I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder when I was 16 years old. I started to notice changes in the way I felt, obsessing about things that shouldn’t matter, becoming irritable at the drop of the hat and energy levels on a drastic rollercoaster of highs and lows. I seemed to be in my head, my mind always spinning round and round, racing thoughts and bouts of self-harming thoughts. Half the time I felt like a drone on autopilot and the other times I was manic to the extreme. I was confused, what was happening to me?
As I began to become really aware of the changes I was experiencing, family members that were closest to me began mentioning the changes that they saw in my behavior too. It was then that my mother scheduled a doctor appointment.
My mother and I went to the appointment, both a little nervous, but my mom was holding it together well. When we walked into the office and sat down, and it was then and there that my world changed forever. Question after question, my psychiatrist shot them off like she was filling out a multiple choice questionnaire. Maybe she was. It was after forty-five minutes of questioning, she told my mother and I that she believed that I had bipolar disorder. I would need to be on medication to limit the episodes.
I had no clue what that even meant, how could you be something that you know nothing about? My mother asked some questions, but I think she was in such shock that she didn’t even know what to ask.
We walked out of the office with a couple of pamphlets about bipolar disorder and a prescription for some medication that I can’t remember now. I didn’t know what to expect and the pamphlets were hard to understand, they needed a decoder.
We got the prescription filled, but my mother said we would need to learn more about it before we made a final decision. I remember going home and looking up all of the words that were in the pamphlet that I didn’t understand. I looked for any information I could find, other people like me that were confused and scared. After hours of scouring the internet, I found nothing. No support groups, no answers, nothing, did others like me even exist? Now, I was even more alone than before.
Fast forward thirteen years. After thirteen years of searching for answers and other individuals like me. After thirteen years of medication and dosage changes and a revolving door of therapists, I still deal with the daily struggle of taking control of my thoughts and emotions, trying to maintain some sort of normalcy.
I’m here to tell you that if you suffer from mental illness, you are not alone. I find nourishment by writing about my experiences and sharing them with others, Helping others that continually struggle like I do. To stop the stigma around mental illness and encourage the world to embrace individuality and support those with the disease as opposed to turning away from mental illness. If we work together to share our stories, the world will have no choice but to listen and with the world’s understanding, we will find freedom in or from our illnesses.
Cheers to sharing our stories and breaking the stigma around mental illness!
I can be contacted via my blog, www.mentalhealthandmotherhood.
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