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Back From The Dark Side

I apologize for my extended absence. My life has been a bit of a roller coaster as of late and I have not had the fortitude to blog about it here, unfortunately. Blogging should have been my release but I was too caught up in my emotions to put anything meaningful in print.

In my last post, I shared that I am individual therapy generally once a week. It is never more than once, but scheduling and life events on both side of the coin keep sessions from being steady at times.  It was after an extended period without therapy, that I was informed my therapist would be taking a leave from his practice for at least a year.

Needless to say, both my therapist and I knew I was heavily dependent on the work and support so hiding or diminishing the fact that I was crushed was inescapable. Since the announcement, I feel as though I have been going through the grieving process as though someone in my life has died.

I have been slowly trying to put the pieces back together and figure out what my next step is. I have been offered a variety of support options, which is wonderful, but they will not be the same as what I have now. I can transfer to another therapist at the same location as my current therapist, try a therapist out of the local psychiatric hospital, or try group and individual therapy out of the psychiatric hospital.

I have not made any solid decisions yet, but am feeling the pressure to decide. I was warned there could be waiting lists and an extended wait for support through the hospital. Support from the hospital would most definitely be by a female whereas the referral from my current therapist would be male.

I have been wondering if I could continue on without support, but I am a bit scared by this. The announcement through me for a spin and I tried to take control of some aspect of my life, which is my medication. I stopped taking two of them (the others not being an option unless I wanted to go without sleep & serious withdrawals). Unfortunately, now that I’ve seen my psychiatrist and gotten back on these medications, they have to be reintroduced slowly so I don’t develop seriousside effects (nausea/vomiting, and a serious rash/syndrome). I will not be back up to my previous dosages for at least two months.

If it was the meds holding my mood, I am weary about support if things go south. I have a great deal of difficulty asking for help, especially in my darkest moments. To be completely alone, I think, would be terrible.

For now, I am trying to logically work out what I should do.

 
 

Living a Diagnosed Bipolar Life

I realized I haven’t shared too much about being bipolar yet.

I was diagnosed last year, but have been on medication for a few years. I’m officially bipolar 2, which is different than regular bipolar or bipolar 1. I generally just refer to myself as bipolar as most people don’t know the difference. I would explain the difference to people in real life, only they don’t seem to understand simple concepts like anxiety. When I have told people that I’m bipolar, I usually get the slight eye roll, raised eyebrows or the knowing nod – and not in a good way. And these are “professionals”.

I see a psychiatrist who prescribes my medications. I still struggle with the idea that I will always be on medication. This leads me to stop taking my prescriptions, then going back on, then stopping. I don’t tell my psychiatrist that I do this. I am currently on my longest stretch of staying on medication – it has been about four months.

I am in individual therapy, generally once a week.

I generally suffer more on the depression end of the bipolar spectrum. I have attempted suicide several times in the last few years. I’ve not been hospitalized because I never tell anyone beforehand. I don’t change my mind and go to the hospital after I’ve overdosed. If I wanted to live, I would do these things. I’m very opinionated about suicide and attempts and I expect most people will not like these opinions.

I can’t stand it when people say they’ve made an attempt, but have hardly taken anything. I also can’t stand when people just keep trying and trying to kill themselves. If you wanted to die, you would have picked a better method. Stop looking for attention. Tell someone you’re feeling suicidal and get help.

These things annoy me because I’m bothered by how people use other people for attention and how it affects those of us who aren’t attention seekers. As soon as someone knows I’m bipolar, the first thing they want to know is if I’m suicidal or self-harming. Just because I’m bipolar doesn’t mean I do these things or that I’m randomly going to share information like this with you. Being a professional doesn’t equal a right to know my innermost struggles or triumphs.

And if I am suicidal or self-harming, it doesn’t mean I’m doing it and looking for attention. I don’t need to be asked 16 billion times about it either. If I want help, I have a voice. Tiny yes, but I still have one.

That said, I also do know people who have attempted suicide or have/do cut who aren’t like this. It is a small population that annoys me.

I know these judgements are probably cruel and unfair. I can’t explain my feelings around this topic. I probably expect too much of other people or lack empathy. This may also be connected to the issue that if I’m not in a depression, I have difficultly relating to those people who are – even if they are bipolar like me, I know them, and like them.

Maybe I’m just jealous that other people find a way to seek support that I am unable to do, for the most part. Maybe I’m angry that they can openly express themselves where I am prone to keeping it hidden.

Anyways.

No one else in my blood relations has any type of diagnosed or recognizable mental health disorder. I believed that I didn’t have any issues that were related to bipolar disorder initially. Looking back, I can see times where there could have been signs that something was a bit off, but I’m pretty sure these experiences are common. I also excelled in areas where my diagnosis should have seriously inhibited me.

I don’t really understand how I could just get sick all of a sudden. Perhaps there were life experienced that pushed me in this direction but if it was purely a “brain disorder” as some claim, shouldn’t it have been part of my reality long before now? How did I suddenly become ‘chemically imbalanced’?

I have/had some experiences in every stage of my life that were/are traumatic, but can that make you bipolar? Maybe depressed, anxious, suicidal, or something, but bipolar? This is what messes me up. I guess I should just ask my psychiatrist.

I’m not sure what else to include right now. I’ve got myself questioning this diagnosis again, which is usually not a great spot that I end up in. Should I just passively accept other peoples opinions of my own experience though?

I don’t know if I have that sort of trust in anyone. How can I ever accept that I’ll never be ‘better’?

 

Mushy Applications

I’m still working on it. The 10 page handwritten application form.

The best part about this organization is that after you fill this application out and mail it in, if you get an interview, you get to fill out more application forms on the spot.

A lot of the application is about how you’d react in a certain situation, how you’ve handled conflict in the workplace, how you triumphed in the face of Darth Vader….you get the point. Previously, I’d put a line through part of the application form because it didn’t pertain to the job I was applying for. I can’t this time, since I’m not applying for a specific position.

I’ve also learned that the hiring person is a guy. Both times before, it’s been a girl. There aren’t a lot of males in this type of work, unless you’re high up in the organization. I can’t decide if it’s a pro or con. I could be more frank with a man (unless his name IS Frank) and lay of the mushiness that tends to swarm the interview room when it is a female interviewer.

Why are women or the woman-woman relationships so full of mush? I specifically avoided any female therapists for this reason. Plus, with a male therapist, you can more easily avoid topics concerning your menstrual cycle and such. Although….I’ve often wondered what would happen if I said….

God. My period is so heavy right now. Even if I wear tampons it just flows right on by. And clots. Do you realize how large they can be?! I might as well just sit on the toilet for a week instead of trying to plug the flow or ride free on a piece of cloth.

How disgusting would that be? It could be good for a laugh at my therapists’ facial reaction. Just kidding of course. On a less sickening note, I feel so luck about my period. I used to suffer through 7 days of it but several years ago, boom! Suddenly it was only 3-4 days and now only 3. Even with that said, I still say the greatest modern invention is the tampon. It’s so nice not to have your period ruin your life.

Ah, the things you never expect people to post about on a blog. 😉

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2011 in Therapy, Work

 

Applying for Work

I have been holding out for a specific job. It doesn’t look like it is going to become a reality for me in the near future, so I’ve been hunting down other work options. I haven’t worked in more than a year. I refuse to work for minimum wage, which has also brought few options in my area.

I decided that I would try to get re-hired with an organization that I’ve worked for in the past. I dolled up my resume and cover letter and sent it off, only to have an email reply that told me I needed to fill out an application package and that they can’t view my resume/cover letter file.

I’ve filled out this application twice already! Don’t they keep it on file? How annoying!

The package doesn’t even allow me to fill it out on my computer. I have to print it and fill it out by hand. I’m not even applying for an advertised position, sadly enough. One thing that is different this time, is that I’ve asked for at least the same pay I left with, if not more because of my education (which is far and beyond what the average worker has).

This is mightily brave of me, as I have never done this in the past. I never tell people what I want from them. Hopefully, this is a step in a good direction.

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2011 in Work

 

Unsettling Dreams

Last night, I had a pretty confusing dream. Something bad was going on and I had to call the police. I had some difficulty finding a a phone and when I did, I couldn’t make the call because I didn’t have the money. I was able to pick up the phone and someone talked to me in a foreign language. I asked in French if they could speak English (though they weren’t talking in French). They wouldn’t connect me.

I went outside and was trying to think where I could get some money. Then I noticed a piece of change on the ground. When I bent down, I could see there was lots of change! I picked up a lot of change and went back to make the call.

That part of the dream ends.

The next part, I’m thinking about killing myself. I’m ready, the plan is in full action, but I just can’t get to the end. Something was holding me back from the darkness making me unable to get to that “freedom”.

I’ve had the police dreams before. I can’t get ahold of them when I need to – they are always just out of reach. I don’t think I’ve dreamt of suicide before. Dreaming about it made me wake up feeling depressed and thinking about suicide. I’ve had a good few weeks without suicide issues, so this is a disappointment. I did have a break and some relief from it, so I can’t really complain.

I’m not sure what it is supposed to mean. Sometimes, I can’t make my fingers dial. Sometimes I don’t have money. Sometimes I am panicking when I try to call.

Does it have to do with me asking for help? Being afraid to ask for help? I am already seeking help through doctors and a therapist. I don’t think I’ve ever said “Please, help me” to any of them though.

I know that to some degree, they can’t help me. At some point it has to be me doing the changing. Maybe I’m afraid that they can’t really help me. That I’m beyond their help. Maybe I’m afraid to ask for help when I know they can’t.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2011 in Mental Health

 

Deciding on Treatment for Mental Health Disorders

It’s been awhile since my last therapy appointment, but I have one booked for next week. I feel relieved to be going back. It gives me something to focus on that is positive rather than negative.

I’ve been doing well with the suicide ideation. I haven’t had any issues that drove me to that point. I have had quite a bit of anxiety and depression mixed though. I suppose my shrink would classify this as a mixed episode. I have grown tired of any official labelling myself.

There are a lot of pressing issues right now, though. I have to make some decisions about how I want to go about treating my mental health issues. I am trying to get my head around the issues and the variables of my options, but the fear of it all is keeping me from finding any solutions.

I don’t know if I should write everything down on paper before my appointment next week. I don’t know if my anxiety would let me write it out or read it off during session. Other times that I have written things down and handed them to my therapist to read, I have found that I got a lot less out of the experience. It almost felt like I didn’t talk about it.

So what is more important? Simply getting my therapist the information faster by writing it out for him to read but not feeling I even told him, or trying to talk it out and run the risk of emotions taking over, leaving me gasping for air and possibly crying?

Option one sounds better but that feeling of not even talking about it is very odd….almost like you went to someone else’s therapy session and just listened in.

I still have some time to figure it out.

 
 

This is My Story

Living with a mental health condition is something that I would wish on no one. Even though I had been exposed to the life through a family member, I never understood in the slightest how life could be with such a burden.

I had no compassion, no understanding, no desire to educate myself.

And now, when I desperately seek acceptance and understanding, I realize that no one will fully understand unless they too have gone through the same trials. Even then, it is easy to still be a stigmatizer instead of an accepter.

There are many aspects of mental illness that I know or understand anything about. I judge others harshly, I admit it. It’s scary to realize that I’m supporting stigmas to issues that I so desperately want others to accept. There always seems to be someone else, someone that I can’t accept; their behaviour, the person they portray, their lies…..so many things.

This is me. Broken and failing.

I’m not giving up though. And this is my story.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2011 in Mental Health