My mental health story #mentalhealthmonth

Anxious as the roller coaster climbs up the track, knowing that the climb is just temporary. Once the car reaches the end of its incline, it steadies itself at the top. Rocking back and forth, all I can think of is the fact that soon the car will go flying down into the depths of darkness. I am unsure of how long the darkness will last, but I feel hopeful that this time it will be short. I have faith that the darkness will pass and the light will come again quickly. 

Having misdiagnosed Bipolar II is just like that. 

It is a roller coaster ride from "normal" into darkness. At times you can be smiling and laughing and then the next day, you are fighting to get out of bed because something in your brain just plunged you into a giant, deep, dark hole of depression. How long will you be in this hole? Well, unfortunately there is no telling. The only silver lining is that you know that it can't last that long. 

I was diagnosed with depression in my early teens. I tried a lot of different "happy pills", but when I couldn't find one that worked well with me, I decided to go medicine free. And I was doing great until my son was born. Then it all went to h*ll. 

I would get up multiple times a night just to check on my son, to see if he was breathing. I would cry for no reason. I would want to sleep all the time and sometimes I felt like I was a horrible mom because it physically hurt to cope. I never cleaned the house. I always smelled like baby puke. I felt alone. I felt numb.

Knowing that my depression "episode" was getting worse, I talked to my doctor. She told me that I could either take "happy pills" or I needed to start relying on family to give me a break here and there. I knew I didn't want to be medicated, so I chose the latter. 

And I felt ok. For a while. 

My gynecologist was the first doctor that I said ok to medication with. 

He was doing my annual and asked how I was. Granted this was after he did his "thing" and I was still almost naked on his exam table. I told him that I felt numb. That I had no interest in things that made me happy anymore. After talking a bit more, he wrote me a script and told me to just try the medication. I said ok. After two months, my dosage was increased. I was "getting by". I had more happy days. My moods were somewhat stable. 

And then the next "episode" sprung itself on me after my car accident. It. was. horrible. You don't understand the physical pain of depression until you experience it first hand. Yes, I was hurt from my car accident (and I am still), but the depression pain was ALL OVER. It was a chore to wash my face and brush me teeth, because it took so much energy from me. 

I returned to my gynecologist to see if he would increase my medication. It seemed to work great until the post-car-accident "episode", so I figured maybe it would help after. He, of course, said that psychiatrics was not in his scope of medicine and told me to go see a "real" psychiatrist.

A few months later, I had my first appointment with my psych doctor. She was sweet, nice, understanding, a great listener, and diagnosed me with Bipolar II, OCD, ADD, and Anxiety. 

Joyful, right?

She finally opened my eyes and told me that the depression roller coaster I seemed to be on, was actually Bipolar II. She told me that I wasn't crazy, alone, or out of my mind. She said that sometimes Bipolar II is misdiagnosed as depression, because a person doesn't get high highs and low lows, they only have itty bitty highs, "normal", and low lows. And they continuously cycle through it.

Honestly, I think that is a crock of sh*t... I mean, if I'm going to have Bipolar, then I want the high highs along with the low AF depression. And I just don't want a little bit- I want the staying up for three days straight, partying, going off the deep end, waking up in a different state because I have no idea what just happened the past few days mania. Cue Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night". 

Ok, yes I am kidding! Truthfully, after I was diagnosed, I did feel like I was getting the short end of the stick. Especially when I would talk about it --->

Me: So yeah, I have Bipolar. 
Friend: ... Looks at you like you are going to go crazy at any time

Yeah, now you see what I am talking about, huh?

Anyways, once I was diagnosed with the four big ones, I finally decided that medication was the way to go. I was tired of feeling like crap and tired of dealing with moods that would be normal and then get all f-ed up. My psych doctor put me on a mood stablizer first, which started my lovely "test subject" status. 

Since I was diagnosed, I have been on four different mood stabilizers, had an increase in one of the mood stabilizers, started ADD medication, then had two increases, and even quit one of my medications cold turkey (a post for another day). The good thing is that my moods are evening out, and I have more energy. 

Honestly, I had never been an advocate for medication until my diagnosis, but after, I knew that medication would be the only thing to help me cope. Sure, I am not exactly where I want to be yet, but I am getting there. Medication has helped me To help me be a better mother. To help me focus on the good. To help me smile. To help me not just survive, but to live. Well at least some form of it. 

If you are struggling with any type of mental health issues and need someone to talk to, please reach out to one of these websites.
Mental Health Government page
NIMH- National Institute of Mental Health
Mental Health America

To read more about my mental health struggles:

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