Tigger, Eeyore, and Bipolar Disorder

I love this because it’s so true.

I have type 2 bipolar disorder with rapid cycling and mixed features. Due to the rapid cycling and, when I was first diagnosed, the raging teenage hormones that already make a teen moody, I could spend an hour in a manic state then go into a depressive one. It’s kind of really scary. When I went to bed (when I slept) I really did wonder, in my eyes at the time, “who” I was going to be when I woke up the next day.

It’s a horrible feeling that no one should have deal with. But not knowing if it’s going to be Tigger or Eeyore making the decisions for you on any given day is just one of the many realities of living with bipolar disorder.

Epiphanies

I’d just like to start this off by saying this post talks about my religious beliefs and I apologize if that makes you uncomfortable. I would also like to make sure you’re aware that I won’t judge anyone for their beliefs, whether you’re Buddhist, Muslim, any form of atheism, and so on, because no matter what you’re still a person and entitled to your own belief system. But that’s not the reason for this post, so here it goes.

Have you ever had an “Ah-ha” moment, where something just seems to click and certain things start making sense? Last Sunday I had one of those moments.

I was at church and something my preacher said made me recognize it was when I was at my worst, when I thought the God I was raised to believe in me had abandoned me, that He was carrying me through the hell I was living in. I used to write every night (all night) and for a while, when things began to get really bad, I even wrote down my prayers. I would beg God to help me, to help me get better, to take away all of the pain and suffering I was going through and save me from my mind, or save me from me. When things seemed to continually get worse I started losing my faith because why would this great and powerful God allow one of the children He’s supposed to love go through so much pain? Despite this I still held onto Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Eventually, when I thought I couldn’t go on any longer, when I was ready to end it all, my psychiatrist determined that I had bipolar disorder, called me on my bullshit, and found a combination of medications that kept me mostly stable. He also found an amazing therapist who I clicked with immediately. With their helped I defied all odds. I somehow managed to graduate high school, hold down a job, and, even though I have to go part time to be successful, I’m going to college and for the most part I’m doing well at it despite working full time and dealing with my mental illnesses.

When I was at church that Sunday it hit me that even though my prayers weren’t answered the way I expected or wanted, they were still answered. He is the reason I found the perfect people to help me, He is the reason I was able to survive, He carried me through and gave me strength when I was at my weakest. All that time that I thought He wasn’t there or that He didn’t care it was Him who kept me alive.

I love the Footprints poem and feel as though it really relates to what I went through.

“The Lord replied, ‘My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.'”

Carrie Fisher: An Inspiration

Carrie Fisher was, and is, a huge inspiration to me. She taught me many things while I was struggling to come to terms with my illness and realizing what it meant for my life. She added a bit of humor to the seriousness of having bipolar disorder. She never sugarcoated it.

In my life I want to be at least half the person that she was. I learned that it’s okay to talk about it, that it’s not something you should be ashamed of. Society tells us that if you have bipolar disorder then you’re crazy, violent, just moody, and so on. We let their words shame us into silence but the ironic thing is, the only way to change what they say and how we’re viewed is if we do talk about it.

I took a speech class about two years ago, public speaking is probably one of the scariest things in the world. In this class we had to give an “informative speech.” So I did something that both shocked and terrified me, I made the speech about bipolar disorder. At one point I told them some of my story because it’s one thing to hear all the facts and it’s another to listen to someone who actually experienced it. To my surprise, there were very few dry eyes in that classroom by the time I was done.

Then I ended up doing my persuasive speech on mental health stigma. After this both my professor and our office for student’s with disabilities coordinator both suggested I tweak it a little bit and give the speech to more students at the school. About a year ago I did just that and now this semester I’m going to do it again but to more students than we did last time. Things that Carrie Fisher said have stuck with me through this, and I’ve even mentioned some of them in my speeches.

It’s not easy to live with bipolar disorder, to take medications multiple times a day, get bloodwork done every six months, and constantly pay attention to your moods and try to determine if you’re having a “normal mood” or a “bipolar mood.” It’s exhausting but despite all that there’s a lot of good that comes out of, making all of the upkeep worth it.

At the end of it all you need to proud of yourself if you’re living with this illness and functioning, like she said we deserve a damn medal for it. Speak up and talk about it like Carrie Fisher did, don’t sugarcoat it, help people understand what life is like for us. We’re survivors and we shouldn’t be ashamed of it.

Even in her death Carrie Fisher continues to make an impact within the mental health community.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to speak up. ❤

Trying to Describe My Cycles

Those of you out there with bipolar disorder probably understand what I mean.

My therapist recently asked me how i know that I’m about to cycle. I honestly didn’t know how to answer. There can be little clues, subtle changes, warning signs that you’re going into a manic phase or a depressive phase. For some reason they’re so hard to explain to someone. Like for mania, it could be you’re getting more and more restless or starting to talk faster or mind is more scattered than usual or your brain-to-mouth filter is slipping, etc. Then there’s depression, you start to notice your becoming more lethargic or starting to lose interest in things you find enjoyable or, similar to subtle manic changes, your thinking patterns start to change, etc.

But how do you explain it when you get thrown into a manager position, working 7 days a week and 73 hours a week as well? This is bound to cause similar changes even in someone without bipolar disorder. So how do you explain in this type of situation that you still know you’re starting to cycle again without it sounding like “normal” things people would feel in this situation.

Living with bipolar disorder and trying to explain the subtle warning signs as well as determining whether something is a “normal mood change” or a “bipolar mood change” can be the most frustrating thing in the world.

Introductions

Thank you for coming and visiting my blog. This is the first time I’ve ever created one so bear with me as I figure all of this out.

A little bit about me:

I have type 2 bipolar disorder (bipolar depression) and multiple anxiety disorders.

I’m a psych major in college. I have a passion for helping people, especially those who are constantly battling with their own mind.

My animals (2 dogs, 2 cats, and a snake) + music +reading= my therapy outside of therapy

I will never pretend that I’m always 100% and that I don’t still struggle will my illnesses nor will I act as though stigma doesn’t still make me nervous.

I’m going to use this blog to share my story, day-to-day issues, positive and encouraging posts for those struggling, mental health “fun facts “, etc. because I want to make sure that you’re aware and never forget that you’re not alone in this fight.