Bipolar 1 by Mary E
What is that?
From what I understand, it is the most extreme bipolar disorder.
How does it affect you?
I go from one emotional extreme to the other in the blink of an eye. I can be happy one minute, sad the next and wanting to attack people the next. When I am happy, it can last for minutes, hours, days or even weeks. When I am angry and I feel the rage consume me, it usually lasts longer than any other emotion. I have cried for 3-4 days straight. My highs are the exact opposite of the rage. I am happy, always laughing and talking and I cant sit still or sleep or even think straight. If I try to text or communicate online, nothing makes sense and I can not spell. I hate driving during those times because I seem to want to drive to fast and occasionally I can't even concentrate. Being at home alone can be a real negative. I am always waiting to go to work, because, even though I am alone, I have something there that always keeps my mind busy.
"I had a major episode of rage and scarred myself so bad,
I went directly to my room and locked the door and called
my insurance carrier to recommend a psychiatrist"
About 7 years
How long did it take to get diagnosed?
I had a major episode of rage and scarred myself so bad I went directly to my room and locked the door and called my insurance carrier to recommend a psychiatrist. I called them to make the appointment and at first they did not want to see me for a few weeks. When I told them why I needed to be seen right away, they made the appointment for first thing the following morning. So, within 24 hours I was diagnosed.
How did you feel when you were diagnosed?
Relieved, because now, I had a name and description of what was wrong with me.
Have you ever been hospitalized due to your condition?
"locking myself in my room away from the people I love and don't want to hurt"
Very good for the most part.
What treatment if any are you undertaking?
None at the moment, I got a divorce and lost my insurance. Now that I'm on my own insurance I went to the doctor to get a referral and hope to be back under Dr care very soon. It's getting worse and I'm not able to control it alone.
Does your treatment have any negative side effects?
When I was being treated, life was so much better.
Have you tried any other treatments?
Yes, locking myself in my room away from the people I love and don't want to hurt. It doesn't work.
"My kids don’t have much to do with me anymore. My marriage
ended for several reasons...my bipolar was one of them"
Yes I did.
Did any of your family or friends have a negative reaction?
None that they shared with me.
Have you lost any friends or family due to your mental health issues?
Yes, many. I lost my boyfriend because of it. My kids don’t have much to do with me anymore. My marriage ended for several reasons...my bipolar was one of them.
Do you think your family and friends understand your condition?
I think they say they understand, but when my rage hurts them they retreat or leave my life. I have some friends from my school days that I have just recently started communicating with again and funny thing is, it was the bipolar disorder that got us talking again.
"I don’t see myself as a victim, of some unknown monster
inside my brain anymore. I know what it is and I try to roll with
the waves in order to keep my life as calm as possible"
Yes, if they are going to be a part of my life in any way for more than a few hours or a day, I think they need to know.
If so, what kind of reaction do you usually get?
There are usually no outward reactions from them.
Do you think people perceive you differently once they know of your mental health issues?
I think those that have known me and my many moods now understand what has been wrong with me all these years, but I don’t think they see me as some two headed monster.
Do you feel your mental health has an impact on your self-esteem?
"I want to make the best of the rest of my life, because now I know what's wrong and I need to make up for all the time lost sitting in my chair, hiding from life"
Actually yes, it is. Before I knew the diagnosis, I was always depressed, even when I was on the high end, because I did not know why my moods were so crazy and extreme. Now that I know, I choose to wake up every day and be happy. When the rage consumes me, it's not happening without a conscious fight.
I don’t see myself as a victim , of some unknown monster inside my brain anymore. I know what it is and I try to roll with the waves in order to keep my life as calm as possible. No, it doesn't always work, but being without treatment for over two years has taught me that I either have to do what I can, or lay down and give in to it. THAT IS NOT HAPPENING.
What’s important to you when you’re struggling?
Trying to stay as calm as I possibly can. Trying to keep my senses, but that doesn't really work when the rage consumes me. My ex-boyfriend told me some of the things I have said to him and these things I do not remember.
What keeps you going?
Honestly, everything and nothing at all. I love life and I want to live it as fully as I possibly can. Like I said before, my family has pretty much closed me out, but I still have me. And I want to make the best of the rest of my life, because now I know what's wrong and I need to make up for all the time lost sitting in my chair, hiding from life.