Michelle Washam

The Story of my life

I was raised in a small town. I graduated with all the people I started Kindergarten with. Everyone knew me. Which made this so much more difficult. I thought I was normal girl, a little shy at first, but then became more outgoing with age. But around 16 things seemed a little weird to people around me. I was talking fast, jumping from subject to subject, a lot of people thought I was on drugs, when I wasnít. It started in the spring of 1998. I went to a girlfriends house to stay the night and together we took a whole bottle of Sudafed. We stayed up all night and I had so much energy. I was so high, I tried to walk 40 miles on a highway to get back together with a guy I didnít really care for. I walked about a mile then someone who knew me drove by and picked me up. They couldnít believe they found me doing that. My parents werenít home so I had them take me to my parents friends house. It was closer to my destination so I figured Iíd continue my walk from there. But the lady was home and insisted on taking me home. It was a good thing she did. Well, this incident alerted my parents, but not enough. The next weekend I was allowed to go back to her house for a slumber party. Apparently this girl was more messed up then I was at the time, that night she tried to drug and kill me and one other girl. And this is no joke, she had rat poison and some of her fathers meds (he was manic-depressive) into a Pepsi, her brother made her throw it away. I found out by a letter the girl with her wrote. This really freaked me out, can you imagine? This girl was suppose to be my best friend. So my parents put me in therapy and I was dxed as having a anxiety disorder and given some medication. This was just the beginning though.

The next August 1998 I turned 17. My cousins took me out to the lake to go swimming. It was an innocent outing till some older guys stopped by to hit on us. One, the cutest one, focused his attention on me. They invited us back to there campsite and started giving us beer. I wanted to be cool, this terrible need of mine to be as cool as this one cousin of mine. To make a long story short, he took my innocence that day. Right there in the lake. This one particular cousin I mentioned should have known I didnít want this. She should have known I was drunk. She even asked me ďAre you two F******?Ē and I couldnít answer her. And you know what she did? She laughed and took off in a boat with my other cousin and some other guys. Whatís funny is I had a boyfriend at the time, he was at the same lake in a different spot on the same day/time. I wouldnít even have kissed this guy sober. Well, he was 23 so in the least it was statutory rape. But I felt so guilty I covered it up. Even saw him a month later and he invited me back to his place, but I said no. Two months later I confessed to my parents, but only after I was caught with another guy. Iím going to take a step back. After the rape I thought, what was the point of waiting till I was married now? I got in another relationship, and after a while, we started having sex. I really loved this guy. He was sweet and cute and a musician. Then I was caught going to his house by my dad and I wanted to avoid talking about Scott I told them about the rape. The month of November is pretty much a blur to me. I got in a fight at school with this girl, fist fight. Tried to run her over with my car. Then after that I ran away to live with Scott. His parents lived in another state so I convinced him to take us there. On our way there though, I decided we needed to go to the mall. I got caught shoplifting. This made the police call my parents and I was brought home again. Did I mention that I spray painted my car so the police wouldnít be able to identify my car, even tried to alter the letters of my licesence plate? My parents had me go to the police. And then it was December. Scott broke up with me which sent me into a manic state. I barely slept, couldnít concentrate in school, had grandiose ideas, racing thoughts and speech. It scared my parents. They kept talking to our family doctor till one day he suggested putting me in Charter for the depressed person. I had a cold, my parents told me they were taking me to the hospital so I thought a regular hospital. But when I got there, I knew it was not the right kind of hospital. I looked around the waiting room till I found a flyer. 12 ways to tell if your teenager was depressed, something like that, then I knew. It was mental hospital. I went to the bathroom and cried and got really angry at my parents for tricking me. They felt bad, but they knew they had to do it. A half hour later I went to talk to someone, getting ďassessedĒ for the first time. Not sure how long it took. First they talked to my parents, then to me. I became really angry and then started to feel bugs crawling on my arms. The lady decided I needed to stay. I was put on a 51-50 suicide watch. The next day I learned of my diagnoses and became taking pills. I was told I have bipolar. It stunned me. I cried, and cried and cried. I thought my life was over. I was in this hospital for eleven days. A lot happened in there and I became attached to a lot of the other patients. When I left I was on a cocktail of zyprexa, depakote, and paxil. One month later I changed the paxil to welbutrin. Well, the next two years were trial and error in finding the right meds and the right man for me. Funny thing is I found the right meds at the same time as I found the right man. I started taking ativan, lithium, tegretol and wellbutrin. Then me and my man got married. 6 months later I got sick of condoms and started taking birth control, no one mentioned to me that tegretol has a very bad interaction with birth control, it makes it ineffective, so I got pregnant. Went off all my meds in Sept 2001. My pregnancy went really well. Even with stopping the meds cold turkey, I was fine. Happy, healthy and hopeful to maybe not have to back on them. Such a different reality after my baby was born.

After a month it was apparent to my husband and my family that I was manic, but, not to me. And I loved breast-feeding so I didnít want to go back on meds. Almost ruined my marriage. If I hadnít gone back on meds when I did, Iím certain bipolar wouldíve ruined my marriage. Well, not this time. I went back on lithium first then wellbutrin and xanax. I refused tegretol, I didnít like it, but it turned out I was better off without it. I now have been back on meds for a year and half. A few little depressions but Iím deffinatly better. One thing I hate about this illness is the uncertainty. Will I still be okay tomorrow? Will I be manic? Will I be depressed? I guess thatís why they say to take it a day at a time.Well, there are so many details Iíve left out. Like, Iíve been in the hospital 3 other times. The suicide attempts. All the med changes, increases, decreases. How it has effected my family. The friends Iíve lost. The time Iíve wasted. I havenít gone to college. I know I could, and still might.

Michelle Washam 11-10-04


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