Day 9 of Blogtober, ya’ll! I decided with this post I wanted to kind of go back to my roots, in a sense. I want to share with you all my mental health journey. I don’t think it takes much time to read or tell from my blog that I have bipolar II disorder. With that being said, I do have a lot of newer readers who haven’t been with us since Day 1 (which is totally okay!) and may not know my story in regard to mental health. So I will dive into that a little bit and see where this emotional journey will take us, so come on get your reading glasses and let’s begin.
I started experiencing depression when I was either 13 or 14 years old. I am not sure if it was based on my home life and what I was going though, or if it is based on my own hormones, or a combination of the two. At that time, I was placed I believe it was on Zoloft which made me have elated moods and made me feel good in a superficial sense, but I ended up crashing and burning and becoming even more suicidal than I was before. I switched antidepressants a couple of times and eventually stopped talking the medication altogether when I found Jesus (again) at 15 years old. I felt good overall and didn’t feel as depressed so I went cold turkey on those meds. When I did take meds, I did attend therapy. My first therapist was a bust because she was cold and judgmental. My last therapist I had on and off for 8 years, so she was much better.
When I was 17, I started crying everyday and my moods would swing wildly and it wasn’t just a “woman thing”. Granted during this time, I was going through a mystery diagnosis situation, had my appendix taken out and nearly ruptured, and was diagnosed with a bladder disease called Interstitial Cystitis. But even then, my emotional state and emotional responses were not normal. So then I went back to my therapist who then diagnosed me with bipolar II disorder. Originally I was diagnosed with clinical depression, anxiety, panic disorder, and PTSD. So I went from four incorrect diagnoses to one correct and more accurate one.
Being diagnosed with bipolar sometimes made me feel like I wasn’t like “them” as in other bipolar folks. I thought I wasn’t psychotic, nor did I have delusions or hallucinations, I was never hospitalized so I wasn’t like those whom you see in psych hospitals.
Then after three major psychotic episodes, multiple delusions, paranoia, two near suicide attempts, and one almost hospital admissions, I realized that I am no different nor was I in better than any human who is diagnosed with either bipolar 1 or 2 or has schizophrenia or schizoaffective. Or any other mental health diagnosis for that matter. I won’t go much into my near suicide attempts, but nearly every one of these events happened due to me going off of my medication.
I take an antidepressant (Prozac), an antipsychotic (Abilify), a mood stabilizer (Lithium). It wasn’t always this combination, but the point is that when I go off of these meds, all the medication goodness that goes on completely stops and it is so hard to force myself to take my meds and then I go bonkers without the medication.
I have been taking my medication everyday consistently without fail since April of this year. Since about May or June, I have felt pretty good. I don’t feel depressed nor manic, just decent everyday. In the beginning of September I broke up my Lithium pills so I take 450mg in the morning and 450 in the evening which helps stabilize me throughout the full day. In August, I believe I was able to reduced my Lithium from 1200mg to 900mg which I was very pleased about. I don’t feel like I am drugged and apathetic all of the time, but my moods have been stable enough so that I don’t need that extra 300 mg.
Overall, I feel good. I am going to add some vitamin D3 to my pill box this week because winter is coming ya’ll and I’m not ready nor am I digging it. I think that might help with my seasonal depression, but we shall see. I have a long way to go still, but I am excited for what’s to come as I continue to work full time and get my bachelor’s and then my master’s degree.