My First Time.

I have never been hospitalized before. I think that I am pretty good at hiding things, but I couldn’t hide this from myself. I knew there was something wrong. I wasn’t sleeping more than a couple hours, I was becoming emotionally abusive, and I was falling back into overspending. Mania. This isn’t the first time I have been manic this year, but I hope it is the last. I moved into a new apartment earlier this week and I already can’t make rent. I am exhausting. I am tired from being me.

I took myself down to the hospital which I think we can agree is a feat on its own. Not having insurance was both a blessing a curse. The plus side is that I could choose whatever hospital I wanted and the downside is that I am uninsured. I can’t help but laugh that this insanely expensive vacation I just took and I didn’t even get to go to the pool. I am constantly, actively working to better myself. I take my medication, go to all my doctors appointments, religiously see my therapist, use the breathing exercises. I am not immune to it. It wasn’t at all what I had expected. Clean, hospital like in some ways, slightly degrading, and cold. BUT I am blessed to have gone to a place that provided me a private room and bathroom. Granted, everything was bolted to the floor and the bathroom had no door. Overall it was a really nice place filled with people actively trying to get better.

I was sad and anxious that I was taking all these days unpaid, but I had to. I had to go and get help. It was an out of body experience watching me set fire to all the relationships that took years to rebuild. One conversation has sent it all tumbling down. Here I am, trying to intervene and slow the damage. I was discharged yesterday afternoon and it seems that my grandparents are going to be the hardest to recover. I suppose it is divine timing because we just moved away after living next door to them. I am fortunate to still have my mom in my corner because it would be hell living together for the next year if I am going to be the source of her pain and anger.

I am doing better today. Better than yesterday, better than a week ago. I just have to keep pushing forward. My anxiety is manageable right now and I hope that it stays that way. I hope that this made inpatient stays a little less scary for those who haven’t experienced it.

Keep fighting the good fight!

New Doctor, New Me.

Haven’t written in a while. Blame the mental illness. I stopped doing a bit of everything for awhile. I finally moved and have been back in Arizona for a couple months. I could already feel better just being back around my support system. Isn’t it weird that you don’t even realize how familiar environments can make or break you?

I started seeing my new doctor the day after I arrived. She really took the time to listen. She asked me a ton of questions and even asked that I take the time to write some things down that we didn’t get a chance to discuss. I was put on an additional medication, respiradone, that was to help in addition to my lamictal and Seroquel. It made me incredibly sick and I have been told that I had what is called Melatonin syndrome. FUN. NOT.

I have since been switched to a new med and only time will tell if it helps. I know that it can be difficult to know if you are improving or not because we do not see how we are, we only feel. I know that I have had problems my whole life with what was mostly referred to as “my attitude and tone”. I now know that it should have been known as my moods (hello mood disorder). I was constantly told that I need to focus on my tone with people and customers at work. This greatly impacted my professional life. It would always begin with being commended for my work ethic, skills, and problem solving skills. A few weeks in and I was kind of discarded because of my attitude. This completely sucked. I would leave work and come back the next morning telling myself that I am just going to do my job and keep my head down. Didn’t happen.

The job I have now has been AMAZING. Since getting back on all my medication (I just up and stopped taking them, bad girl) I have seen a drastic change. I received a raise and was even commended on my professional tone by multiple members of management. MEDICATION WORKS YA’LL. I know that my outlook and perseverance has a hand in my treatment, but I am telling you that I think I am in a good place.

I was recommended for a job by a friend for a project manager position. This a HUGE deal. I have never had anyone offer to help me in getting a leg up in my career. This is the position I acquired over 100k in school loans for. IT’S HERE! As much as I like my current job, I am at a place where there is no growth potential which is incredibly disappointing.

This is not to say that my life has suddenly improved 100% and I have no issues. I am struggling financially and frankly am drowning in debt right now. I can say that had this all come about a few months ago, I am not sure I would be writing this. I was in a really bad place and not managing my mental health in a healthy way at all. I have found myself on a good treatment plan that is allowing me to really manage the stress. Apparently that is a huge trigger for my mania. Isn’t that fun?

I know we have all been at low lows and dark places we can’t imagine pulling ourselves from. Just remember that you recognize your own lows and you are responsible for seeking the help. You can get it. You can manage this.

 

p.s. I promise to contribute more. Money woes=no internet.

Where Has The Bipolar Been?

Today was the first day that I have had the energy to write. I wanted to share what was going on in my life, but there were plenty of days where I stayed in bed and for the most part, I had the energy to keep up my school work, which luckily has not suffered.

Where has the Bipolar Writer been? Its been a tough couple of weeks, and due to being sick, I have been MIA.


I wanted to update first my recent depression cycle over the past few months. On that score, things have been good as I have improved dramatically in decreasing my depression to a low level. It is not entirely gone, but I feel refreshed for the first time in months. It was so great to feel better, but then when things began to look up, about three weeks ago, I got very sick.


Today was the first day that I have had the energy to write. I wanted to share what was going on in my life, but there were plenty of days where I stayed in bed and for the most part, I had the energy to keep up my school work, which luckily has not suffered.

It feels good to find my strength finally. So many things have gone by the wayside the last few weeks and coupled with my mental health its been a rollercoaster. I was not sure for all of last week if things could get better–I was that sick. I wish I were 100%, but I am still looking at an uphill battle. After medication, my breathing and congestion issues have improved, but my cough still lingers.

I am hoping another rest day today will once and for all knock out this persistent cough.
I am happy. My depression is gone; for now, my familiar friend depression has gone away. On the upside, I am in formatting with my publisher on my memoir, and I am close to publishing–it has been a journey in my first publishing experience, but I am so excited for what I have learned and excited to see my cover in the coming weeks.

Life continues to move forward no matter where your mental health or your health, in general, is at this point in your life. I could have given up. Decided that I had enough and quit, but you and I both know that is not me anymore. I will be adding my monthly newsletter later this week, and for those who have not signed up, it will update my life. It is usually put out at the beginning of the month, but being sick pushed it back now for almost two weeks.


I have a few blog posts in the works so you will see me here plenty from here until the end of the year. It is still the plan to move myself and my blog to the platform Patreon, but I want to finish this year strong. With that said thank you for your patience with me.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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I’m Better Than This.

I took a step forward today. I applied about a year ago to become a speaker for the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) speaker’s bureau. I suffer from PTSD and it has taken me the past ten years to cope with that, although I am unsure if you can ever fully cope with a trauma such as sexual abuse. I received an email inviting me to their speaker’s bureau summit! Once you attend the summit, you are then asked to speak at engagements hosted at high schools and the like. I found that writing about the things that I have experienced throughout my trauma and rollercoaster of a ride with bipolar have really helped me cope. I have shared my experience with friends over the years to coax them out of making some of the mistakes I did that left me vulnerable. Now, I hope to share this with others in an effort to do the same.

Much like The Bipolar Writer, RAINN is a safe space for sexual abuse survivors and without either I am not sure what I would do. I attend a group sponsored by RAINN, and The Bipolar Writer has been my sort of mental health group. Having moved so far from my main support system this really has been my life line. The past 9 months have been full of depressive spirals. Between not having access to competent mental health care to just not having someone to recognize the signs of me falling into a manic-depressive episode it has been the hardest time of my life.

When I got that email, I felt a burst of hope and something to look forward to. It was then that I realized that I have to do something that I felt so much shame for considering, I have to move back home. I love Texas. I love the trees and being away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I love how people here are seemingly much more kind. I love the pressures lifted off my shoulders because I am too far away from those close to me to worry about any conflict.

I have developed a lot of new bad habits in this move. I have almost completely isolated myself. Some of it intentional and some from having a lack of social life in a new place with no familiar places. I only really leave my house to go to work where I rarely interact with coworkers because if I am being honest, I am scared. The health care field is over saturated with potential workers here and due to that the pay is significantly less than it was at home. I am broke. I can’t afford the gas to drive an hour to my mental health doc, let alone the cost of the visit because I don’t have health insurance. So I have been off my medication and I really am not the nicest without it.

I stopped writing. I have a lot to say, but the motivation isn’t there. The motivation has been lost on a lot of things. I stopped keeping in touch with most of my friends back home and I dropped out of school. I am only five classes away from finishing my Master’s degree and I just couldn’t do it….or I wouldn’t. That isn’t me. I came to Texas to figure out what I wanted, who I am without the routine I was used to. I figured it out.

I am a social butterfly who loves nothing more than to hear every thought that her friends have because I genuinely love and care about them. I ENJOY seeing my mom multiple times a week and grabbing dinner with my sister on a Tuesday night because I know she is broke but loves take out. I like being at home and cooking (even though I am bad at it) for people. I often have so much to write about that I have word documents saved on my laptop because I can’t go posting it all at once. I have an intense passion for health care and have always strived to give the care that we all deserve, and lately I can barely make myself go to work, let alone give 110%.

I am going home. I have two interviews coming up and am starting to look at apartments for when I get there. I have boxes in my car so that I can start packing. I reenrolled in school and am ready to start writing again. I called my doctor back home so that I can get back on my medicine. I need to take care of myself.

This post is scatter brained and that really isn’t me. I think it is important that we strive to continue to share even when it isn’t pretty and polished. It is important for others to see what the truth it, it is important to bring awareness. Most importantly, it is important for me. I need to be honest with others because it helps me to be honest with myself. I am not okay. I have to stop telling myself that. I can’t carry on in this new normal because frankly it is getting out of hand.

Does Mental Illness = Weakness?

This weekend was very difficult for me. My mental illness had me in its grip tight which kept me in bed for Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and about 75 percent of Sunday.

My boyfriend and I were butting heads which really made me anxious. I was having so many worries because of our argument that it made things worse.

He is a very introverted person so sometimes he needs an entire day to re-energize. He told me that he needed alone time this weekend to recharge and spend time with his friends who he doesn’t see very often. In true Megan fashion, I freaked out.

I plunged into my anxious thoughts so deeply that I thought I might get sick. I worried fervently about whether this was the end of our relationship. Whether he didn’t love me anymore. Whether he wanted to find somebody better than me who could meet every single need of his without fail.

My mental illness often makes me feel weak. That if I didn’t have these nagging thoughts that led me to staying in bed for hours, flipping out over a change of plans and crying a lot.

I feel like I should be stronger.

That I should be able to tackle my mental illness to the ground because I don’t fall for its bullshit anymore. That I should be able to rebound quickly or just stand strong after my intense sensitivity teams up with my anxiety to spiral me down into the arms of depression.

If I was stronger I wouldn’t lose an entire weekend because my feelings are hurt and my anxiety is making it 50 times worse.

But I can’t do those things.

I am too weak to overcome my mental illness.

I always ask for your opinion at the end so please leave me a comment! Does your mental illness make you feel weak too?

A Mental Health Anniversary – 11 Years Later – Part Two

A Mental Health Anniversary – Part Two

It All Starts With Hope

* I know that this piece was supposed to go live on Thanksgiving. I apologize for that, here is the link to the first piece. A Mental Health Anniversary – 11 Years Later Part One

ron-smith-372792-unsplashHope. You didn’t have a lot of this when you started out eleven years ago. That night you first learned about your illness the first thing you turned to was denial. It was just more comfortable because it made wanting to end your life that much easier.

That was long gone in your life, suicidal thoughts, and you had to find something else to hold on to, and that is when you decided to go back to school. It was your chance to find yourself, and at the same time find your writing self.

Your writing was always your way to get through life. Maybe it was destiny, but deep down you knew that if you could hone your skills, it was possible to find your way in this mental illness life.

It was 2014, and you finally got there, starting the beginning of your journey. You knew it was never going to be easy. It was never the right time to deal with your mental health. So you pushed everything aside and soldiered on. Life continued and although depression was still your frequent companion in the coming years, having your school work as a reason to wake up in the morning was all you needed to stay strong.

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The unexpected happened, something you never planned for but nonetheless therapy became a significant part of your life. It changed the game. You found ways to cope with your depression. It wasn’t overnight but look at you now. You have all but conquered your depression and are going without antidepressants. Who would have thought it possible?

You have come so far. This blog. Your screenplay. Finishing your memoir, something that was ten years in the making. You have become a beacon of light in the mental illness community. Something you never thought could ever be possible. Most of all you are alive.

Wow. You’re alive. I bet you never saw that coming.

This mental illness life will always be a struggle, but it was your courage seven years ago to change your life that changed everything. I keep fighting today because you fight then, I am here because of you.

Thank you.

Always Keep Fighting

James

Photo Credit:

Lina Trochez

Ron Smith

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What I Learned Being Sick – A Mental Health Thing

I believe that is what leads to getting me sick. The funny thing about me getting sick is that just days before my dad told me to slow down or it could start affecting my overall health. I knew he was right, but I didn’t slow down.

kelly-sikkema-516850-unsplash.jpgIt feels good to be back!

I was sick from Thanksgiving to about Sunday with the flu. It was the worst I have had since getting bronchitis in February of 2017. That is what I get for forgoing my flu shot this year.

I learned a lot about myself while I was sick and barely eating in the first three days of being sick. The first was that I worry too much about letting people down when I am not writing here on my blog. I realize that I have commitments that I have to put first. While writing new content every day would be fantastic, it is also impossible with being a full-time student, freelance writer, and have my own projects that I am completing.  Life is too short to always be worrying.

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The second thing I noticed is that I don’t slow down enough in my week, and it has lead to my overall health declining. I have two modes in life–fast and faster. I will cram so much work into each day, and even when I do take breaks, I am still moving too fast. I forget that I am already dealing with my mental health on a daily basis and that I need to honestly take time to catch up on sleep not work. I need to just relax a day without worrying about anything else.

I believe that is what leads to getting me sick. The funny thing about me getting sick is that just days before my dad told me to slow down or it could start affecting my overall health. I knew he was right, but I didn’t slow down.

It was a good thing in the end because these things are workable in my life. I also learned that I don’t always have to rely on Ativan. On Friday, I took 1mg at night and that was it. It is safe to say my anxiety took a backseat to being sick, but it proved that I don’t need it to survive (I have really though lately that it would be impossible to get off my medications.) I feel confident that things can be different from here until the end of the year.

Maybe being sick was God and life telling me to slow down.

You learn new things everyday. Stay strong in the struggle!

James

Always Keep Fighting

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoRU Recovery Ministries

Kelly Sikkema

Katie Moum