Good Enough

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I spend so much time not confident in who I am. I often think others are judging me by my appearance or because they don’t like the person I am. I have started to try to remember the times that I did feel good about myself fully and I try to remember what I felt like in that instance so that I can start to crave feeling like that so often that I can begin to make a habit of it.

Not good enough for my grade school friend

I have been told before that confidence comes from within, however my inside voice tells me I am inherently bad. Let me explain, when I was in grade school I was taught by my best friend I wasn’t good enough to be her friend at school in front of other kids because I was over-weight and poor not to mention I was annoying and considered a cry baby. She made me believe the thought that I was not good enough for anything. Not even common friendship. Now about 6th grade she finally grew up some and told the other girls that I was her friend and they were wrong for thinking I was not good enough to be friends with because of the way I looked but by then the damage was already done.

Not good enough for the guys to date in school

In junior high and high school boys didn’t date me. I was the “fat, ugly friend”, by age 12 everyone at my school knew I was considered ugly and fat and even if their opinion of me differed they would have never had considered dating me because that would mean going against what their friends had made them believe. I wasn’t good enough to date.

According to a PE teacher in my high school I would never be good enough to parent a child

A lot happened in high school. I had a teacher who told me that she hoped I never had children because I was a poor excuse for a human and any child, I would have wouldn’t have a chance in life. Yes, a teacher said this to me. It felt crappy and that PE teacher did get a phone call down to the dean’s office after my mother called the school to discuss the topic, but the damage was done. I was bad. I wasn’t good enough.

Not good enough for my own father

Then in high school my father left my mother and I for another woman and her children leaving us behind. He then raised another woman’s children and left me, and we hardly spoke because she wanted it that way. In fact, on one instance because of this other child that he ended up raising he hit me numerous times and security was called at a hotel because of it. He explained it away to my mother as I had gotten out of hand. What was out of hand was his and his wife’s expectation that I and my step-sister could handle the other step-sister with-out their interaction that day and they would not help get her to cooperate. He got mad and I got beaten and I don’t mean spanked, I was beaten. I had welts left on my arm for well over a week. Again, I was taught I was a bad person. I don’t mean to speak ill of the dead, but facts are facts. This did happen and it is a part of my teenage years.

Still not good enough for that grade school friend as an adult even after 30 years of friendship

As an adult I handled things fairly well with my confidence level for quite sometime but I was having coffee with the same friend who taught me in grade school that I wasn’t enough and she looked at me and said “I can only handle so much Tosha at one time” I know it seems like such a simple sentence. It doesn’t seem like it should stick with someone for the next 15 years. However, as a young adult trying to make my way in the world it hurt me, and it stuck with me that this same girl felt that I still wasn’t good enough after almost 30 years of friendship. I was her maid of honor, her mine and yet I wasn’t good enough to be her friend most of the time around her other friends. I mean, when she got married the last time, I met her husband only one time. Sadly, he passed away not too long ago.  I am sure it isn’t easy on her and I do care about her very deeply as she is my oldest friend. I also don’t believe she understood the damage she was doing when she did these things to me. I don’t think she understood that what she was saying to me or how she was acting could do so much damage to someone’s self-image that it truly changed the person they became.

Ran away from the job due to other ignorance of bipolar and their belief I was not good enough to be around their children

I then as an adult let it be found out I was bipolar while working in a small town. (https://inbipolarfashion.com/2019/05/02/stigma-in-a-small-town/) As a bus monitor. I ended up having the whole school district of parents calling the superintendent of the school and the school principal. The parents were making so much of a fuss about me being with their children that I finally gave up and quit my job because I was already battling depression so badly I had no fight in me to battle the storm that was happening around me and my public lashing with being bipolar. I again was taught I was inherently bad just by simply being who I was.

Through out my life I have had message after message that has told me from others that I am not enough and bad. Why? I am not. I am smart, I am compassionate, I am empathetic, I am generous and caring. I am kind and a hard-worker, and I give a whole lot of myself to others. It is now though, that I am finally realizing that all of these situations really had nothing to do with me, or the person I was. These situations all had to do with the individual that was at the root of the problem. It was because my friend wasn’t confident enough in who she was to say, she wanted to be my friend as a child. It was the teacher who should be ashamed of the way she spoke to a child in her classroom and obviously did not have the emotional intelligence to be teaching young kids who were being shaped into the individuals they would become as an adult and should be encouraged and nurtured not degraded and taught they are bad and not worthy of the life they are living, my father, well, he was just a jerk, and the people in my former community, well, they just weren’t educated enough to know that bipolar didn’t mean bad, and there is always going to be that ignorance and that stigma in the world. As much as I wish there wouldn’t be as long as we have people blaming mass shootings on the mentally ill, we are going to have stigma. It’s a fact. BIPOLAR PEOPLE ARE NOT VIOLENT! There I said it! I’ll leave that soap box alone.

My confidence level has been shot a long time. I however, for the first time in a long time no longer think I am a bad person or think that people automatically don’t like me. I am actually kinda cool. Maybe we should be friends!

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Interview with Tim Blue

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https://www.blubrry.com/to_know_we_are_not_alone/44349756/medication-hyper-sexuality-bi-polar-disorder-and-hope/?fbclid=IwAR2KL4sBatgs918N9UH9dlZEkYKoioPUa66QN9AkKrPpsKC04P7MBddGEiM

In this interview with Tim Blue listen as we discuss everything from over spending when manic my largest total being $37,000, to hypersexuality and how it is possible to lose your license for something as simple as taking a bipolar medications. Having bipolar disorder is no joke. It is a serious illness with serious consequences and if you don’t recognize the illness and stand up and become mindful of the symptoms, it will take you for everything you have.

Many of you have read my life experiences with bipolar disorder, now listen as Tim and I discuss many of the things you have only been able to read about and now can hear it from me, myself as Tim and I talk very candidly about my life.

Finding the Right Psychiatrist When You Have Bipolar Disorder

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Finding the right psychiatrist is a difficult task. For me it took almost 10 years and three different doctors. It seems like finding a doctor would be a simple thing, however it’s very personal and you are putting yourself in a vulnerable position when you speak with a psychiatrist.

By the time you get to a psychiatrist you have either spoken with your primary care doctor or a therapist who have referred you to go see the psychiatrist. So, you have already told someone your secret of not feeling well mentally and the fact that you feel like you need some help. Most people go to see a psychiatrist reluctantly.

When you go the first time you have to tell them everything you’re feeling. However, I have found through my studies, that at this first appointment not enough time is allowed and never is enough information given to the doctor to make a proper diagnosis. Most people will at first state they are feeling sad and be given an antidepressant or anxiety medication. They may be misdiagnosed and then rushed out the door. However, I believe the real work needs to come from the patient themselves and not the psychiatrist — and I will explain why.  

It has been my experience that a psychiatrist won’t know how to diagnose if the patient doesn’t know what that what they are feeling is a symptom, so it is many times overlooked. Often it takes the patient themselves doing the research and learning what their symptoms are to get the proper diagnosis. The doctors aren’t to blame though; they can only treat what they are told about. Nobody gets upset when you have a burst of energy and clean out two closets in three hours, so people don’t think to tell their doctor about it and things like hypomania there for are sometimes missed. It takes years of work with a doctor to get the proper diagnosis.

It also takes years once you have the right diagnosis to get the correct medications that are going to be the least harmful to you — with side-effects you can tolerate — but that also have the highest return on reducing your problematic symptoms. It is not easy and many people find themselves overwhelmed, giving up way before they find the relief that can come from proper care. However, it is normally a combination of medication and therapy that works best

My advice to those of you who are just starting with a doctor, stick with it, if the doctor doesn’t seem to care find a different one. You shouldn’t be just a name on a file to your doctor. Your doctor-patient relationship is important. Make sure it is someone you trust, can talk to and someone who doesn’t rush you out their door. Make sure they are open to suggestions. I always tell everyone, “you are your biggest advocate.” Most of all educate yourself. Read as much as you can about your diagnosis. Reading what others with bipolar go through helped me learn the proper language to talk to my doctor, it taught me how to tell him what was happening in my mind. Talking and discussing symptoms with your doctor is the fastest way to get the help you need.

My Struggle With Bipolar Disorder

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I find that I often have very typical symptoms of bipolar disorder when I read articles about what others have experienced. Like for instance, even though I have been married since I was 19, I still have had moments of hypersexuality. I actually worked for a while in a strip club when I first lost weight after bariatric surgery. I always loved the idea of working in a club and loved the nightlife and it seemed like the thing to do at the time. I loved the attention I was getting from men and I believed I was fulfilling something within me.

It turned ugly though after I tried for a place as a body shot girl and was passed over for a more attractive younger girl. The extra skin on my body resorted me to only being a waitress — and where I was glad I wouldn’t ever be taking off all my clothes. The image in my mind I had of myself was shattered when I was shot down for the body shots position for the younger girl. It seems like such a little thing now, but at the time it was enough to send me over the edge into a suicide attempt that was almost successful.

I recovered from that manic episode and was afterwards given the advice to never work overnights again. I struggled with that for a long time. Where I knew the club was a dangerous place for me to be, I truly loved the club scene and the attention it brought me. It was a weird choice of a job though because at the time my children were quite young and many times I would take them to their football practices and sleep in the car as they practiced. However to this day I never had another job that paid as well as that waitressing job paid. The symptom of hypersexuality is one that is always with me that I am able to suppress with medication.

I also suffer from bipolar delusions. The type I have, have plagued me since early in my diagnosis. Only I didn’t know they were a symptom until way into the process. It wasn’t until I really started learning the symptoms of my disorder when this symptom came into play. I would believe everyone disliked me, I would think when I would walk into a room that if two people were laughing, they were laughing about me. I thought everyone was talking about me. When I first spoke to my doctor about this symptom, I didn’t even know it was truly a symptom. He however treated me for it and years later I read an article explaining this symptom and I remember feeling relieved I wasn’t the only one. It is a symptom that affects many people who suffer from bipolar disorder, feeling paranoid about how others think of you is a common thing among those of us who have bipolar disorder.

Many of us choose a defensive manner to deal with others to handle the feelings of being paranoid about the way others perceive us. This is what many people know as irritability or agitation when it comes to bipolar disorder mania. It also can be called dysphoric mania. It is an angry state brought on because of paranoid thoughts of others thinking bad of us. It makes us lash out at those we love because we are on the defense. Often, we will be hyped up because we will be thinking about the fact that we need to out-do the haters. It’s a common thing for us.

Another symptom I have that is very typical for someone with bipolar disorder is my need to talk a lot. I love to talk. I not only like to talk, but I do it all the time and about anything. I have what they call this pressurized need to speak when I am manic. Meaning that when I am manic or hypo-manic it physically hurts me not to speak. Not only do I talk a lot, I have found that most people with bipolar disorder 1 are very loud. I honestly must try to whisper at times while in the vehicle with my husband because I am so loud the fact that I was a disc jockey in radio only intensives the problem because I was taught to project my voice and now that I do public speaking events to advocate for mental health and tell my story with my illness continues to keep my voice at its optimal performance level. However, it isn’t just me people with bipolar disorder tend to talk a lot, very fast, and very loud. I had to teach myself to slow down for speeches, and performing on stages and the air waves. I am though glad that I can use my gift of gab for something.

Often symptoms of bipolar disorder are very common among those of us who have the disorder. However, bipolar is different for everyone and so you may not have all the same symptoms as someone else. It is good to remember that your diagnosis is unique to you. For that reason, your symptoms are also going to be unique to you. Your symptoms are what makes up your bipolar disorder. Start listing out your symptoms today to take them to your doctor.  

The Challenge of Bipolar Disorder and Living with Delusions

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Being bipolar can be challenging. For me it’s partly because my mind refuses to shut off. When I’m not doing much and just being around the house, I find myself doing the one thing that makes most people break into anxiety: overthinking. It’s one of the quickest ways to find yourself in depression.

I spend so much time pressing out the thoughts that I have forgotten what an impossible task this is. Ironically, I wind up having to take medication to help my brain press out the thoughts now causing anxiety.

Fortunately for me, normally they work. However, sometimes the thoughts become so overwhelming that no matter how I try to distract myself, I can’t seem to manage to do so. Paranoid delusional thoughts can come at me so rapidly that even when I think I have the whole bipolar delusion thing figured out, I realize that ability goes and comes.

Most of the time my delusions are that people I know and are on my side do not like me. I think people who are trying to help me make things better are against me. I feel that everyone around me is talking badly about me and are having conversations with each other about me and the things they don’t like about me. I think every giggle they make with someone else, and every look they exchange has got me in the center of it. It’s as if I am standing in front of a class in my underwear. Except for me, I am not dreaming — at that moment it’s happening in real time.

Sometimes they get so extreme that I believe my biggest supporter is against me. Sometimes I am able to pinpoint what I have done wrong with my compliance plan for managing my bipolar and figure out quickly how I got off track and started down the path where the delusions began. Other times I struggle so badly that I know that no matter how well I take care of myself the delusions will never be more than a thought away. They, just like breathing, are a part of my life. I don’t get to decide to do it, when to do it, or how often they come. I have been told many times I am a likable person, so why I believe that others dislike me will always be something I don’t understand. My mother-in-law used to say, “Tosha, they have better things to think about than you.” Although though I know that’s right I still cannot make the delusions or the overthinking stop.

I try to keep myself busy throughout the days. I read, study things I find interesting, crochet (but there is a lot of free time for thinking while crocheting), play on Facebook or clean. Sometimes, though, when things are really coming at me fast, the overthinking and delusions won’t stop no matter how hard I try to repress them. When they happen, I tend to create the environment that I was trying to avoid. I will talk about someone, call them a name, because they are out to get me, or so my mind believes. I will make up a reason for my husband to be upset with me or me to be upset with him. I believe he isn’t loving me enough or we aren’t connecting anymore. I think since I have bipolar and my mind is always going that I need the reinforcement continuously.

Now that he and I are nearly 40 and our children are well into their teen years, life is slowing down and because of it, there’s more time to think. I have more time to develop problems that are not really there. I can normally get past them, sometimes convincing myself that I am overreacting. Every once in a while, though, I forget to check myself and the delusions create something out of nothing.

My husband is very forgiving. It might take him a day or so, but he tries to remember I am not always in control of the thoughts that bog down my mind. He tries to reassure me that what I am thinking isn’t happening. At times he has just refused to talk about something because he knows I conjured it up and he won’t fall prey to my mind like I do. I am very thankful for that. He has lived with me for long enough to know when I’m having delusional thoughts.

They can be strong or they can be weak, but I am never truly free from their torment. The biggest battle has been fought, though, which was the battle to know what the delusions were. I didn’t know at one time that the paranoid thoughts I was having had a name, and they were actually part of bipolar disorder. I was both relieved and scared to learn that what was happening to me had a name. Scared because it meant that I truly did have the disorder but relieved because if it had an actual name maybe they had developed something to help me. I was lucky treatment helps me get a handle on what’s happening.

I never wanted to be put on an antipsychotic, never considered what I manifested was psychotic behavior. Long before I figured out that the thoughts were actually delusions, my doctor knew what they were. He never told me they were bipolar delusions and common in the condition. He treated the symptom of the delusions, which, I believe, has more than once saved my life. I worked hard to find the right doctor. I had two other doctors before the one I have now. He listens to me and he doesn’t give me the same medications he gave the patient he saw right before me. He gives me the medicine I need to treat my symptoms. This means I am not taking medicine I might not need. He sees patterns in my behavior and helps me recognize what my mind is doing. I trust I am getting the right care.

When the delusions start, I know what to do. I know now that they will be there no matter what I do. My doctor said when it comes to medication we have it all right. I have to learn to talk about it and learn how to work it out for myself. I can’t depend on the medication to correct everything.

Today, because I felt guilty for overspending, I started to blame myself more than my husband blamed me. In fact, he had let the situation go. Then he talked to me a bit about my thoughts and did not feed into my paranoid thoughts of him being more upset with me than he truly was. Eventually I was able to see what I was doing.

More and more I am able to recognize the fact that I am overthinking a situation, that my mind is not being rational. I am able to warn my husband and let him know by saying, ”I am having a hard time not overthinking things today.” I am lucky enough to have found someone who says he will never understand why I do the things I do, but he will always support me through it. I am a very lucky wife.

So yes, overthinking is a bipolar symptom. I no longer walk around in a solid depression because of what I feel others think of me. I am able to be confident and have good self-esteem. I am able to be a leader and try to help others when they don’t think they can keep going. I don’t let the delusions win. I tell them who I am, and I don’t let them destroy things I have worked hard to create. I am able to remind myself that this is part of the disorder. What I am going through is going to be there sometimes, but I don’t have to let it control me. I make the decisions in my life, my mind doesn’t anymore. I know my mind thinks it is in control most of the time but I always remind it that I, not it, is the one with the ability to stay in control of the delusions.

Hypersexuality in Bipolar Disorder

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The need to be desired, it is a topic many women will avoid. They think it shows weakness to express the need to have a man find them attractive. I don’t. Maybe it was the many years of being overweight, but I love when I get hit on by a man. Being bipolar I admit that my need for a man to flirt with me takes on a life of its own. I love it! I crave the attention, and don’t feel as good about myself when it isn’t happening on a regular basis. Being told I am pretty, sexy, hot all makes me feel wanted and, after feeling like the ugly duckling for most of my life, I find nothing more thrilling.

Since I long for the feeling of feeling attractive I do certain things that make some women question me. I always have elaborate makeup on. I take a lot of time to do my makeup before leaving the house each day. It is something I am known for. I am often asked about the products I use, as well as the techniques I use to apply my makeup. I never feel unqualified to give the advice because I did have a cosmetology license, even though it has lapsed now. I also did makeup backstage for theatre even on traveling Broadway shows and for many community theatre shows, so I know my skills are there. I use it to my advantage to give myself a flashy look.

I also make sure to do my hair and have it styled nice as well as put on a fashionable outfit. Being known for my style and flare makes me proud to have bipolar because I know that the bipolar is part of why I have my creative style and flare. It gives my personality a complete persona, and I always enjoy when a gentleman can appreciate the time I put into looking nice.

Then on top of the makeup and the hair and the perfect outfit. I make sure I exercise and go to the gym. I know it seems like not a big deal but as I mentioned I was overweight most my life and now that I am not it is nice to continue to maintain my weight loss. I enjoy jogging and being fit. I like being able to wear sexy clothing that make me feel attractive and yes they are normally provocative and turn heads but that is the way I like it.

I know now that hypersexuality is a symptom of bipolar disorder and I know that my need to be desired probably stems from that. I don’t always like that I care so deeply what others think of me and sometimes it is the one thing that will send me deep into a depression. I may over think why no one has flirted with me recently or why my husband of almost 20 years hasn’t tried to have sex with me lately, however a good night out dancing is the one thing when I am feeling confident again that can knock that depression out of me too. It is always amazing to me what a night of feeling like a sexy woman can do for my self-esteem. For me it is a rush like nothing else, better than any drug that I could even imagine is out there.

I know bipolar has some symptoms that are a pain in the bottom and many of them I don’t care for. This symptom however is not one that I am looking to correct anytime soon. I don’t mind needing the reassurance from others that I am attractive. Maybe, that’s because I am finally okay with who I am. It won’t happen every day that a man finds me attractive and I am okay with that. I am happily married and I would never change that. I love my husband but I do love to flirt, hyper-sexuality must be controlled but can be by staying on your wellness bipolar wellness plan. I am lucky to have an understanding husband who understands when it happens it isn’t something he isn’t doing but something that is because of my disorder. Bipolar, it’s a beast!

How Being Open about Bipolar Disorder Affects Friendships

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Bipolar disorder can have many co-occurring diagnoses. Today I am going to discuss just two of my co-occurring diagnoses and give you an example of each of them and how they would have affected my friendships, if I wasn’t open about having bipolar disorder with my friends. I think you will agree with me that the fact that I am open about having bipolar disorder with my close friends is something that has benefited me on my path to recovery for mental health.

I have bipolar delusions. Bipolar delusions are a tricky thing. They change your perception and the way you see the world, and others around you. They make you believe things about people you love and care for, things that are not true.

Let me give you an example. I have a friend who runs a non-profit that I volunteer for. At one point I was sick with a sinus infection. I didn’t hear from her for a week. In my bipolar delusional mind, I took it personally that I hadn’t heard from her. However, since she knows about my illness I could say to her. “Hey, I don’t know if you are mad at me, and I did something, or if it is just my delusional mind at work here, but I feel like we haven’t communicated as much, or as often as we normally do.”

She was then able to reassure me that “Tosha it must be your delusions because you have done nothing wrong.”

If I wouldn’t have been open with her about my illness and spoken to her about having delusions in the past, I wouldn’t have been able to talk to her about this situation. I would have walked around worried about this feeling that she was mad at me for something, for maybe a long time, and could have eventually destroyed what is a great friendship.

My anxiety never seems to be completely gone no matter how much I push myself to get out of my comfort zone. Recently I have made some great new friendships and a lot of those friends have asked me to do some new things away from my home. I love people. Doing new things is always exciting and I always am so excited to do something new, until about 2 hours before I must go to that new and exciting new thing and my husband isn’t going to be involved in the new and exciting thing too.

My husband is my support person, and he is the person I turn to for my comfort. I can do anything when he is by my side. However, when it is something new and he isn’t involved I get very nervous and I tend to somehow back out most times. My anxiety will start in, and I will begin to get over whelmed at the thought of doing the new thing. I have found that in most cases it is best not to make up an excuse in these situations. If I have been honest with my friends and I have told them that I really want to go and that I am going to try my hardest to do it, but if my anxiety gets too much for me that night I may have to just not go. They are normally very understanding of my limits. They can understand that better than some lame excuse like I must color my hair.

Many times, I have no other excuse other than I just cannot do it tonight. It truly saves the friendship in the long run because I am not trying to remember what lie it was I told my friend to get out of going to whatever it was she wanted me to go to. If it is a new friend and they aren’t willing to understand my bipolar disorder, honestly, they are not the kind of friend I want in my life. The friend’s worth having will understand. Of course, I don’t cancel every time I make plans and often I do make it. However, my disorder does stop me many times from doing all that I would like to do.

These are just two of the co-occurring diagnoses in my bipolar disorder and how being honest about my bipolar disorder with my close friends has helped me deal better with my path to mental health recovery. Telling people is a personal choice for everyone, and it must be something you are comfortable with and ready to do. But, for me, it was definitely the right choice.