Recently I decided to write a new blog – all things bipolar! This is my first entry in which I plan to outline my goals for this blog and of course introduce myself. It took me years to come to terms with my diagnosis of bipolar disorder, after several bouts of mania, hypomania, bipolar depression and even manic induced psychosis. I felt like the diagnosis labelled me as something “less than” and I really struggled with the concept that I have bipolar disorder but I am not my illness. I am so many more things than my illness: a lover, a fighter, a writer, a journalist and an avid gym goer (thought I would throw that one in there). It was hard to look past the label of a lifelong affliction with a mental disorder. It was hard to look past the fact that my brain worked on a level abnormal to the so called norm. However, a very small part of me was kind of elated because my life and its constant ups and downs finally had context – the cycle of mania and depression.
My intention with this blog is to educate more than anything on the personal side of bipolar disorder and the struggle one might face coming to terms with this illness, monitoring it, and hopefully, ultimately living your best healthy life while living with this affliction (which I am still getting a hang of!). This blog is also an opportunity for me to learn more about the disorder and the people who struggle with it. I intend to follow as many blogs written by bipolar people about bipolar and other mental health issues they may face. I also intend to research the disorder more thoroughly in hopes to further my knowledge and my reader’s on the topic.
Now about me:
My first serious manic episode occurred when I was transitioning into my final year at Carleton University. I had my first manic episode with psychosis and experienced my first ever hospitalization. I hallucinated a memory that I had been raped two years ago and truly believed in my delusional thinking that it was true. I also had paranoid and delusional thoughts centering around the company LaSenza which I was writing an expose on. I thought they were watching me via my webcam and were “on to me.” Lithium helped me come to my senses but left me with a feeling of apathy towards life and an inability to focus on my studies at the time. I returned home to the Niagara region and shortly after experienced my first serious bipolar depression where I laid in bed on average sixteen hours of the day. I developed a sense of anxiety towards the world and ultimately became an agoraphobic for months, not leaving the house and rarely using the front door.
Two antidepressants, Wellbutrin and Cipralex, led to me gradually leaving the house and becoming social once again. However, the combination of the two medications without a mood stabilizer (as I weaned off lithium) resulted in my second full blown episode of mania. I had mainly delusional thoughts in which I thought I was a celebrity with millions of dollars. I offered to buy all my friends cars and even tried ordering a bunch of mustangs by calling a Ford dealership from the hospital phone since I was ultimately hospitalized again. My psychiatrist prescribed lithium once again which resulted in a hard come down where I was extremely embarrassed by my actions. This time around thought I did not have a bipolar depression following my bout of mania. The doctors kept me in the hospital for about two months to ensure I transitioned back into everyday living smoothly. At the time I was very upset about this but am now very thankful.
I have been mania free for about two years now and finally found the right cocktail of drugs to keep me on the straight and arrow (an anti psychotic called abilify and recently a small dose of cipralex to help with my overall anxiety). I believe my experience with bipolar disorder make me a good person to discuss this illness via this blog and shed some light on the nature of the affliction and its fallout. I will also be slowly releasing a book of fiction I am writing with the working title The Secret Diaries of A Manic Depressive Girl loosely based on my experience with bipolar disorder and hospitalization. I hope to ultimately self publish this book and share it with the world. The goals of this blog are simple: to educate and remove stigma surrounding the illness that is bipolar disorder.
To my readers, I hope you take something away from reading my blog even if its simply the feeling that you’re not alone in this.