Tonight I am empowered. It did not start off that way, but it has gotten that way pretty quickly. It actually started with some hurt, some deep hurt within myself, one that I felt should not have been there. But it soon changed to disappointment. First at myself and then at someone else.
But now, now it is empowerment.
I learned something hard lately. That every person who smiles are you is not your friend. I won’t go into detail. But lets just say…..lesson learned, and learned well.
I have let it go. Letting it roll off my back like water off an umbrella. There was a time in my life where I would not have been able to let it go. Worrying about it, trying hard.
I know I am no longer that person and although I was pretty naive at the time, I no longer am. And it was a valuable lesson to learn. So I guess I should be thankful that I learned it now.
There has come this point in my life where I no longer care what any one thinks of me. I mean, I do, deep down to some extent. BUT the bitchy empowering person that I feel inside me right now….well she says “Fuck It”.
I have actually, FINALLY, let go of a lot of things over the past little bit, and I am going to be absolutely honest, It is the most freeing sensation I have ever felt.
I am happy, I am IN LOVE, I have a wonderful family and I love them, quirks and all.
I refuse to go back to the broken crumbled person that I once was. And I will definitely not let one person, and one person alone bring me there.
Right now I say, take me as I am, Bipolar and all. Manic, depressed, mixed, flat. I am who I am, and take me that way without talking shit behind my back, or don’t take me at all.
I was just talking to a friend about writing. We both write, we both have blogs, and she was saying how she was not sure what direction to go in and I mentioned how I feel my writing slipping away from me.
I replied to her with the following:
I hope you are able to find a path. I am frustrated at the moment, my writing is slipping away from me like some boat sailing in the distant fog, I can see it but I cannot get to it. And it is very frustrating to say the least.
That very message is what perked my writing of this post. I liked the way I formed the sentence, so I thought, why not, if I am not able to get my mind to work to write about something else I can at least write about my lack of writing.
So as you have all read in my past posts. I had my knack for writing gone for over a year. With the new mania I began writing again, in fact I could not write enough. I was almost in a constant state of writing, and I was in bliss. I began Bipolar Whispers in hopes that by sharing some of my writing it could at least help someone, somewhere.
I never imagined it would pick up as quick as it did, and I am thankful for my readers, their comments, and their likes and shares.
But lately, as I am sure some of you have noticed, my writing has been few and far between, and not as elaborate.
I am sort of blaming it on the medications that are keeping the mania just under the surface. They seem to be stomping on my creative flow. I hate this.
It is times like this when I feel like taking all the medications, tossing them out and saying “forget it”. But I also know what happens when I am not medicated. My husband and my family are too important for me to go unmediated and risk getting really sick again.
So I am writing bits and pieces, trying to work through the little bit of writers block that I am currently experiencing.
As I sit here watching that ship sailing just on the horizon in the fog, I realize that it is at least still in sight, I can at least try to get closer to it. It is closer to me then it was a year ago when I thought I had my writing capabilities lost forever. I will fight to get to it again, even if I have to swim the distance.
I wrote a guest blogger post for a site called Imperfect Cognitions. They have a monthly blog post series by-experts-by-experience. One of the ideas I could write on was whether manic symptoms brought out creativity in people who have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.
I decided to write on how writing is important to me, and how I write while manic, or otherwise. I mashed together my experiences along with some ideas from another blog post about writing that I featured here on Bipolar Whispers to create the article.
I would love it if you could take a minute to check out my post as well as check out the rest of the Imperfect Cognitions website.
The Godfather of Heavy Metal, Mr. Ozbourne himself, said it right, when he sang about “going off the rails like a crazy train”. Would almost make you wonder if he had this disorder in mind.
I’ve lived with bipolar disorder (tentatively bipolar II) for over twenty years. I’ve been diagnosed for less than 1 of those. What bipolar means to me now as opposed to what it meant all those years when I never knew it existed is completely different. For years I thought I was crazy, maybe a little insane. I felt I didn’t belong anywhere; my own family felt like strangers, adult figures seemed like aliens from another planet, and my friends, foreigners who spoke a different language. I didn’t quite fit anywhere- not at home or at school. I didn’t quite mesh with anyone- something was always a little off. I was a little off.
Who was I? Where did I belong? And what the hell was wrong me with me?
Some answers came last year when, after a complete and total breakdown that nearly landed me in the hospital, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I still wasn’t sure who I was or where I belonged, in many ways I’m still not, but I do know now what is “wrong” with me. After more than 2 decades of living in what was sometimes pure hell, or always being afraid that people who learn of my “secret”, of wanting to die at times while wanting to rule the world at others, I finally know and understand why.
My earliest signs of bipolar, back when I didn’t know what the word even meant or that the condition existed, was my dramatic changes in mood, behavior, and even personality. I would go off the rails, from one extreme low or high to another, time and time again.
My lows were typical bipolar depression, with a side of teenage angst, a dash of dysfunctional family and more than a hint of verbal abuse. I was a mess, although you would never have guessed by looking at the energetic, happy, outgoing teenage shell that I inhabited. I was a cutter, hiding my wounds beneath trendy shirts and sweaters. I tried to end my life several times, explaining away the missed days of school as girl problems or a stomach bug. I was clever in not letting the world see the the angry, hurting, truly and utterly fucked up person beneath the surface of the smiling, doe eyed teenage girl.
My high phases were, again, typical bipolar highs, or mania. It was during these periods when I managed to get into, and often cause, the most trouble. I drank a lot, partied hard, dabbled in drugs, flirted with far too many and often very inappropriate boys or men, experimented with members of the same sex, got into fights, and made one bad decision after another. My family life was turmoil most days as it was, but my behavior often made things worse. I was saucy and rude, rebellious and mean. At school I managed to keep up a pleasant facade, my secret guarded well. My parents couldn’t control me. I couldn’t control me.
I often wonder how different my life would have been had I been diagnosed and treated back in my early teen years when things started to go astray. Where would I be today if it had? How would my life now be different? One can only wonder. I suffered in silence for so many years, years that I can never get back, that this disorder has robbed from me. Years spent going off the rails like a crazy train.
I read that quote earlier in the week and I have had it on a sticky note on my computer screen every since as a reminder to myself that sometimes I do need to let go.
It is something I have had a hard time with my entire life. I have a hard time of letting go of things. Sometimes I even have a hard time holding on to things that I should. But the letting go is always the hardest.
I harbor things within myself that I should have let go of a long time ago. I hold on to past hurts, pain and hurt feelings like I am hording water for a trip across a hot, dusty desert.
And I realize that all I am doing by holding on to these things is hurting myself. I am making the wounds deeper and pouring salt on them.
I have been learning to let go more and more over the years with the right amount of therapy and deep reflection.
I have finally realized that In letting go I am finally letting myself heal.
As adults we often take for granted what we have. We forget that we can loose things by taking them for granted. Sometimes people take for granted the jobs that they are working, the roof over their heads, the food in their bellies. They make bad decisions, or something happens and they no longer have the necessities they need or the luxuries they crave.
As adults we also tend to have a mentality that we are too old to do certain things. We think that we are too old, or to manly, or too much of a feminist or even sometimes too perfect to do certain things.
This is what I want to touch on in this post. I have seen these things more and more over the past few years. It seems to only be getting worst.
Don’t take things for granted.
Never take things for granted because what you have today, you may not have tomorrow.
Take your jobs for example, work somewhere where you enjoy working, you can make friends, you make good money to survive and raise your family. Tomorrow you may not have the luxury of being able to work. Medically you may not be able to, mentally you may not be able to. Sometimes there are layoffs, shortage of work. Unforeseen circumstances can change everything.
Never take the people around you for granted, for they may not always be there. Friends come and go, people come and go, teachers come and go, people who are holding out a helping hand come and go. Never take that for granted. Embrace friendships, embrace learning experiences, embrace relationships.
Tell them you are grateful for their help, their friendship, their listening ear, their shoulders to cry on, and their love. You never know when they will no longer be there to offer those things.
You may think that they should already know how much you care for them, appreciate them, or love them. But in their minds they may wonder why you never tell them that anymore.
Never think that you are too old for something.
You are never too old to show love or emotion, to give someone a hug, a kiss, a pat on the shoulder. Take the time to tell someone that you love them. Give hugs, simple hugs can be one of the most refreshing things. Sometimes we just need someone to wrap their arms around us and tell us that everything is going to be okay. If someone does a good job take the time to tell them they did a good job, praise them up, give them a pat on the shoulder. After all, they deserve it.
You are never too old to play. Take the time to play with your children. Play board games, do puzzles, make crafts, go out side and run around, play catch, build a snow man, go swimming, have a water balloon fight.
Enjoy your children while they are still little. They are only little once. And as the song goes:
“So let them be little, ‘Cause they’re only that way for a while. Give ’em hope, give them praise, Give them love every day. Let ’em cry, let ’em giggle, Let ’em sleep in the middle, Oh, but let them be little.”
And last but certainly not least.
You are never too old to apologize
As young children we are taught that if we do something wrong we need to apologize. How many times have you heard a parent say to a child “Say you are sorry”? If a child says something that hurts another child’s feelings we teach them that they need to apologize. If they break a toy that belongs to another child we teach them to say “I’m sorry”.
So why as adults is it so hard to take our own advice?
It seems the words “I’m sorry” are becoming less and less common place. We as adults forget how important those two little words could mean to someone who we may have unintentionally hurt in one way or another.
We all do these things, not really meaning anything by them. Forgetting to say “I love you” as you run through the door so you will not be late for work. Right down to neglecting to say “I’m Sorry” because the words are either forgotten or lost somewhere in time.
Is the number of different medications I have been on in 3 years.
10 of those were in 2012 alone. That was the year I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.
To say I was mildly frustrated would be a lie. Mild would not cut it. It was a hard battle trying to find a medication cocktail that worked well for me.
They have been in different combinations, different dosages. New medications added, old medications stopped, dosages changed.
My doctor believes in the lowest possible dosages to treat the problem so we always start slow and work our way up to a dosage that works for me.
So in February of 2012 after battling for a long long time I finally had to get more help.
My very first medication on this journey was Risperidone. I took it for less than a week.
I was then hospitalized so my medications ended up being regulated by my admitting doctor instead of my regular psychiatrist.
He stopped Respiradone and started Zoloft. Few days later they added Wellbutrin and Clonozapam. Few days after that they added a sleeping med called Zopiclone and he also added Seroquel. I cannot remember the exact changes and additions and what was dropped during this period of time, but when I got out of hospital I was taking Seroquel, Zopiclone, Ativan and Wellbutrin.
During a manic episode my doctor kept upping the dosage of my Seroquel but it did not seem to make any difference, in fact I was getting worst and worst.
He stopped the Seroquel and started Lithium. I wrote about the scare I had with Lithium in a post found here.
I only took one dosage of Lithium because of a terrible reaction and then started Valproic Acid. Which worked wonders to take me out of the mania because it sedated me so badly trying to wake up was like swimming just under the surface of water, hearing voices but not able to actually wake.
I took it for almost a month and my body did not adjust enough for my liking so I asked my doctor to change it. I have small children and cannot be sedated all the time.
The next mood stabilizer we tried was Tegretol, after a couple of adjustments it seemed to work pretty well. I ended up with a rash that we thought might have been related so we changed to Trileptal which is a sister drug to Tegretol.
Then during a mania in December of 2013 my doctor added Temazepam and Methoprazine to my cocktail, so at this point along with those two medications I was taking Wellbutrin and Trileptal. I had Slept 11 hours in 14 days and he desperately wanted me to sleep. I ended up sleeping 19 hours that first night taking the two new medications, waking only once in the middle for about 5 minutes.
I kinda stopped the Methoprazine and Temazepamon my own when I felt good. *I admit this was not a good idea in retrospect*
My Trileptal got changed back to Tegretol once we realized the rash was not caused by the medication.
And my final medication change was during my recent mania where he added Chlorpromazine.
My current cocktail is Chlorpromazine, Tegretol, and Wellbutrin.
My whole entire point to this post is that there are so many medications and so many different combinations of medications that eventually you and your doctor working together should be able to find something that works well for you.
It takes a lot of work. It really does. I have to admit that frustrations can run high. Things change all the time, from mania to balanced to depression and full circle again.
It is vital that you have a good relationship with your treating doctor. He or She needs to know when things change and when your medications need to be adjusted.
So to those of you who are still trying to get dosages straightened out, keep your chin up, hopefully soon you will find the medication combo that is good for you.