I have a long history of emotional trauma starting with my non-traditional childhood, moving into strained and failed relationships, a complete hysterectomy at 33, a two year custody battle, a troubled runaway teenage son, and abandonment from all family. As you can imagine this has caused me a great deal of heartache and depression for some time now but over the last two years my emotional state has plummeted and my sadness has become unbearable
Two weeks ago last Friday I wanted to die. The feeling was strong enough that I knew if I didn’t do something I would most likely do it. I gathered every ounce of strength I had left, called my therapist and asked for help. She spoke with my husband who promptly drove me to the local mental health facility. After being evaluated it was determined that an outpatient program would be a good course of action for me. The following Monday I began a two week partial hospital day program that set me on a course I never imagined I would travel.
I met amazing people with equally heart wrenching stories. Men and women, who like me, could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. We learned interesting and insightful information about how the brain works and the ways we cope with emotions. And of course, we talked and processed and cried and laughed. I took a 567 question psychological profile test (I will never forget that number!), answered oral questions, looked at grim photos and even did the cliché ink blot test (which the artist in me enjoyed very much). They also did a full blood test work-up and urinalysis.
The end result…… I have been diagnosed with Bi-Polar II, mixed. Like many people I had some idea of the condition but really no true understanding of the disorder. So before I go any further I hope to educate you and bring understanding and awareness to this disease that affects over 2 million American adults.
Bi-Polar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function. Different from normal ups and downs that everyone goes through, the symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. It is an illness that is biological in its origins, yet one that feels psychological in the experience of it. Like diabetes or heart disease, bipolar disorder is a long term illness and not something you can will away or “get over”. The disease can be genetic and in my case most definitely is as it runs on both sides of my family. This is something I was born with and there is nothing I could have done to stop it. If you would like to learn more about the disorder please visit http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bipolar-disorder/DS00356 .
Along with the amazing coping skills I learned while in the program, I now take medications everyday to stabilize my mood and control the depression. It is likely I will have to take medicine the rest of my life but it is better then the alternative!
You may be asking yourself why I am sharing this information with some of you who are virtually strangers…….well, the answer is two-fold. First, it is important for me as a person dealing with the disease to be understood and supported. Hopefully, those of you who have taken the time to read this will still be there for me in some capacity whether it be art critiques, friendship, positive comments or support. Second, I hope that in my sharing this personal information that you will gain some understanding, compassion, and knowledge about a disease that affects so many people. Maybe someone you know is suffering and by hearing my story you have gained awareness and can help. The more education, knowledge, and awareness we have the better we become.
Thank you for taking the time to read about me. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them. I will gladly accept any and all supportive and positive comments, anything else please keep it to yourself.