I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 over ten years ago, when I was in my late teens. I’ve always been kind of depressed, mood swings. insomnia and all that, but nothing so bad that my parents took any serious action. I was at university and I was raped which pretty much ruined my life (or so I thought). My foot was badly injured, as well as other parts of me, but the foot was hard. I was a dancer back then, and an injured foot which took months to heal and years to be able to dance on again, was like being stabbed right in the heart. My nose was broken, and for someone who was rather obsessed with her own looks (people have always been very keen on telling me how beautiful I am, so that has always been a very big factor is how I feel about myself), that was maybe the hardest thing of all. I locked myself in and when I did heal (physically) I threw myself into a self destructive pattern of drinking, smoking and lots of sex. I naturally crashed and stayed in the mental illness wing of the hospital for a while, and I had to continue going to psychotherapy after this. This was great as I got on medication and I had someone to talk to who helped me and understood. I’ve also been involved in many groups, but these have been rape, not mental disorder related.
It took me a long time to find good medication though, but when lithium and I met it said click. I’ve had periods where I have gone off it because I’ve been doing good and feeling great but it’s always led to euphoric mania, then the crash into the deepest darkest corners of my soul where nothing is pretty and everything hurts. Despite all this I’ve always considered me as someone who loves life, I’ve never even considered ending it. Which I have written down on a piece of paper that I carry around with me in case the bleak thoughts come to find me.
I managed to get through university very nicely, I’ve got two masters degrees from good unis, but it was a bit of a challenge. My biggest problems are my relationships. I decided very soon after my diagnosis that I didn’t want biological children as I didn’t want to pass this on to them (ooops!), and my plan was to be with someone nice, kind, well educated and in a successful career as this would improve my chances of being allowed to adopt. So all my boyfriends prior to Husband fit into that category. They were all interesting and great men, all years older than me. Then I met Husband and yeah, while he half way fits into it he’s not very nice. He’s kind and good and everything, but he’s opinionated and passionate and a bit narcissistic, and he’s moody. Like his wife. There are days I feel incredibly bad, days I feel like a black shadow hovering over our house, bringing destruction into the beautiful pinkness of it all. A few months back i actually made an exit plan for myself, how to leave my husband and two daughters, I was so depressed I couldn’t think about anything but myself. Then we went into the hospital for her heart check up, and there was an irregularity and somehow the waiting period between my midwife appointment and the ultrasound helped shake me out of it. Husband yelled at me for like three hours when I told him about my plan though, but we have a honesty agreement, so I had to. [name_m]Even[/name_m] though it was horrible. But I get that. He has to control his emotions a lot around me because of my illness, and on top of that I am the most ridiculously sensitive person in the world. I cry from the news, from songs, books, I cry when I watch sitcoms (seriously, The Big Bang [name_m]Theory[/name_m] keeps on getting to me). So sometimes he needs to be able to be upset too. I’d be mad if I’d found out he had a detailed plan for leaving me too.
I’ve only had one episode in the past year (we’re almost at the point where I can say it’s been a year and no episodes!), while I was pregnant with [name_f]Dita[/name_f] I had a real mania and then I crashed, was admitted to the hospital and spent a few days there recovering. Being a mother and dealing with this can be very hard, but in some ways it’s good too. It makes me feel like I have a reason to get up in the morning. I do have breakdowns when I think about how awful I am for having them, but my husband is pretty amazing and he says that if they do get it, they have the worlds most capable and understanding mother to help guide them through it and into the light and starshine.
I’ve tried all kinds of different things to help me, I try to avoid nightshades (except for tomatoes, I’m addicted to those), I’m a shamanic druid and having a Shaman is really great. It helps a lot because the belief is that thoughts and words have actual power, and that makes me have less destructive thoughts. I have done a few myth readings with amazing Jungian psychotherapists, which has helped me see my future clearer. I love all kinds of readings, it makes me feel hopeful. I try to exercise quite a bit, yoga and running, and (TMI) I have sex with my husband on an average three times a day as it declutters my head and makes me relax. And it makes him happy, so bonus for that. I make sure to have lots of me time, and I make sure to have a good not-me-related cry once a day. That might sound weird, but it helps a lot, it’s like airing out a dusty room. So I put on a song or read some pages from a book (yes, I’ve got button pushers marked and ready to go), and that’s that.
So, yeah. All’s good, all in all I think. I guess I lucked out meeting my husband as he’s definitely brought lots of life and twinkle of various kinds into my life.