I am new to this webpage, however, not new to the life I have experienced, through the eyes and "unquiet mind" (a phrase of Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, which I will elaborate on later) of being bipolar. Let me share a little, and hopefully it will be an encouragement to all...which is what I know I have needed more than anything in the past.
Before I began writing, I scanned many other posts, reading what seemed to be my life through other's words. I responded immediately to a member who, like me seemed to love the creativity their life posessed. I am not sure when my bipolar began to show up, but I do know that the life that began to unfold for me by the age of 16 (many years ago) was nothing short of a mess, where other young adults were coming together, and seemed to all take shape....they were facing a world of opportunity ahead of them with college, etc. while I was headed straight for some of the darkest periods of my life with no explanation.
*Skip forwards a few years....My memory loss became extensive. I have heard it called a blackout period, where the mania gets so bad that memory doesn't hold many things. To this day I can only remember the darkest periods. I holed up in my college apartment for days at a time, not leaving, except to drive around my college town in states of horrible mania, shopping for what would turn into ten hours without a break....all episodes which began developing at a fast rate during high school.
I stopped going to classes...they were painful to sit through, my mind would race, but I was so sad, so flustered by the images that flashed through the back of my eyes, controlling everything that I did. Everything I did was unstable--even my frienships.
I remember sitting on my floor, crying, calling my mother saying I couldn't move, I was so tired, scared, and so sad...I was sitting on top of piles of laundry that I had washed in a day in a state of mania...which had spiked so high that I came crashing down with the laundry on my floor. The next thing I knew I was laying on my parent's living room sofa--TWO STATES AWAY from my college town--I had driven six hours without knowing I had done it.
I told them I couldn't do it anymore. I knew something was wrong. The years of struggling with crazy amounts of energy then opposite lows had taken its toll on a young adult. My mother had a friend in her church who was a psychiatrist. She lended my mom a book....
which I HIGHLY recommend to anyone struggling with BP. It is called "An Unquiet Mind," by Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison.
She is one of the leading Dr.'s in the country who deal with BP...not only a doctor, but she herself is Bipolar. I read the story... and like reading the stories of all those on this page, I was reading my own.
I went to see a specialist....I was diagnosed, and I cried. Not merely out of sadness, but out of relief. I was going to get help. And I was going to be young again. The feeling of age had come so soon, debilitating me for years.
We all know though, the battle was not over. The first thing I noticed to change was my handwriting. I had many different handwritings....beautiful, decorative, creative. I was a writer, an artist, and a perfectionist. Everything changed. I didn't see things as manic as I used to. I use that phrase because I thought that I was losing a part of me. I thought that if I was to ever get married, that individual wouldn't know "the real me." I thought I would lose friends and other relationships. I was worried that I wouldn't know myself.
The only thing that I wouldn't know ended up being the mall. : )
The spikes of mania left. The images which had before flashed before my eyes stopped giving me panic attacks. Everything dark, gloomy, scary, rushed, panicked...anything associated with constant fear vanished within a few months.
I have had a wonderful circle of friends, family, and counselors. I have found a degree which I love and am able to focus on. I have come to realize there is nothing to fear anymore as long as I stay on my medication, keep reminding myself that I AM STRONG, and I DO hold the power to control my life.
Bipolar is a part of me. It is the part which has created me to appreciate everything in my life. I thought Beauty was something I would never see again without mania...but it turns out that beauty is something I do not have to RELY on mania to appreciate. After being on my medication (Trileptal 300mg/twice daily) the next semester in college I received a 4.0. I had never recieved higher than a 2.2. I see the beauty in everything and cannot wait for the next day to come.
To all of those who have just begun their journey with Bipolar--do not be scared! The satisfaction and appreciation for your own life will come---clear, wonderful, and beautiful. Take care of yourself, love yourself, and give yourself credit for the strength which has brought you this far....you have so much to look forwards to...it IS A BEAUTIFUL DAY!
Good luck, *Sarah