Why did God make me Bipolar?

Recently, my therapist has me working on a project: I have to find myself to discover what I should do as a career choice. Of course, she ends it with “it’s the journey, not the end result.”

Sounds like fun to me…maybe.

Last night I started by writing down my beliefs. I realized that I fundamentally believe many different things, but one belief I discovered really helps me cope with managing being bipolar.

My Belief: We all serve a purpose (or many) no matter how small. God gives you obstacles in life to learn from, so that you can use that knowledge towards your main purpose in life. Our choices ultimately lead to a purpose or destiny in our life, but what we choose will dictate how easy or difficult our life will be on our path of life.

So, I wrote this all down last night, but today I question whether it is right. I always do that to myself. Of course, it is just my belief! I’m not even sure it is right, but I started forming this belief right after I was first diagnosed. It really helped me face my diagnosis and make amends with God. I was so angry with him at first and even questioned my faith.

I kept thinking why would this bad thing happen to me, who is basically a good person? Through the years, I have found that my struggles with bipolar disorder must have some purpose.

I know college years and my years as a teacher made me struggle so much with the disorder. I even struggled with wanting to tell my students, their parents, and my colleagues that I manage my bipolar disorder everyday, but I never did. My colleagues and the administration didn’t even know I was bipolar. The possible repercussions like lawsuits scared the crap out of me. I made the choice to stand by and not tell my students who needed someone to talk to. They needed to talk to an adult who knew what they were going through and was there for them. Even give them proof that they can have a normal life and have a mental illness.

 I was there for them, but not. It literally pained me to stand by and watch those students be treated like less important than other students. So much so, that I had a mixed episode and had to take a month off of work to return back to a stable level. I’ll never forget the day I returned to work to help the subs in the middle of my leave. One such student who was severly depressed and trying to finish her senior year was so hurt about my leave of absence that she said, “Why did you leave me when I needed you the most?” I lied and told her it was severe stomach ulcers and left the class to literally brake down in the teacher’s lounge, and then I left.   I regret not telling her the truth every day, but could I tell her? What happened to her after she graduated?

Now that I’m not teaching, I really want to do something to help those students I saw suffer from depression and bipolar disorder. The school system is so corrupt when it comes to helping students with mental disorders and protection from bullying. I don’t know how to go about doing so, but I think speaking out against the stigma and bullying is one of my many purposes in my life.

Advertisements

“Just Watch the Thoughts”

“Your mind is not you, it is a tool that likes to make you think it is you…just watch the thoughts. Look at them–they fade in your light.”

Whoa

Very deep and …weird.

Words that can mean so much or be just taken as absurd and ignored.  I’d like to say I wrote that, but I really don’t know. I found it in my handwriting on a scrap piece of paper in the binder I  started when I started this blog. It’s too profound to be by me. Too deep. Too thoughtful. Too unlike me too. I’m guessing I found it somewhere, wrote it down, and forgot in my haste to say who it was from. So, I’m sorry if I stole it from anyone. Please feel free to yell at me. 🙂

So, since we are on the topic of this interesting passage, I feel like analyzing it in my own way.

                                             “Your mind is not your own…”

Taking just this phrase, I’m already torn. How can your mind be someone else’s?

               Of course it can. That is what your therapist keeps on trying to get you to realize. Isn’t it? You live for everyone else. Never yourself.

                                   But that is not the same thing. I still have a choice, so my mind is still my own.

               Do you?

                                   Moving on! Don’t go there right now.

                                                            “…it is a tool that likes to make you think it is you…”

I’m drawn to “tool”. I keep thinking someone tried to explain this to me and said that your mind is like your heart. They are both tools in the fact that the heart is used to pump blood throughout your body just like your mind is used to control the body’s functions.

                                     But the mind is different than the brain.

                       How so?

                                      The mind is like your soul. Something you can’t touch or examine, but it is there.

                        Why can’t you examine the mind?

                                      I mean physically. You can’t rip the mind out like you can the heart or the brain.

                           I think people will disagree with that, and you should too. You know how much your medicine helps you keep your mind rational. Obviously, the brain and the mind are connected.

                                       Connected. Yes, but not one in the same.

                                                                             “…just watch the thoughts…”

Thoughts are definately important to me. How I’m thinking. What I’m thinking. When I’m thinking. The speed of which I’m thinking. How many levels am I thinking. The intensity level of what I’m thinking. All important.

                          How do you have time to think about all that and have time to think of something?

                                              Good question. Next!

                                                                         “…Look at them…”

               All right. Did that.

                                                                          “…they fade in your light.”

   I don’t know about you, but that was anticlimatic for me. Now I need explanation here. To me, this passage starts strong, but totally craps out at the end. I feel like I was listening to Mozart and it was replaced with Vanilla Ice.

                                           I’m sure others would disagree! It wasn’t that bad.

                    Really? You could have fooled me, because it smells really bad in here.

Okay, so what did I get out of this passage as a whole?

                   I seriously need to seek psychiatrict help. Because if I did write this, my mind was not my own. It was obviously taken over by something that wants me to go into the light.

                                       That is NOT funny! Be serious! This is serious shit.

                    Ha, ha, ha! I can’t breathe! Hold up…okay. I’ll be serious. Seriously, I’m serious.

Thank you to the two people who are actually reading this. I had my fun for the night by writing my actual thoughts while analyzing this passage.

Leave a comment to scold my naughty half.

Duals

“If I Pop Some Pills…”

I was going to write a blog about how I think Hilary Smith’s “Welcome to the Jungle” is so great now that I finished it, but even though it really is good, I can’t stop thinking about “ifs.” I’m sure I just confused you. Heck, I’m really confused right now. I have been having stomach pain and now I’m going in for a CT Scan tomorrow to see what might be wrong.  “MIGHT” is the key word. I’m sure it is nothing. It will turn out to be no big deal, but what “if”…

I’m scared of what it could be, but we’ll see.

I keep thinking of when I was first diagnosed as bipolar. I remember actually being happy about my diagnosis. I remember thinking, “That’s it. That’s what’s wrong with me? Well, at least that is managable. I’m not going to remain crazy for the rest of my life. If I pop some pills, I’ll be fine.” Well, my knowledge about bipolar disorder has changed over the years, but I still return to that girl in the psych ward during college winter break every now and then. I was naive, but in a way I took it rather well. I guess I probably overidentified with the diagnosis (Hilary Smith talks about that), but because I latched on to it like a raft in the stormy seas I felt stranded in at that moment in time, I think it truly helped me successfully remain psychotic free for over ten years.

So, how am I going to respond to this next diagnosis? Am I going to say, “That’s it? I can just pop some pills and I’ll not be crazy anymore.”

Dear God! I hope so!

Dying to Help People

I’ve told you before that my psychiatrists and therapists have told me that even my bipolar disorder is abnormal because I maintain a certain level of control and awareness even when I’m psychotic. Well, now I understand it a lot better after reading a section in Hilary Smith’s “Welcome to the Jungle.”

In chapter two, she talks about insight during psychosis…”insight means the ability to recognize when your behavior and thought patterns are coming from your mental illness as opposed to your regular self.” There are three levels: totally unaware, in and out with knowing but still insisting you are right, and aware no one understands what you are experiencing.

Wow, now this is starting to make more sense to me. Near the beginning of my last manic to psychotic episode, I was reliving my past because I wanted to write a book about my experinces with bipolar disorder. Well, I was obviously hypomanic for a long time while I was going through a med change. I started seeing my therapist and busted out in tears when she asked me about my first hospitalization. I went through all the stages of grief again in her office, so at the end she explained I was most likely suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My first hospitalization was that horrible.

My hypomania was fueled when I delved into my research again about PTSD instead of just bipolar disorder. I stepped onto a rocket ship and watched myself soar. In less than a weeks time, I stopped being able to easily fall asleep and my sleep was heavily interrupted. I called my psychiatrist to tell her that I was having problems, but the immediate change of medication did not help. After one night of absolutely no sleep, I believed I had to subject myself to the hospitalization system again to overcome my PTSD.

Okay, so that sounds reasonable right? Well, the psychosis was setting in at an alarming rate because when my husband woke up that morning, I also felt I had to become a martyr, so that no one else with bipolar disorder ever had to go through the hell I went through when I was first diagnosed. I honestly thought I had to die to help people.

Because I was facing my fears of hospitalization, I literally could feel my control disappearing faster and faster. My speech and thought processes were so fast, people had a hard time understanding me. My adrenaline was pumping. Thank God for my husband because he literally had to translate what I was saying to the doctors because I was mixing my present situation with what happened to me when I was first diagnosed. My insight was still there as I tried to express my thoughts. I knew I needed help right away before it could get any worse.

Problem #1: What is this bullshit about not medicating me right away to knock me out so I could sleep? Sleep is the biggest help when you are suffering from a psychotic episode. The longer I was awake, the more restless, psychotic, detached, angry, nervous, paranoid, violent, etc. I became. I don’t give a damn that it takes so long to do the paper work, arrange for a bed, see your actual psychiatrist who will treat you while you are in the hospital. There is no excuse why I went until seven o’clock that night before they had to give me a large syringe of a sedative to put me out. My adrenaline and mania were at such an extreme level that the lights burned my eyes and the lightest touch felt like knives sticking into me. It didn’t make sense that I had to wait from seven that morning to seven that night to get the help I needed to sleep.

Well, I could tell you all the other problems I experienced this time around again, but in reality it was a lot better than the first time I was hospitalized. I learned a lot about myself and the disorder. I’m also learning a lot from Hilary’s book, so I’ll keep reading it and let you know. I suspect she might not have been hospitalized before though. She talks about hospitalization very negatively, which I don’t agree. I believe that the “theory” of it can be very important for some people to experience as long as the patient is open to the help. Before this last hospitalization, I would have never said that. Now, the pain I experienced in 1999 is healing because of going through the trauma all over again in 2009. Hospital procedures still have a long way to go before they treat us like humans though. We need to do something about that.

Please comment about your experiences.

Duals

Telling It Like It Is

Okay, so I told you in my last post that I’m reading Hilary Smith’s “Welcome to the Jungle: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Bipolar but were too Freaked Out to Ask.” Well, I have to explain why I find her hilarious…she tells it like it is!

I’ve read MANY books on bipolar disorder, but her book reads like she is literally right there with you at the hospital after you just find out your diagnosis. You’re sitting there shell shocked and here comes another bipolar patient letting you know what it is really like, not just what the trained staff tells you. This girl KNOWS, but you also realize she’s about to be discharged because she is well enough to leave the hospital. Damn. Just when you make a new friend…

This part of her book that I totally identified with and thought was hilarious was the section about first being diagnosed in her first chapter.

                   “Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder is akin to waking up after a wild night of intoxication to discover that at some point during your (fuzzily remembered) antics, you went and got a tattoo on your bicep. Not just any tattoo–you got a big old snake-eating-a-unicorn tattoo. That sucker’s six inches high and three across. It’s kind of badass, kind of hideous. You stare at it in shock. You vaguely remember going to the tattoo parlor, but why?! You frantically think back to the chain of events that might have led up to you getting a tattoo of a snake eating a unicorn. You feel guilt, anger, embarrassment, denial, nausea–the whole ride. Eventually you realize you’re going to have to live with this thing for the rest of your life, and from here on, your attitude towards your new tat is entirely up to you.”

Beautiful imagery! She nailed it! I just had to share it with you because I guess I’m the type to overidentify with my bipolar disorder. I’m proud of my snake-eating-a-unicorn tattoo…now. I use to be totally ashamed of it. I still am in certain company, so I wear long sleeves when around them. The stigma is there, but eventually I’m going to wear a tank top around them (figuratively speaking)…it will just take time.

So, what do you think? How do you feel about your tattoo? ...COMMENT!…

Maybe I’m Not Okay

There. That’s more me. I changed the appearance of this blog.

I’m doing something different tonight. I’m free writing and typing away directly onto wordpress. I usually write my blogs out long hand first, then type it onto word, then after many revisions, copy it on a post, but that takes too long. I’m finally really tired, but I want to say hi to everyone that might follow me. I haven’t written in a while. I’ve been really busy. I’m not depressed, but I teeter from stable to hypomanic lately. Tonight, I’m suffering from the affects of a Monster I drank this morning, so that is why I’m still up at 1am. I know I should not drink Monster, but I crave the taste of it. 🙂

Lately, I’ve been thinking more about bipolar disorder, myself, and the world. It’s probably because I’m reading a new book about bipolar disorder that I find interesting, hilarious and …can you believe it….a page turner. Hilary Smith’s “Welcome to the Jungle” is great. If you’re bipolar, you should read it…wait, maybe I should finish it first before I say anything. I’m only on Chapter 4, so don’t crucify me if you start it and then think I’m “crazy” for liking it. LOL…I used the word “crazy”.

Okay, so maybe I’m not okay. I better go to bed before I’m too wound up to go to sleep. Please comment. I love to hear what people think about everything.

Good night!