Okay. Time to get real. I have been wanting to do this entry for awhile. And dreading doing it for a long time. Wanting to do it because I want to be honest and not pretend. Dreading it because of the stigma that's involved. Okay, let me just get it over with.
I'm Bipolar. I have Manic Depression. I was diagnosed about seven years ago I guess. Actually I was diagnosed with clinical depression as a teenager and my diagnosis was changed to bipolar about seven years ago.
That's why I don't ever mention going to a job. I can't work. I am on disability.
Sometimes when I do entries in here I feel like such a fraud, not saying very much that I do during the day. That is because my days are filled up with therapy appointments (I just didn't want to admit going!) and doctor's appointments (I have a lot of physical illnesses too). Well I am tired of not mentioning these things anymore, so I think I am going to start putting them in here now. Oh, I am getting more brave and honest, aren't I? It is just that I feel tired of hiding parts of my life from certain people.
Wherever I go I hide this part of my life from different people. If I volunteer, sometimes I have to hide it, because sometimes people don't want you to volunteer if they know you are bipolar. Once I had somebody actually say to me, you can volunteer, and you can be in my group, but don't let anyone in the group know you are bipolar, and don't let them know you are unemployed. I went several years hiding major parts of my life from these people because I was told to do so until I decided it was ridiculous. Living in shame is ridiculous.
Sometimes people don't want to be friends with you. Sometimes people at church don't even want to hang around with you. Fortunately my family doesn't reject me.
It is stupid. Bipolar is a chemical disorder. There is a problem with your brain chemistry. I searched the internet to find a good article, because I am not too equipped at explaining it, and found this website: http://bipolar.about.com/cs/menu_science/a/press_umich021O.htm . Click on the article entitled Evidence of Brain Chemistry Abnormalities in Bipolar Disorder. It is the first article.
So, if you want to, you can ask me any questions you like. I will answer some now.
Yes, I take medication for it. Six kinds. I have to stay fine tuned!
Yes, I go to therapy. Once a week.
Yes, I have a psychiatrist. I see her once a month. She is the best. Together we make plans for me.
Yes, I have been hospitalized. Four times. But it has been a couple of years.
Yes, I still get depressed and manic. And some days I am even. I have been depressed lately. For months.
And I have learned lots of coping skills in addition to therapy and medication. Cognitive therapy (thinking things through instead of catastrophizing). Relaxation. Having fun. Destimulation and meditation (if I am manic). Playing with my cat. Finding something constructive to do if I am depressed (sometimes difficult!). Exercise or going for a walk. Calling a friend to talk things over. Writing in a journal to get my thoughts out. And many more.
Finally, I would like to say my faith in Jesus Christ is the thing that gets me through.
If you have any questions to ask please feel free. And oh yeah, since I am a little insecure, do you still like me, lol?!