I feel like i've been handcuffed to a chair, in the most uncomfertable of positions for years, Forced to watch as others were entertained, enjoyed themselves. LIVED. While i was stuck there, sometimes blindfolded, semi-tortured enduring this confusing, bond boggling depression. Someone just unlocked tha handcffs. i need to learn now how to live. how to be a person in society. Does that make sense?
I began suffering from depression in my early teen years, along with a pattern of self abuse that had started while I was living at home. I had begun cutting myself to relieve tension when I was 14. Later, cutting wasn't enough, and I began burning myself. This, along with the depression, had forced my hospitalization on numerous occasions. I had begun to feel right at home on the psych ward at Lincoln General. The staff there had become my new family. They understood, when no one else did.
Now, I realize to many of you readers, that the idea of cutting or burning oneself to relieve tension sounds a bit strange, or would "bizarre" be a better word? That is how the media describes most behaviors that can only be blamed on a mental illness. After all, doesn't mental illness and bizarre usually end up in the same newspaper article, if not in the same sentence? If more people would just take the time to educate themselves about mental illness, then, maybe they could understand. It is an illness, not a character defect or something that I, or anyone who suffers from that it, can just stop whenever it is inconvenient. This is the time I feel like getting on my soapbox and going to town on the ignorance of Joe Average! But,I will spare you that, after all, now you find out that you are reading something written by a mentally ill person, rather than a just an anorexic college student. Well, stay tuned, it gets worse before it gets better.
It was many years after I had quit drinking, before the true diagnosis of Bipolar II with mixed states, was introduced. Bipolar disorder, the mother of all mental illnesses! The symptoms of this had been overlooked, as I had been self medicating for years. Now, after trying to control my life with drugs, alcohol and food, the truth had come out. But, not without first having been arrested two times and taken to detox, only to find out that I had not been drinking at all. It was finally determined by a local psychologist that I was hypo-manic, not drunk. This began a new phase of my life that I am currently involved in, and finding it difficult to deal with.
Now, I can't say I blame anyone for thinking that I was drunk, as I also suffer from a disorder most commonly referred to as Benign Positional Vertigo, BPV. This is a disorder of the inner ear. When calcium deposits on the horseshoe part of the inner ear break off, it cause a disturbance of the balance, thus making it look as if I am drunk. Combine the hypo-manic state with the vertigo and you get a very belligerent drunk on your hands, without the alcohol! Or so it appears.
So, now you have where I am in my life now; divorced, single parent, recovering anorexic, recovering alcoholic and addict, and mentally ill! What a combination! My life isn't turning out at all like I had planned.
You Don't Know Jack, that's a computer game a friend of mine gave me for my birthday last year. As I sit here at my computer now and look at that CD rom on the shelf, I'm thinking to myself just how right that is, I don't know Jack!!!! I'm reaching that stage in my life that I am wondering just what I do know. What do I want to be when I grow up? Sometimes I think I have goals, many of them unrealistic. Other times, like now, I don't feel as if I have any goals at that are attainable for me at all! I know because of my the bipolar disorder, the undependable mood swings that go along with it, I am limited. But then again, maybe I really don't want to grow up at all. After all, why grow up?
Most days my mind is so full of battles, just getting through the day, putting on my happy face for my kids, my friends, and at school is about all I can handle. Am I really happy? I was asked that question by someone special to me not long ago. I didn't have an answer. I think I am, sometimes. Other times, I know I'm not. I have spent so many years now putting on that fake smile, I am often fooled myself. After all, what do I have to be happy about? Merely existing? That's what I feel I am doing. What kind of life is that? My life, I guess.
It's not that I am not working on being happy and productive, it just seems like I'm spinning my wheels. Where do you go from where I have been? I had hit rock bottom at one point and thought that the only way I could go from there was up. But I just keep going up and down and up and down! Its like being on a never ending seesaw. Living with bipolar disorder is a very undependable and frustrating life. I can't make plans, as when I am depressed, like now, I don't feel like doing anything but pulling the covers over my head and shutting out the whole world. I just want everyone and everything to go away. Everyone and everything I love! When I am manic, I make plans and commitments that I know that I can't follow through with, and then I get angry at myself because I can't.