Tag Archives: bipolar

How Being Mentally Ill Can Leave You Feeling Completely Alone

I guess before I get into writing this story I should probably share a few details about myself and my situation in life…I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder about 25 years ago and am still to this day struggling with that battle. A quick easy explanation of the difference between Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2 would be that with Bipolar 1 you will experience full on manic episodes where with Bipolar 2 you may experience Hypomania but your issues lie more in your full on depressive episodes…So Bipolar 1 has more issues with Manic episodes, I do have some depression issues from time to time but my problems have always stemmed from my bad choices and nonstop battle of thoughts in my mind due to me being manic…because of my thoughts racing constantly I am unable to do a lot of things people take for granted such as drive a car because I can not stay focused long enough on one thing to do so…When I was about 22 or 23 I moved back home with my parents because I wasn’t handling my illness very well and that is where I’ve stayed to this day…So that’s where I’m at in my life right now 41 years old, can’t drive and living with my mother…it’s embarrassing to admit even knowing it isn’t my fault I’m in this boat.

You will see a lot of evidence of my illness in my writing, I may jump from subject to subject or add in things that have nothing to do with anything, when I write I don’t plan it out, it comes from my mind straight onto the keyboard and then onto the screen…this will most likely be much longer than I first expected and I’m sure it took me days to write it because there’s no way I just sit here and focus on writing for all that long.

I guess I’ll start back when I was around 17-18 years old my attendance at school suddenly became non existent, I started making really stupid choices and just not ever thinking of the consequences…it was also the age where I started feeling super awkward around people, at first it was just people I didn’t know well and it slowly over a few years turned into even feeling like a stranger around my own family…I went to a high school called Pinkerton Academy in NH and my grades were actually great, I never had an issue with school…it all came pretty naturally to me but I started to have a real issue with the socializing part of things in my senior year and instead of the school working with me and trying to help me get through my last year, the headmaster Mr .Bode called my parents and told them he thought it’d be better if I just dropped out…So that’s what I did, got a job at Wendy’s and started trying to live a normal life.

Keep in mind that I hadn’t been diagnosed with anything at this point so I had no clue why my life and my emotions were going off the rails…I just couldn’t understand why I was the way I was…it became harder and harder for me to be around people to the point where I could only tolerate it if I was drunk or high in some way and that’s where I leaned when I needed to stop feeling the way I was feeling…I was an alcoholic before I was even old enough to drink

So as I said I was trying to live a normal life, moved out of my parents house and got a place in Manchester NH with my GF at the time and a couple of my buddies and there was a short period of time where I even believed that I could pull it off, I could be a “normal” person but then the night came where I was robbed at knife point…in my own living room…that night broke me for good…shortly after that is when I moved up to northern Maine to get away from everything and try to get better and at first my GF moved up with me and things were good for a while but she didn’t understand the changes she was seeing in me…how could she? I didn’t even understand them…so she eventually left and went back home and then there I was 6 hours away from anyone I’d ever known with just my parents around but it was in that time that I was able to get properly diagnosed and start treatment to try and get better.

It might sound so easy…go to a doctor, get the meds you need and you’ll get better except with Bipolar Disorder that is the furthest thing from the truth of how it all goes down….it is a horribly difficult illness to medicate properly as it pretty much constantly changes and evolves…if you don’t need dosage increases you’ll need new different meds at some point….in 25 years the best they’ve been able to do for me is keep me from getting worse, all the problems I had in my 20s I still have today, I still can’t socialize and as you can probably tell from my writing it is still very difficult for me to focus on one thing at a time…I’m very responsible about my illness, i never miss a dose of my meds, I never miss an appointment with my doctors and yet still it is a battle I’m losing every day.

Around the age of 25 is when I met my son’s mother…oddly enough we met on Myspace and hit it off immediately…the first time I met her in person was a game changer for me…I didn’t feel awkward around her, I felt as if I’d known her my whole life, I hadn’t felt this way around someone in well over a decade…I quite literally fell in love with her at first sight…I know sounds corny but it is what it is….instead of feeling like I can’t wait to get away from people and hide out in my own space I actually missed her like crazy when she wasn’t here and looked so forward to seeing her again…We dated for 3 years or so and before I knew it she was pregnant and I was actually super excited rather than afraid or worried…this is exactly what I needed in my life, normalcy and someone who accepts me for me with no conditions put on their love…except the day my son was born something changed in her…I don’t know what happened but that day it was like a switch flipped inside her and from that day on she just always hated me with a passion…so when my son was around 9 months old I woke up in the morning to a cop standing over me telling me she was leaving me and taking my son…I still to this day do not understand what happened and it all crushed me in a way that I’ve still not come back from. I never cheated on her or abused her in any way, it’s just something I’ll never understand.

In the 10 year or so since she left me I’ve had an uphill battle with not only my illness but my self esteem…pretty much secluding myself from the entire world except for my son’s time here with me and my best friend coming up to visit once or twice a year for a weekend…besides that it’s just been me and my parents and my dad actually passed away a few years after she left me so it’s really just been me and my mom…my mom has always been my rock, the one person I can always count on and I guess that’s part of where this overwhelming feeling of dread is coming from lately…you see my mom was just recently diagnosed with Leukemia and was given about a year to live…besides all the normal reasons that kind of news will really mess someone up I also have these intense worries about my own future now that just won’t leave my mind alone.

People don’t understand mental illness typically, friends you’ve known since 5th grade will drop you like a bad habit….someone you love with every ounce of your being will leave you because you had 1 single bad manic episode in 4 years…As I said before I can’t drive, it just wouldn’t be safe and my mom has always been there to help me get around when I needed but now I’m looking at a future where I’m alone and a 6 hour drive from anyone that really cares if I live or die…I’m in a very rural area as well so getting around by foot isn’t possible…as it stands now my two choices for the future are stay put here and struggle to even get to the store for food on a regular basis or move back to NH where my sister and my close friend live and I’ll have people there for me but then I’ll live 7 hours away from my son and hardly ever get to see him…both those choices just fucking suck and I’m really in a place where I have no clue what to do…I’m just fucking lost these days.

So that’s where I’m at in my life…here helping my mom out repaying her for all her kindness throughout my life but knowing in the near future I may just be in a position that I literally can’t survive in…even in the progressive society we live in today there is so much stigma attached to mental illness and that stigma very often leaves people like me out in the cold on our own someday…I’ve come to the conclusion that no woman is going to want to stay with someone like me long term and I’ve accepted that I’ll be alone in those regards probably my whole life but man I gotta tell you…I envy happy couples when I see them together and it does make me miss those feelings sometimes.

I’m a weird person and that’s okay, I write my thoughts to a blog that hardly anyone reads…I haven’t been on a date in a decade…I only have one friend that I see pretty rarely…I guess I’m writing this to say please don’t judge people like me because we’re already judging ourselves so harshly…we’re not like this on purpose, it wasn’t a choice…please remember that in the future and show people more kindness…you’d be amazed what just one nice thing can do to change someone’s day or even life.

I know I rant a lot but hopefully this article is cohesive enough for people that do read it to get it, if even just a little bit.

Understanding Depression and Clearing up some Confusion Over It

While browsing Twitter this morning like I always do I came across a tweet that said “Depression isn’t a mental illness, it’s just hopelessness from the hardships of life” and it reminded me just how badly some people misunderstand what depression really is. sure there is situational depression, the bad things in our lives will of course bring us down but if those bad things end so does the situational depression, that’s not the case with clinical depression.

Caused by a chemical imbalance in our brains clinical depression can wreak havoc on anyone’s lives no matter how well that life might be going. often the people in your life can take it personally and feel like if they made you happy and you loved them then you wouldn’t be depressed and not only is that an incorrect way of thinking about it but blaming someone and guilting them for being depressed will just make it way worse for them.

when it comes to mental illness the most harmful thing you can do is make assumptions without educating yourself about it first, If depression was just about how bad or good your life was going do you think we’d see so many celebrities commit suicide? There is a certain kind of low self esteem that comes along with mental illness and that comes primarily from knowing how a lot of people judge you and view you differently once they know you’re mentally ill.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 disorder 25 years or so ago and can attest to the fact that the worst part about it has been the people I care about misunderstanding my illness and abandoning me because they took it personally, there is nothing more important than the people in our lives understanding what we’re going through. So please next time before you judge , stop and think to yourself that this person can’t help it anymore than a cancer patient can help feeling sick from Chemo

There is a great book on depression – The No-Bullshit Guide to Depression https://amzn.to/2Nb99Wb

Depression and Anxiety have been a part of my life for nearly three decades now and I have been put on so many depression medications I’ve lost track at this point. You see mental health and depression memes a lot online and I can keep a good sense of humor about them but still wish more people had more empathy and sympathy for those of us who have a depression background and although this is not a depression blog or mental health blog I will periodically be posting about this subject as it is near and dear to my heart so be sure to follow me for future postings.

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Mental Illness: A Look From Within

I turned 40 in January of this year and on the surface I seem just like most people but underneath the surface I’m constantly contending with emotional warfare that few can grasp or understand, I started showing signs of depression and anxiety when I was 14 or 15 years old but it wouldn’t be until I was 22 or so that they would properly diagnose me with Bipolar 1 Disorder, so for 7 years I was being medicated with the wrong medications and it ended up making things worse for me in the long run.

Some of the issues I have that stem from my illness are panic attacks, extreme mood swings, so many thoughts going through my head it could drive a person mad and I am rarely able to leave my home for long stretches as I have a dreadful fear of wide open spaces but as much as these issues affect my life and make things really, really hard for me the thing that makes having a mental illness the hardest is how others view or treat you because of it. Mental illness in general triggers something in most people that causes them to see you differently once they know but Bipolar specifically causes a lot of people to view you as unstable and the term is basically just slang for being crazy now, how many times have you heard someone say something like “She was being so Bipolar” when talking about someone that was just being a little difficult rather than someone with an actual illness.

Some of the worst things you can say to someone suffering from depression, anxiety or any other mental illness are things like “Get over it”, “Tough it out” or “Why are you depressed , your life seems so good”. Very often mental illness is caused by a chemical in-balance in the brain and the only option for help are medications and I have a love/hate relationship with medications. I hate the side effects and hate how my meds make me feel but have dealt with my illness long enough to know I need the medication and it’s very important to take it exactly like I’m supposed to.

The stigmas attached to mental illness are a huge part of the problem, there have been countless people that have taken their own lives and allowed their illness to defeat them and most of these people could have been saved just by knowing someone really cared but because most people don’t know how to approach someone with a mental illness these people are often left on their own and forced to give up. When I was in high school I was very popular and outgoing and social and now at 40 years old I have one friend I see twice a year or so and I barely leave my house, one of the for sure symptoms of mental illness, sadly is you’re going to lose a lot of people you care about because they are just incapable of understanding.

I’ve often seen people group the mentally ill and the mentally handicapped together but the truth is the mentally ill are often very highly intelligent, there is nothing quite as annoying as being talked down to condescendingly by someone you’re much more intelligent than.

I just wanted to share some of my story because the people that have stuck around in my life are the one and only reason I’m still here to this day and if more people like me had more people like them the world would be a better place. So please stop and think and try to understand what people are dealing with in their lives because sometimes just letting someone know that you really care about them is enough to save a life.