Lifestyle Magazine

Mental Health Mondays – What Are You Thinking? A Peek into a Young, Bipolar Mind.

By Bewilderedbug @bewilderedbug

Mental Health is a serious issue affecting our society today.

In an effort to get rid of the negativity and the stigma against mental illness, these brave women have chosen to share their stories with you.

Be nice, read, reflect and respond reasonably.

Mental Health Mondays – What are you thinking? A peek into a young, bipolar mind.

This post is from Aarica who blogs over at Aarica’s Makeup Review.  This one is a bit long, but it is worth the read – so maybe take a break halfway in and get back to it


What are you thinking???

That’s a loaded question all on its own, but when asking it to a person with Bipolar Disease, it can seem like the end of the world.

I am going to tell you my story, but to get to the wonderful present, we have to start with the dark past.

The doctors decided that this journey started in 2004, but I know better.

I was just starting college in Ottawa in a program I had worked my butt off to get into – I was one of 30 people they let in that year. I was 17 years old and scared out of my mind.  When I arrived at the college, I saw my whole life unfolding; who I was and who I was becoming.  It is a scary but wonderful feeling that you get the moment you realize your dreams are coming true, when everything your worked so hard for and sacrificed for was finally happening.

I loved my classes.  It was a hard and demanding program, but I was ready and willing to do all the hard work needed to achieve my childhood dreams.  I was going to be a Museum Curator in the capital of our country where some of the best museums and galleries are.

I know you are all wondering what a 17 year old could be sacrificing. Well for starters, my life as I knew it.  I was so sheltered until that point, I was no longer a child at home with a loving family and I was alone for the first time in my whole life, I had left my boyfriend, family and friends.  Everyone I knew was four hours away.

Many people may see this as an opportunity for freedom and at first I did too. I was seeing a whole new world and it was amazing.  But what was once viewed as this new freedom would quickly turn into pain, regret and sadness.  I was becoming a new person, someone I had wanted to be for so long, but at what cost?

The life I left behind seemed so far away and the only thing that connected me to it was phone calls to my mom once or twice a week and the phone and internet communications with my boyfriend.  I knew, at the time that he was the one, but I wouldn’t let our relationship influence where I went to school.  He was my best friend’s older brother and he loved me for who I was unconditionally.

When my boyfriend came to visit, bringing another male friend with him, I had been at school for just over three weeks and I had lost a lot of weight.  I was a size 18 when I left for school by this point I was a 12-13. That should have been the first sign.  Most students complain about putting on the “Freshman Fifteen”.

While my friends were visiting, my boyfriend and I got in a huge fight and I decided to stay in another friend’s room.  It was nothing new; I had slept in the same bed with this male friend a hundred times and did not expect that this time be any different. I was so tired that I fell asleep right away and was woken by a kiss.  Not being fully awake, and thinking I was still in my boyfriend’s room, I kissed him back and realized that it wasn’t who I thought it was.

I see this as having cheated, not that I really knew it until it was too late, but none the less it happened and I couldn’t change it.  I woke up the next morning, scared out of my mind about what had happened and what my boyfriend would say.  I just knew I couldn’t tell him.

I am not a good liar and never have been, but I played the part pretty well.  I couldn’t stop thinking about how stupid I was and what I had done to my soul mate. I waited until they were back home and away from each other before I told my boyfriend what had happened.

He forgave me but I couldn’t stop thinking about what I had done. That is one thing that is hard for me to do.

Move on? What does that mean?

The more he forgave me, the less I could forgive myself and the less I slept. I wanted nothing more than to go about my normal life. I just couldn’t.

After four days of no sleep I went to a walk-in clinic to see a doctor.   My school work was on the back burner and I was lucky if I even went to class.  The doctor said he was so used to seeing students that just get to much work and can’t seem to sleep so he prescribed a sleeping pill.

I went and filled the prescription, even though I was nervous about my heart condition.  He said they were safe, but I couldn’t bring myself to take them.  There are a few things after getting the sleeping pills that happened that contributed to my decision not to take them.

After that it becomes almost a blur, I remember it, but it almost feels like I didn’t live it at all. There are things in this time I can’t talk about because I am just not ready to show that side of me, but I can tell you that it was my breaking point and I am not proud of it.

I was starting to retreat from the friends I had made at school and even my room mate was hardly seeing me. I would MSN with my boyfriend but it only led to argument. There were days when I was perfect when I went out with friends and called my boyfriend to talk for three hours until he had to go to bed.

But then I was left alone with my thoughts.

The worst night of my life was when I was talking to my boyfriend and he asked me what I had wanted for Christmas.  I was listing things for him when, out of nowhere, I changed the subject and got really sad.  He noticed right away and immediately asked what was wrong, but I lied and told him that nothing was wrong. I said I just want to go to sleep.

He still knew something was up so he called again 15 minutes later, just to hear my voice one more time that night.

I told him that I was so tired, but couldn’t sleep so I would be taking a sleeping pill.

I decided to read the bottle and it said DO NOT TAKE IF YOU HAVE A HEART CONDITION. It then dawned on me that if I took more then one I would have a great sleep but maybe I shouldn’t because of the warning on the label.

I told my boyfriend that I was going to take 2 or more and he wanted me to not take the pills, but to just lay down and relax. That’s when I confided in him that I had not slept in about a week.

I hung up the phone at that point and refused to answer it again. He called a friend of mine and told them the situation.  He told them that I was going to take more than 2 pills to go to sleep and that he was scared.  They found me sitting in my room, crying with 15 pills in my hand and a glass of water, ready to take them all.  They took the pills from me, called my boyfriend to let him know everything was okay and then took me to the hospital

At the hospital, they hooked me up to machines and did some tests and then left me in a dark, cold room and checked on me only once. It was about 5am when the doctor came and she gave me a choice – to go upstairs where all the crazy people are or to go back to my dorm and sleep for two hours, get up and don’t sleep until that night.  She referred me to another doctor.

I took the latter choice. I mean who wouldn’t?

My friends had stayed all night waiting for me – I still love them for that.

On the way back to the dorm, I called the doctor they had referred me to and made an appointment with him on the Monday after (this was a Friday). I went to my room and dozed off when, all of a sudden my cell phone rang, waking me up.  It was my boyfriend telling me that he was on his way and that he would be with me in 2 hours. He also told me his mom and his sister (my best friend) was on their way as well and that they would arrive around the same time.

He got there and everything was a daze.  I was so tired I could barely talk and my speech was slurred. His mom was a nurse and knew right away that something was wrong, but all the doctors said I was fine.  My best friend and her mother left but my boyfriend stayed with me.

Monday morning, my boyfriend took me back to the hospital for my meeting and I told them everything that had happened to lead up to this point.  They asked if my Dad was in my life, and told me that it was his fault for never being there for me when I told him that he was there mainly on the weekends.  They told me that I was fine so I left and went home.

I never did go back to school. I packed a bag for a week to go home and only went back to school 3 weeks later to pack the rest of my things.

Eventually, I finally found a doctor that LISTENED to me and who figured out what was wrong.

I started trying pills after pills until we found one that worked (Effxor).

That was the last medication I have ever taken for my bipolar.

With therapy and writing, I have been medication free for five years.

I have my ups and downs but I know how to manage them and see them coming.

About 3 years ago, my best friend who had been through this with me died and I was completely devastated.  I couldn’t get out of bed, I felt numb and didn’t want to see anyone. I called the doctor and he filled a prescription of Effxor for me.  I took one pill and decided that this situation would not be what broke me.

If  I can work through what I have gone through and come out on the other side, I know that others can too.

They just need to have the right doctors, family, friends and support to do this.

I now have a wonderful two year old boy; he’s the best thing to ever happened to me. I broke up with the boyfriend that went through my experiences with me after 5 years of being together and met someone new.  The father of my son is my new support system and with him, I feel confident enough to share my story that no one else, but the people who were directly involved knew about.

This is me claiming my power over an illness I had no control over in the beginning.  I know that I can close a dark chapter in my life because I can finally talk about it openly.

So, when people ask me what I am thinking, I say about my life, it might have had some pretty dark moments but it’s mine and without it there would be no me and the person I have become.

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