Living with bipolar can be a roller-coaster ride for anyone. Days with ups and downs while trying to manage a balanced lifestyle can be extremely stressful and tiring. My journey with the disorder has been a long but educating one; living life with depression and mania and finally finding an end balance and happiness.
Growing up with Bipolar was never an easy road. The days of my childhood were separated into good and bad, up days and down days. The good days, the world was my oyster; running around our family’s property, creating circus shows on our swing set, just enjoying everything about being a child.
The down days were filled with depression, crying without knowing the exact reason why, feeling so low that often my school pictures came back showing a little girl without a smile. Days passed without knowing what the next would bring. The imbalances of my moods lead my mother to finally seek help from specialists in 1999.
I was brought to different doctors; one suggested I had a brain tumor which left my family fearing for my life. Another psychologist would hold me down during sessions while I struggled to get free, panic welling up in my little chest as he tried to subdue the wild child in me, others simply scratched their head and suggested a more creative outlet. It wasn’t until I was ten that the word bipolar was spoken, forever changing my life.
Pills and Treatment
With the diagnosis came a regimen of medication and therapy. Weight gain was evident since the introduction of Lithium; days were spent in bed sleeping in a drugged induced slumber from the side effects of the Seroquel.
Pill after pill was introduced, with time spent in session after session of therapy. I would spend an hour once a week on a couch with a woman who I felt didn’t understand me at all.
My ten year old mind would wander to thoughts of playing out in our fields rather than being cooped up talking about my feelings.
It got worse as I entered high school. The cruelty of fellow classmates led to more down days than up. The Lithium and Seroquel were eventually replaced with Geodon and Trazodone. There were days that the depression was so bad that I missed a whole week of school, rarely leaving my room, claiming that I was too sick to go to class.
An emotionally abusive relationship with my first boyfriend led my already fragile state into a spiral of depression that I felt would never end. Self-mutilation crept into the picture, and along with it came threats of hospitalizations and more medication.
Graduating was a saving grace; no longer bound by the confines of high school, I started college with a new outlook. I came out of my shell, and the down days began to dissipate.
With the depression slowly fading away, the more manic side of my disorder crept through. There were days I would spend insane amounts of money on trivial items; buying hundreds of dollars of unneeded clothing online or impulsive decisions such as booking a random flight to New York.
Drinking came into the picture, and there were nights that passed in a alcohol induced blur, with days sleeping off the resulting effects.
Getting my life back on track wasn’t easy, but eventually with the right medicine dosage amounts my life came more into focus. Healthier lifestyle choices were achieved, and the disorder started to become manageable.
Though there are nights that depression sneaks in and its effects are crippling, and there are days where the mania makes me feel as if I can’t sit still; there are far more often days where I am content.
Days where I can sit back and enjoy my life and all it has to bring. Though there is no cure for bipolar disorder, there are ways to manage it and live happily, days where I am glad that I hung on this long.