Doing What I Know

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I am having a very difficult time forgiving myself lately for having bipolar disorder. Even though I know it isn’t something I can help having. I feel like when the delusions are raging and the disease is out of control it is at my own doing that things are falling apart. As if it is all in my control and there is a magic button that will make all the bad parts of this disorder disappear if I just do everything I am supposed to.

Fortunately, that is how it works a majority of the time. If I take care of myself and do the things I lay out for myself in what I call my bipolar care plan I normally don’t have any slip-ups and if I do they are very minor slip-ups and they don’t take but a little tweak and I am back on routine without question.

 I have experienced a major relapse episode of mania

Recently though, I have experienced a major relapse episode of mania. That episode has now put me into a questionable position of being in a mixed state. A mixed state in bipolar is where you are still experiencing symptoms of your mania like some of your inability to sleep, your agitation, irritability, some of your focus, and many other of manias characteristics but you are clearly in a deep depression and not euphoric at all.

 Mixed states are the most dangerous times for those of us living with bipolar disorder. When someone with bipolar disorder is in a mixed state that is most often when they will take action on their threats of suicide and turn the threats into an actual attempt on their life. Most of the time when someone is in a mixed state they are also feeling like they have no will to live at the same time. If they do feel like they have a will to live it will be a last minute decision to take their life and act on the feeling and because it is something they have thought long and hard on in the past they already knew how they would go about taking their life if they even thought they would do so.

 It has been since 2008 since I wanted to take my life

Let me be clear. It has been since 2008 since I wanted to take my life. It has only been in the last 3 months that the thought of suicide has even returned to my thoughts. I had not thought about suicide in so long I thought I was free from ever having thoughts like that again. This disease is a nasty beast. It sucks the will to live out of you because you just want the pain and delusions to stop. You just want to stop hurting everyone else. You just don’t want everyone to hurt because of you anymore. I know that my stopping my hurt in that matter would actually do more harm than good. I would never take my own life. I can’t lie though and say I am not thinking about it again and that once again I am not suicidal. I am. I very much am. I, however, promise you even though I am thinking about it. I do not have a plan in place and I am not going to act on it.

I need to get myself back to a place of recovery and wellness. Bipolar Care plan 101: Step 1: Self-Care; today I went to get a pedicure and to get my nails done at 2:30 I will walk to the gym and jog. I have set a goal to get back to running again, I would like to actually find a 5K and run it with my husband. That seems pretty lofty but manageable. I don’t know how he feels about that, but I like the idea of us doing it together. Once I get through Step 1: Self-Care. I never stopped Step 2: Medication, I kept that up the entire time.

I am one of the lucky ones

I am one of the lucky ones I have said this a million times. I have support. The support of my husband who loves me unconditionally and the support of the rest of my family and friends. I am blessed. Bipolar sucks. If I have to have it, at least I am lucky enough to have it with people around me that love me. Thank you to each of you that take the time to love me, check on me, and send me messages, it doesn’t go unnoticed, I love each of you and you mean so much to me. I am more of a person because of each of you.

Second Chance

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I always craved the nightlife. However being a bigger girl the majority of my life I was never very good at being a part of it. As I now know, the bipolar was bad at allowing this aspect of my life to happen. The bipolar delusions were strong and I was struggling very hard internally with the paranoid thoughts that flooded my mind day in and day out. The thought of being talked about behind my back, and people not liking me, was never far from my mind. I never felt like I fit in wherever I was. I never stayed at a job for much longer than six months because I would get overwhelmed with the feelings that my coworkers were out to get me. The struggle had me in full force by 2008 when I had lost all the weight after my gastric bypass surgery.

I always wanted to do something I thought only the pretty girls could do!

            I always wanted to do something that I thought only the pretty girls could do. When you are bipolar you can be hypersexual. I married young but I loved to flirt. The type of innocent flirting that didn’t mean anything other than the fact that a guy found me attractive. I wasn’t going to let it go anywhere and my husband wasn’t the jealous type. I knew I couldn’t be a stripper; one, I have no rhythm, so dancing was out. Two, since I did have gastric bypass and couldn’t afford the skin removal surgery, I had a ton of extra skin. However with a sweater, corset, skirt and pantyhose, I could hide that skin, so I waited tables. The money was awesome, and for a while, I was having the time of my life. 

I had hoped that the thoughts would go away because I was finally pretty. After all the years of being 355 lbs, I was finally a size small, and 142 lbs. A feat I thought I would never achieve. I was sadly mistaken. By this time I realized that the nightlife, no matter how much I enjoyed the flirting, was not where I needed to be. It could really make me feel pretty downright lousy about myself and the person I was trying to be.

I decided then, that I was going to end my life.

              One night I came home and I had had enough. I decided I didn’t want to deal with the self-hatred I felt any longer. That the pain I felt, the overwhelming feeling of just wanting all the pain and all the distress I was causing my family – to be over. I decided then, when I got home as I was lying in bed – and as my husband got up to start his day, that I was going to end my life.

            I was working crazy hours though, 13 to 14 hours a day. My boys were playing football every night. If I wasn’t working, I was sleeping at practice in the car, which I am sure didn’t look good to the other parents. I slept all day. I missed most of their life for about 6 to 8 months while I was doing this job. I worked most nights from 3 pm till 6 am. The drive was 40 minutes from my house. I was having fun though. I saw my doctor. I was taking Ambien to sleep. I was on ADHD meds during the day. As well as anxiety meds. I thought I was doing okay. Then slowly the thoughts started to creep in.

            I couldn’t just say goodbye to my boys though. I climbed the stairs where my boys were awake and getting ready for school. I went to my oldest and I said to him, “Colton, remember you can do anything you want to do. Don’t let anyone ever tell you differently. You’re smarter than people believe, and always know you can do whatever you put your mind to.” I went in to see my twins, and I said to them that I loved them, and to never forget mommy (at the time they were only about 6 years old). Then I grabbed my son Justin who I am known for having a very close relationship with. He and I have always had a very special bond. I said, “come lay down and say goodbye to mommy”.

 Little did I know that those were the words that would save my life. Justin and I went down the stairs and laid in my bed. My husband came in from his shower. I had taken every pill I had and I had a lot because my scripts had just been refilled. He asked me what we were doing. I said “we’re saying good-bye” and I must have already been distant because Chris didn’t hesitate a second, he knew I was serious. He grabbed the phone and dialed 911. He told them what I had done. Moments later I sat down on the gurney. I remember going out the door but not being put in the ambulance. I remember none of the drives. How would I? I died on the way to the hospital.  They brought me back. I woke up at the hospital a day later on a vent. The damage I had caused my body was unknown. I asked, “why didn’t you just let me go”. Chris said, “No way!”  I got lucky, and there was no damage to my body from all the different medications. After 4 days of court-ordered admission to the hospital. I was released.

I am thankful every day my husband didn’t just “let me go”. I have gotten to see my boys grow up. I’ve seen Colton graduate High School. I’ve seen Justin get into U-High. I have seen Cory give the speech at his 8th-grade graduation, and I have seen Cale grow into a kid with one of the biggest hearts of anyone I have ever met. They are all so great!  I would never trade any of it for anything in the world. Teenagers are a pain, but I am loving every minute of it. Mostly because I almost wasn’t here for it.

I got a second chance at life;

I got a second chance at life and I am going to make sure that I take care of that life. I hope that my strength can encourage others to be aware of the changes within themselves and when to ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength. Life can be a battle and when you have a mental illness, everything is more intense. The normal life circumstances that happen to people for those of us that suffer can throw us for a loop, which is why at the end of each day we are so tired. A battle of the mind can be so much more exhausting than any other physical challenge ever dreamt of being. It takes strength and courage to face each day. Do it bravely knowing that you are worth living for! That your breath is worth just as much as everyone else’s. Face each day with “Amazing Strength

It’s hard to swallow for me that I put my family through such a traumatic experience. They know that life can throw you curves. That you’re not always going to feel 100%, but tomorrow will come, and you are probably going to feel better eventually. That there are people that can help, and medications to help as well. They know what I have been through, and I hope they don’t ever feel helpless, but if they do – they know they can always ask for help. I am so glad I got a second chance at life.

With bipolar, every day can be a challenge and most days is a challenge, but I know that if I get helpless again, I have the strength to overcome it. My husband and my boys give me the strength I need to get through each and every day. They give me the courage to continue life even in the darkest of times. I am confident that I will be okay eventually I just have to keep going one more day.

 When dealing with suicidal thoughts I know how quickly I can feel alone and as if the pain will never end but now that I have gone through what has been the darkest days of my life so far, I can see where eventually the clouds will lift and I will smile again.

Sometimes the courage comes with knowing your limits. Recently I again had a manic episode which also produced psychosis. I do believe I was close to a psychotic break which again would have resulted in a trip to the hospital. Since I practice mindfulness and constantly do self-checks on myself to make sure I stay healthy, I knew I was manic and I had to take some drastic steps to get back on my management plan. I am fortunate enough to have a loving family who supported me and helped me quickly get into the doctor and seek treatment. I was able to stay out of the hospital and regain my recovery.