Prior to being diagnosed with bipolar 1, rapid cycling, PTSD and an eating disorder, I thought my life was pretty normal!
I partied like any average 20-something, I drank like all around me, I even held down a job for a number of years. My earlier years were a bit chaotic, looking back.
But, how would I know? No one else saw the signs, i certainly didn’t! No one saw me as being off. Not until I met my husband. We were dating for about 2 years before he suspected there might be something wrong with me. But he could never quit pin point what was wrong. Years passed and I would fall into mania and depression.
After our child was born he began to see a pattern in me but didn’t know what to do. I was going out to bars, with or without friends. I had postpartum depression, was distant, manic, and had severe anxiety attacks. My primary care physician didn’t acknowledge anything odd, so my cycle kept on.
Time would progress into a serious manic breakdown. Roughly, about 4 years ago.
We moved to a different town, and my husband took a new job. It didn’t take but a few months before I would enter into the worst manic episode I had ever experienced!
I would leave my home for days at a time and wouldn’t tell anyone where I was, spend money, started dating, separated from my husband, had major psychosis, major anxiety, thought I was invincible, just to name a few things. I basically spiraled out-of-control!
I experienced memory loss, I couldn’t remember doing things. Friends of my husband would report back to him, the things I was doing! I felt this as a major hit to my privacy.
I was ready to file for divorce, move out on my own, and disowned any of our friend reporting back to my husband about me. My emotions were ALL over the board! One day I got a text from my husband to “please come home!” This was hard for me, as I was dating someone else and had trust issues all around.
My paranoia, anxiety, and psychosis had all reached an all-time high!
What I didn’t know is my husband logged into my computer at home and found pictures of me and my then boyfriend. I never shared with him that I was dating someone else. I did tell him I wanted a divorce.
I was so scared to come home, afraid and paranoid he would kill me over my dodging him for 3-days! He reassured me he only wanted me to be safe, and wanted to work things out. Begrudgingly, I came home.
He tried to hug me but I only pushed him away. We sat at our dining table talking. He told me he found the pictures of me and my boyfriend (mind you they were like selfie-pics, nothing bad). Needless to say, that went over well (enter sarcasm)!
He told me he wasn’t mad but wanted me to be open and honest with him. It was hard, my thoughts were on a crowded highway!
I confessed to dating and finally told him where I was for those few days. We discussed our future. That was the hardest discussion ever! At that point he asked me to break-up with my boyfriend if I wanted to work on our marriage.
I agreed and did so right away!
In the state I was in, I should have been admitted to the hospital, but at that time we didn’t know I had bipolar disorder.
A few days past and my husband came to me and wanted to talk again about my out of control behavior. He had done a lot of research, and deciphered I may have a mental illness. He sat long and hard, and didn’t want to believe I was doing all these crazy things for no reason.
He couldn’t totally pinpoint what was wrong but knew my actions weren’t normal. We made an appointment to see a psychiatrist in December 2011. Just a few days before Christmas, I was diagnosed with type 1 bipolar disorder.
Finally, there was an answer to my behavior!
I started taking lithium right away. In a few weeks, I had come out of mania, and saw how much craziness I had put my husband through. I spent the next few week cleaning-up my mess. It was a really hard pill to swallow!
I began seeing a counselor to help me piece things together. This helped me understand that I had been an undiagnosed bipolar since I was 15 years old. This was a shock! I had managed to live my whole life in the fast lane for a ridiculous number of years!
I am proud to say, that today my marriage is secure and I have taken my medication as prescribed for a few years now! I attend therapy on a weekly basis and regularly see my psychiatrist. I haven’t had a manic episode that I couldn’t control with therapy and medication in quite some time.
It’s truly been a rollercoaster ride, but I’m utterly grateful for my husband of 15 years!
He has stuck by my side through ALL of the crazy ups and downs. He is my caregiver and my greatest support! I also have the best psychiatrist and most wonderful therapist!
My goal has always been stability and I’m glad I can say I’ve been mostly (a little hypomania here and there) stable and have responded to my medication positively.
My survival came in the form of support, being honest about my symptoms, regularly seeing a psychiatrist and therapist, taking my medication as prescribed, and really trying hard to manage my symptoms. It was also my responsibility to seek-out help.
I won’t lie, it’s been a crazy ride but I’ve survived, and finally feel the most stable I have ever been!
We all have interesting stories to tell, I’m not unique. Just know you are not alone!