comes with it. I have this ability to feel so deeply that some lukewarm people don’t have.

But are those feelings worth the lost relationships, or jobs, or the inability to relate to “normal” people? Is it worth it to live life on the outside just to feel a pain so real and watch that pain turn into an unimaginable happiness?

I don’t know. I haven’t decided yet. On one hand, I want the control of my thoughts and emotions that other people have, but I also know that even if I take medication the rest of my life I will not think the same way that other people do.

And this is the battle that me and millions of other people around the world fight every single day. I am not my disorder, but my disorder is a part of who I am. Do I need to change that so that I conform to society’s standards?  

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