Thursday, November 3, 2011

Story Time part III

Ok. Deep breath. My Angel Doc requested to see me in a follow up appointment one week later. Since I was functioning halfway normally once again he basically interviewed me and ordered lot's of medical tests to be run. He could tell I was desperately depressed. I did not know this myself at the time, I thought I was just really sick. Does sickness precede depression or vice versa? The old chicken and egg question. It is such a downward spiral.
He found out what I had been doing prior to my move and tried to piece together the events that may have led me to my current condition.
What I did not mention before is that during my year in Mississippi I was working 17+ hours a day creating pottery. Sometimes I would work for a few days straight without eating or sleeping. I look back on that year and cannot believe the amount of work I produced, it is ludicrous in retrospect. I was also teaching pottery at a local art gallery as well as offering free pottery classes to young people in the "adolescent offenders program". I participated in several large pottery shows that year both in and out of the art gallery. My work was even published in "Southern Lady" magazine.
Anyhow, apparently I was in a manic state that entire year. My doc mentioned "Bipolar II" and referred me to a psychiatrist and a psychologist both of which concurred with the diagnosis. I even started counseling therapy and was put on medications. But this road to getting "better?" was a rough start since we only lived in Florida this go around for seven months. It was not enough time to build a rapport with a counselor nor to really find medications that worked, and I am the worst at taking meds. But anyhow that is another tangent that we will leave alone.

It has been six years since that diagnosis and I still struggle with it. I know for sure that I suffer from severe depression and have done since age 10 (at least that was the first time I wrote in my diary that I wanted to die). But bipolar II?? What is that?
This is what I currently understand about my diagnosis. I do not have the polar extreme of mania that people associate with "bipolar", but rather I am often in a "mixed state" of being extremely driven + depression all wrapped up in one pretty little package of misery. It is not a fun way to be.

I am a woman of faith and have been since I was in first grade when the local "Good News" club gave me a bible and taught me about Jesus. I also had a wonderful Great Aunt who often took care of me during these formative years when my own single mother was off partying doing drugs and/or in jail. This same Aunt was also a Christian and an educator and she was responsible for teaching me to read at the age of three and recommended that I start first grade when I was only five years old. I also believe she was the one who put me in the "Good News" club. She is a wonderful woman who helped me get a "good start" in spite of my circumstances.

I had to add this last paragraph to explain that no amount of praying, pleading or begging God to relieve my pain worked. And believe me when I say I prayed, begged and pleaded like there was no tomorrow. In fact for a couple of years there I really thought that God had abandoned me. I suppose that praying for God to change my brain would be akin to praying for a missing arm or leg to grow back. When you look at it that way it is kind of silly.
I recognize now that I am who I am and God made me this way for a reason. I am on a journey to accept and love myself. Just as we all are.

To round off this portion of the story it took a couple years of extreme stress coupled with physical illness to literally bring me to my knees. I felt like a broken person. There was always a heaviness in my chest like an elephant was sitting on me. I always had a lump in my throat as if I were constantly choking back tears. And little did I know that it would take years to make my way back to a point in my life where I could wake up in the morning and look forward to the day.

"For as soon as I wake there's a pain I can't shake in my heart".

I'll take a break here. There is still a lot more to this story. These "snippets" take a few days to write and are emotionally exhausting. But this process is cathartic and therefore healing so I shall continue.


Crazy Mom Tats! said...

Hang tight. I know where you're coming from, believe me.

Lelia said...


Suztats said...

I hope the sharing of your story is helping you to heal.
My DH is manic, and I have seen the devastation it can bring him from outside. I can only imagine the pain you feel from inside.
We have been through several bouts of severe pi-polar episodes, and he has been suicidal during several of those periods.
I am happy to report that he has been stable for several years now, although he does still take medication. He is a happy and productive individual.
I do hope your journey leads you to acceptance, and happiness.
Hugs and Blessings to you and yours.

Ladytats said...

Hang in there Sherry, I will continue to send good thoughts and prayers your way. I have a sis-in-law that has been hospitalized for bipolar, and a several daughters on meds for depression. DH's family has a long and extensive history of depression and bipolar, that the family is only coming to terms with in the last few years, before that for generations it was swept under the rug. it is finally now in this past couple of decades being openly talked about so people are more willing to get the help they need. several of dh's cousins and a nephew have commited suicide. Blessings friend.

Maureen said...

I have always found it a valuable technique,to turn your life into a sort of narrative; it puts things into perspective, and eventually you realise that NOTHING is static, there is always the next page to turn.

Stephanie Grace said...

I tend to be a silent reader of blogs most of the time, but this really moved me. Not just the baring of your past in such a way, but one thing in particular: Being ten and saying you want to die. I was eight when wanting to die came into my life (the first time I remember physically threatening suicide was actually my slumber party for that birthday, but things on paper happened prior, I think...). I spent years in and out of therapy before everyone believed me that it just wouldn't work. I may no be able to handle everything in the best way on my own, but I need to do it that way. That's just how I am. Talking to someone who analyzes my problems doesn't help me because I analyze everything to its rawest form and can reach the same conclusions; I don't need someone to tell me what's wrong, I need someone that believes what I say and helps me from there, not someone that wants me to bare my soul to them --bring on the misanthropy, LOL... I just.. I really want to thank you for sharing your story. I'm an open book all of the time, to almost anyone, anytime, and it's nice to see someone else putting things 'out there' instead of feeling ashamed or like our 'lows' show our weakness.... It's the moments that make us feel that way that make us so strong!

Thank you, again!

patcantat2 said...

Oh, may the strength and healing find you soon! thoughts and prayers of an atheist with you, i have been there too, please just keep telling us all. i so look forwards to your postings. we do understand about the sadness of life, and our compassion goes out to you.

Anonymous said...

well, I lived with a loved one being diagnosed as bipolar for 10 years..its a genetic thing..which explains your poor mother and her issues. Back in 1996 when my child was diagnosed the doc said to tough out the depression..and wait for the Lithium ( no one on this drug commits suicide) to stabilize the mood swings. I guess there are other drugs nowadays..he said that lithium is the "gold standard" child had to have 2 different drugs to get stable..we went through a lot of drugs in 2 is the good thing..after a while the side effects decrease..and if you find what have to keep taking it even if you feel fine( the bad thing)..also avoid street drugs as they can cause a permanent irreversible psychosis ( the really really bad thing). Other bad things..if you have siblings or alert for mood disorders to show up in them too.

here is how I coped .."accept what is".."everything changes"..and " have no expectations"..all Buddha wisdom. robin, N ME