“I have bipolar 1 disorder, rapid cycling with severe mood disorder. I’ve had it since I can remember. As a young child when I would get upset, I would cry to my mom that I wanted to kill myself. She thought this was normal behavior for children. In kindergarten, I tried to walk in front of a moving tractor trailer truck, but it swerved out of the way. This was the beginning of my poorly executed suicide attempts.
A few years later while in our bathroom, I found a razor blade and while playing with it, I sliced my finger. I watched the blood flow in the stream of water from the faucet and it gave me such a calming feeling. I was doing this before anyone even knew what cutting was. I was probably in the 4th grade – this was the mid 80’s and it had not yet become quite as known as it is now. But I enjoyed it, and this became a nightly ritual.
In high school, I would fill up a couple of thermoses with beer and be sort of drunk by the time I got to school. Later, I realized I was doing this to self-medicate. A couple years after I graduated, my anger escalated, and I began banging my head on the wall until it would bleed, pulling out my hair, and trembling throughout my whole body. Finally, I was sent to the doctor and was diagnosed as having a nervous breakdown. I continued to drink and soon started smoking weed. Later, my addiction grew to taking pills. People around me started disappearing.
My symptoms continued to worsen – the depression and the anxiety, and oh such recklessness. Either I wouldn’t come out of bed for days at a time or I was going days on such little sleep. I was finally sent to a psychiatrist and was diagnosed as manic depressive (also known as bipolar) and put on antidepressants. If you have bipolar, you know bipolar and antidepressants alone do not make a good combo, because the anti-depressants may be treating the depression side, but it’s leaving the mania side wide open to have a field day. I was a mess with no one around me.
I lived like that on my own for a few years before deciding to join a gym. And boy am I glad I did! As soon as I saw my trainer, I was hooked. He was sweet, funny, handsome, and he listened to me. I knew he was the one. As soon as my sessions were up, we were dating. I was trying to be a semi normal human, but soon the real me came out. The anger, the passion, the love, the violence… but that man did not leave my side. I would yell and scream and cry and apologize, and he would not leave my side. I would throw things, punch holes in walls, and he would not leave my side. One night, I was all alone and so sad that I took the remainder of the sleeping pills I had with hopes of never waking up. I cried the next morning when that’s exactly what happened. But he still stood by my side with a love for me I had never known before. No matter what I did, said, or how I acted, he stood right by my side. He was the one.
I cleaned myself up and we got married. A few years later came a baby. I loved my baby with everything I had, but it came at a hefty price. My bipolar had grown even more fierce than it had ever been before. Within a couple of years, I was planning my next suicide attempt. I would take the car out in hopes of getting enough courage to ram it into a wall or off of a cliff. One hot sunny day, I told my husband I was going for a drive. Instead, I tried to fall asleep in the car, hoping somehow that would take my life. I have to put this in here because people are going to wonder how you could do that with a child. Honestly, when I was that low, I thought my child and my family would be more happy without me around. I know it’s hard to understand, but that’s really what I thought, that I was doing them a favor. I was hospitalized this time for a 5150 and was there for about a week. While in the hospital, I was finally put on a cocktail of meds for my disorder. Every day my husband would visit with my son. He was always by my side. He was the one. I got out and things were pretty uneventful for about a year, and then it started again.
There was this certain tree on my way to work that I would fantasize everyday about ramming with my car. Each day as I passed this tree, the fantasy became stronger and stronger. The final morning I stopped my car in front of the tree. It took everything I had to drive away, but the people at work had now realized what was going on and I was hospitalized again, this time a 5250. But every day my husband came. He never left my side. I got out of the hospital and took a year off work. I even had a procedure done called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. If you’ve never heard of it, you should look it up. It’s pretty cool.
I went back to work, and within 4 months, I was writing my goodbye letter on my work computer. I had gone out to my car, had a handful of pills in one hand, a bottle of water in the other, and then my husband called. I fought with my heart whether to pick up the phone or not. My heart won. My husband kept me on the phone while he came and got me. A week later, I actually swallowed those pills, this time a handful more than I had planned to earlier, only to have absolutely nothing come of it, once again. I never went back to work and we nearly lost everything. But my husband, he stood by my side. It’s been 3.5 years since that happened.
My husband is a personal trainer, but he also teaches. He teaches me and my son how to be grateful for what we have in our life, even though we don’t have much. He teaches me how to be understanding, how to take a breath when I’m anxious or upset, how to love others when they don’t necessarily give you love back. How to accept that others do not know what you’re going through. He’s stood by my side and taught me things and has shown me a life I thought I could never achieve having bipolar disorder. It’s taken 40 years to get here but hey, I made it. I still have hiccups. No one has a perfect life, but each morning I have a choice to get out of bed and face the day or lay there and hide from it. Most of the time I choose to face the day. Sure, my meds make me pretty boring and they add a lot of extra weight to my body, but I can deal with it. My husband tells me almost every day to love myself and not worry about what others are thinking. He is my one. I don’t know if this inner happiness will last forever, but I’m enjoying and taking advantage of each and every day I have with my family.
If you’re lost, stop looking because the one will find you. The one that will stand by your side when everyone else leaves. You’re one may be in a different form than mine, but they will find you. They are out there. And they will teach you that this life is beautiful and worth every heartache. Stop looking, because the one will find you. They are out there, and they will find you.”
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