I have BP II, and lived in and out of hospitals for 10 years, enduring too many meds and ECTs, and basically just wanted to *expire*. But finally found a pdoc who knew what the h**l he was doing and put me on the right meds and now I am working full-time. A struggle though.
I wrote this article for my blog, but hope it helps anyone who feels the same as I.
My self-confidence and self-esteem went down the toilet very shortly after my first hospitalization. The gigantic hands of depression were holding onto me ever so tightly. I was losing my thinking process, the career I built and mostly I was losing me.
I went from working full-time, as an accounting supervisor for a large manufacturing corporation, to essentially a piece of fluff. People routinely came to me for answers; now I spent my days sitting in solitude or meandering the hospital halls to pass the time. Was this the life I was sentenced to?
It was incredible the change in me; virtually a child standing behind his mother’s dress, frightened to ask or speak up. I was even nervous ordering a pizza via the telephone. Previously, I was forever the one who would enter a room, introduce herself, perform a speech and feel right at ease. Wow! A complete 360º. Mental illness does this to a human being; and instead of possessing that comfortable leather skin that gets us through the rough situations, we find ourselves now only dressed in chiffon.
These are rough roads and undeserved journeys. Some of us have taken these roads/journeys over and over, and question when will the “under construction” terminate, giving way to smooth, fresh pavement.
It has taken me a few years, and I have some of my confidence back. The self-esteem, I’m still working on. Sometimes I’d still rather hide, but I know I can’t. My job entails working with the public, therefore forced to be somewhat “self-confident” looking and sounding. Actually, this self-esteem/confidence thing is a lot of self-talk, and the support has to be there as you begin the “baby steps”.
I have been back to work 1 1/2 years now, and after a rough day I retire to my blog "Living in Stigma". It's catartic and I thinks it helps others with mental illness.
Have a great day!