Outside Looking In
My Life With Bi-Polar Illness
I was so angry and irritable, often for no reason.
And then, a few hours later, I would be content and happy. But through it
all, an evil monster was lurking named depression. He was always there,
ready to pounce, and would squelch any other emotion I was feeling at the
time, good or bad. I later learned this turn of events to be an “episode”
of mixed moods.
I felt like I was on the outside looking in,
because I knew nothing was provoking me to be angry, and there was no
obvious reason to be depressed, but still, I was. Outside the glazed wall
of this illness and inside the hopeful part of my mind, I could see a life
filled with happiness and contentment and most of all, hope. I felt the
guilt of being sullen and angry and taking out my emotions on others.
Inside was where I wanted to be. Safe, comfortable, stable and most of
all, back to feeling myself again. Happy, hopeful and positive. It was
within my reach, but what was stopping me from getting there?
I had left an abusive marriage a year ago and I
thought I was fine. I was free of the abuse, the control, the rage, the
everything But a year later, starting to surface, were feelings of
inadequacy, low self-esteem, major depression and alot of anger. I had to
do something, before I lost my job or drove my family and friends away, so
I started therapy.
The first few sessions were great. I was lucky to
find a very understanding and intelligent counselor who would ask me
questions to make me think and help me to release what was built up inside
of me. She would draw out the bad, and helped me to feel positive about
the future. She helped me to learn that being angry was OK..it was when
you let it spill over to other people and things that it was not OK. But
the mood swings...oh the mood swings. Where were they coming from, and
why?? It was time to have my current medication reevaluated, because it
seemed to have run it’s course, and just wasn’t doing the trick anymore.
So my next visit was to the psychiatrist. Hopefully, she would be able to
tell me about these awful mood swings and how to fix things.
“I would say that you have something along the
lines of Bi-Polar II, which is like manic depression, only on a lower
scale”. That was my psychiatrists’ diagnosis. And I can’t say I was in
total shock when she said it. I knew something was wrong with me...my
thoughts...and my moods.
I was angry and irritable most of the time, and
when I wasn’t, I was depressed. Thrown in amongs these “mixed moods” were
hours or days of happiness and contentment. I am Bi-Polar. And I know
I’m going to be ok.
But it’s going to take alot of understanding and
alot of time.
On on hand, I was relieved to know that what I had
through had a
name...a definition. I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t
imagining it. It
too real. And it was effecting everyone around me,
at home, at
My first question to the doctor was what do I do to
help myself? “Medication, to help level out the mood swings”. So I was
put on a mood stabilizer. For the depression? “Prozac”. So I was put on
Prozac. And more counseling.
Where I am on my journey to wholeness: It’s only
been a few weeks since I’ve been diagnosed. I’m still trying to come to
terms with knowing that my mind doesn’t work the way it’s meant to. I
worry about people finding out and the stigma attached to mental illness.
I’m worried about being treated differently or unfairly should the “wrong”
person find out. I’m worried about the medicine and the potential side
effects. But most of all, I worry about hurting the ones I love. I hate
to see them see me go through this.
I don’t want them to worry about me. But I know
they will anyway. They’re family, and they love me. I have a good support
system. And those close to me that know of my illness have been more than
I will do more than just survive this illness...I
plan to thrive with it!