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 been going

through had a

name...a definition.  I wasn’t crazy.  I wasn’t imagining it.  It

was all

too real.  And it was effecting everyone around me, at home, at

work, alone,

 

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 supportive.

I will do more than just survive this illness...I plan to thrive with it!

 

 

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Allie Bloom, David Schafer, M.Ed. (Blackdog)
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