Living with bipolar disorder is often no easy task. When you throw mania into the mix, life becomes quite interesting!
In October 2011 I woke-up one day feeling really good, positive, and refreshed. The smell in the air was sweet, the rain was cleansing, and nothing could put me in a bad mood. I noticed my world seemed quite open, as if I could accomplish anything!
I quickly realized I was invincible like I had super powers. I drank my morning coffee then set out into the world with a positive outlook. I would meet with friends who noticed my cheery disposition. They asked me what my secret was, I told them I just woke-up feeling that way. Low-and-behold I was in full-blown mania. To top it off, I also didn’t know I had bipolar disorder.
My days began to include major exercising every day. About 2-hours each morning, eventually leading to a staggering weight loss in less than 7-months! I started leaving my house on a daily basis, but not before putting on a risqué outfit. I started hanging out with not so savory men (mind you, I’m married).
I started shopping, like big time! I spent a decent amount on clothes, tattoos, and frivolous thing I don’t remember what. I began to withdrawal from not only my home life but my marriage. I found I could act anyway I wanted around my friend but felt I had to curtail it at home which made me irritable. Obviously, my home life suffered greatly!
My speech was often fast and didn’t make a lot of sense, I lied to my husband as to where I was going when leaving the house. Sometimes leaving my house for a few days at a time, staying with friends.
I began to get paranoid over everything, had severe anxiety, started hallucinating, hearing things no one else heard, functioned off of 2-hours of sleep a day, and always looked over my shoulder.
I did gain serious energy, sometimes it was nervous energy but I functioned at 100%. I had started several projects, I would never complete. I began a habit of not eating food. I ate to live vs. living to eat! Everything eventually was turning sour in my life.
After a couple of weeks on this path I would tell my husband I wanted a divorce, separated from him, started dating someone, and really hit rock bottom. It didn’t take long after that for me to begin losing friends and the respect and trust of my husband. Something had to give!
After a terrible break-up with my boyfriend, I turned to my husband. He not only consoled me but wanted to work on our marriage. To my surprise, I agreed. In our talks following my breakdown, my husband confessed he thought that there might be something underlying with me. I was confused! He said he did some research and in evaluating my behavior not only as of recent but over the years. He began to see a vicious pattern, and believed I had something wrong with me on a mental level.
Frankly, that scared me. I agreed to support his decision in seeking mental help to see if in-fact there was something wrong.
By December 2011, I was diagnosed with type 1 bipolar disorder. This was a serious blow to my ego, I didn’t know what that meant exactly. Eventually, all the pieces of the puzzle would fall into place. There was an answer to all my erratic behavior. A bit of a relief, and a bit of a scare.
I was immediately put on lithium to bring me down. It took a few weeks, but I was slowly but surely returning-back to normal. As my husband and I talked about my last couple of months prior to diagnosis, I realized I had a bit of a lapse in memory. Some things are as clear as day, others foggy at best. I was told by my psychiatrist it’s just a side effect of bipolar disorder. In my right mind I would NEVER do the things I did (and can’t remember everything) nor contemplate crossing lines.
With my mental health in-check, now was the battle of cleaning up the chaotic mess I had made! I had confided in some of my friends about my disorder and was either meet with acceptance or total loss of friendship.
However, I can happily report that my marriage has survived all! It was a seriously rough go at it for a while. But we are both dedicated to our relationship. We’re going on 15 years together, and that’s amazing for all the turmoil we’ve endured!
Its taken a while but my husband has nothing but respect and trust for me again. He tells me how proud he is of me for not brushing my diagnosis off. Not only seeking help but for honestly working so hard over the years to find stability and working on our marriage.
Through therapy and seeing my psychiatrist on a regular basis I have discovered I have had bipolar disorder since age 15. Though I have lived life not knowing any different, I now see how crazy and upside-down my existence was. I’m grateful for my husband for seeing patterns which lead me to get help. Thankful for my therapist for helping me through understanding my life with undiagnosed bipolar disorder. My psychiatrist for being so on it and supportive, and helping me find the proper medications to help me get to stability.
Many of us with bipolar disorder have many stories to tell. My story I don’t believe is special but I hope it helps one not feel alone in this rollercoaster ride we call bipolar disorder.