For years people have called me high strung, or defensive, and of course I have been called crazy MANY MANY times. I often would lie and hide to cover why I didn’t make it to work for a week, or why I never made it to the party. I became so creative and would tell people a new family member had passed. Possibly a distant cousin. I once even told someone I had gone on a trip overseas.
For 20 years I lied to those closest to me. Friends I had for 10 years, people I worked with and even my own husband. Living with bipolar disorder is scary. At the age of 14 I remember feeling depressed. I attributed it to being sexually abused as a child by a close family friend. I would think of it often and felt ashamed and dirty. I told the guy I was with that I was a virgin but once he went inside of me for the first time he labeled me a liar.
I was often very defensive and angry, then I would shift to happy, upbeat and full of energy. Between the age of 19-25 I was hospitalized twice. I was placed on many medicines. Some worked and others didn’t but I would often go off of the meds as soon as I felt better.
After having three children, being married, divorced and remarried. I decided it was time to get my life together. I started with finding a medicine that worked, taking the right meds, the right dose, at the right time was key. I then started an intensive therapy program that worked. I began incorporating exercise, eating healthy, getting plenty of rest, and attending bipolar support groups.
The last piece was making amends. Asking those I had hurt for forgiveness, being honest with those I lied to, and forgiving others. I have lost some friends. Some people are scared of mental illness. Some walking around with it are doing drugs and drinking. Others rallied behind me. I always have my mom and dad. My husband, Mikel. I have my Uncles, Aunts, and of course my children who are my purpose. I also have great friends new and old.
What I have realized is, this is not such a terrible, horrible,secret. It is my truth and with proper self care I can live with bipolar depression and not DIE! I am a writer, a demo vocalist, a social worker in the making, a mom, a women’s health worker, a wife, and my WILL is stronger than bipolar disorder.
*For info on living with bipolar disorder contact NAMI*