WHAT BEING DIAGNOSED WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER TAUGHT ME
Hi, my beauties, happy first day of May! I hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day Weekend! I stayed home since I was in Colorado the week before and honestly dedicated the weekend to working on the PODCAST ( I know SOOO excited) and on small hikes here and there. I am really excited because May is Mental Health Awareness Month and in honor of that I have decided to dedicate the entire month to different post all supporting the wonderful awareness around providing a healthier mental health, recipes to keep you feeling great and so much more. I thought that the best way to kick off this month-long series is by sharing my story behind my manic depressive diagnose and everything that has joined in on the journey. While I have dipped my toes in sharing my story there is still so much to share.
I’ve always been hyperactive, bubbly and full of energy. I think that’s why it took so long for me to be diagnosed. I’ve always loved that I was fast paced and could do a million things at once. I didn’t think it was odd that I spoke a mile a minute and had the energy of a three-year-old, ALL DAY.
I loved getting up earlier, think 4/5 am and cooking up a storm. I think that was my hypomanic phase when I was in high school. When the slight depression phase did hit it was pretty mild, and I would lock myself up for the day and shut off from society. My insomnia has always been around ever since I could remember, my mom tells stories about trying to get me to bed when I was little and how hard it was. That I didn’t sleep through the entire night until I was two. I know, I have it cut out for me as payback when or if I have kids.
When I left for college to Florida I was looking for a fairytale relationship with my father that sadly was never gonna happen. It hit me like a pile of bricks when in October of my freshman year my dad and I had a fallout. That was the last time I saw him. I started to cover up my feelings with heavy drinking and late night partying. Self-medicating as best as I could. My restriction towards food was at its ultimate worse and I was miserable inside trying to cover it up in the outside.
When I went home for winter break, I begged my mom to let me stay, she thought it was just me being homesick and a mixture of the broken relationship with my dad.
I went back to school in January and kept up the late night partying with binge drinking and very little food. When I went home for spring break my mom noticed I wasn’t myself and took me to see my therapist at the time who recommend a psychiatrist. I was given anti-depressants and told everything would be okay.
It turns out you feed bipolar patient anti-depressants and nothing else you cause a manic episode so quick your head will break. I stopped sleeping, my OCD patterns were increasing and no one could keep up. I would clean my dorm room floor with a toothbrush at night to help the hours go by. I couldn’t stay still enough to watch tv.
You see at first it was fun not sleeping, yay more partying, after a while, people gotta sleep. My mom was visiting me for a week and finally understood that I was indeed not sleeping. Things got worse from there, I dropped to a very deep depressive hole and wouldn’t leave my bed. I stopped going to class, everything scared me, I wasn’t eating, showering, the blinds were always down and I wanted my room as dark as possible.
A friend of mine made me shower, by throwing me in, change and took me out to get food for the first time in days. A few days later I called my mom and told her I needed to go home.
I medically withdrew from school and was finally given the rightful diagnose. This time around I was told to take this, not do that, and keep to a schedule.
I was miserable and missed my sleepless, high paced mind. I just thought as long as I can convince the doctor to let me go back to schools everything will be alright. I didn’t comprehend the importance of it all.
I kept up the show and was allowed to go back to school in the fall, and honestly, I manipulated my way back to school. Sometimes I think that this time with my grandpa was a great learning experience to help me reflect on these times
I thought the medications they had me on was the reason behind my non-energetic mind and no point in life mindset. I stopped taking the medication without saying a word to anyone and continued going to school as if nothing.
Before I knew it, my mood swings were back, I was paranoid, and didn’t know what to do. I started taking the medication again, but it didn’t work. I decided to take things into my own hands and medicate myself with recreational drugs. I would smoke to calm down and snort to get up. It was all haze, I don’t remember how my last month in Florida was. Until I finally called my mom because I was hallucinating, I thank a friend for pushing me to do so. I am still working slowly on remembering these dark times.
My mom came to get me and was not expecting what she found. Her daughter was so lost in her own mind that she couldn’t connect with the world. I thought people were after me. I thought that if I gave them my blood they would leave me alone. I was in a dark Alice in Wonderland reality that wouldn’t stop.
I started to properly take the medication again, and things sadly were not improving, I was still full on psychotic, and couldn’t sleep for the life of me. I then became obsessed with getting a cat, a black cat to be more exact. The only thing that would calm me down was the thought of my cat, the one that was found and was waiting for me back in Panama.
I don’t remember flying back to Panama, I don’t remember Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years. I was a zombie and the world was passing me by.
I was hospitalized for the first time in January 2010. That was my life for the next few years until in 2014 after coming in and out of manic episodes I decided to try something new.
HOW I FINALLY RECEIVED HELP
I gave up on the traditional path, started seeing an orthomolecular psychiatrist, started therapy and really began to understand my illness.
I was still scared shitless, I thought that I would relapse and have another episode. I would love to say that it was easy but it wasn’t.
I was taught one thing for the last I don’t know how many years and basically had to throw all out the window and believe in something new. I was experiencing emotions for the first time in my life. I started to feel for the first time and actually understand what it was like to live. It was a bittersweet feeling, it was amazing because I wasn’t dead inside but it was also scary to know how much you can feel all at once.
I started to exercise for the first time for me and not the number on the scale. I started to really experience life.
It was all a little too much and soon my OCD and disordered eating tendencies started acting up. I started to deal with all the built up the emotion that was coming out by not eating or over exercising. I didn’t want to touch anything that wasn’t vegan or all natural/organic. I gave away all my expensive perfumes, makeup, lotion and more. I was finally enjoying going out with friends when the thought of the restaurant would bring me into an anxiety-filled state. I would research and see what the restaurant had in order to prepare myself. I would drive the chef crazy asking for a list of ingredients used to prepare the dish. I was getting to the point where everyone was annoyed and frustrated with my obsessive side.
Not only that but I was drinking alcohol after being told I could by my psychiatrist. I was again using alcohol as a way to control my feelings.
I didn’t know how to ask for help after finally having the one problematic area under control. I felt like I was a hypocrite.
Finally, I told my therapist the truth, and she thought it was time to address my issues with food and my dad and actually make peace with them. I went for a holistic approach to these issues as well. She also told me it was time to face the music, she told me that my problem with alcohol would always be there and I needed to realize that and prepare myself for what was coming.
I found a great holistic nutritionist/ eating disorder coach who was able to help change my mindset around food. I stopped living a label food eating regimen and started to listen to my body.
It was hard, I felt guilty about eating certain foods, I would eat something new and then restrict out of punishment.
It took a while, and months after I was finally in a place where it wasn’t so difficult. Food stopped being the enemy, my moods were finally in a peaceful place and I was learning to live life.
It wasn’t overnight and I have to say there are still days when there is a lot going on and I have to remember to connect myself with my emotions and not turn to old behaviors to deal with everything.
About two years ago I read an article about how healing cannabis can be. YES. CANNABIS. I did a shit load of research before approaching my therapist and asking her thoughts. We talked about it for a few months and after coming to a realistic conclusion, she said yes and also made a huge emphasis on being honest with myself.
The one promise I made before was that I would not use cannabis as I had in the past, this time it was a way to enhance my life, not hide from it.
I started to use cannabis as a way to further balance out my mood and improve my sleep.
I continue to evolve and find new things that can help or slightly upset my mood and health.
I’m not a computer, I’m human and there are things that make me sad, angry, happy and energetic. I’m still scared at times that I will relapse and once again go back to the manic episode rollercoaster. Then I realize it’s about to be over five years and I’ve been able to overcome tons of traumatic experiences and all while following my passion and sharing my story.
Trust me, I’ve been there. I know how hard it can be, how angry you can feel. Frustrated at life and basically wondering why me.
The only thing I can say is, your special, you are unique and that makes you beautiful. I am grateful that I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I feel like I have a special edge in life and see things in a different light. I consider myself lucky.