Being Bipolar….will I ever really be stable?

Bipolar

Bipolar by SimoneBryne at deviantArt.com

Note….At this time one of my medications has stopped working, my psychiatrist has replaced it with another medication, but at this point, I am not stable.  I have recently read through the past year of my blog and my personal journals and feel I haven’t been completely stable for a long time, but I have been manageable….most of the time.  When I reference Bipolar Illness below I am referring to Bipolar I.  There are different types of Bipolar, when you think of classic Manic Depression, you normally think of Bipolar I.

This post is going to come from the heart, and will reveal things I haven’t freely talked about outside of my therapist’s office.

From all the tests, and talking, and everything else psych doctors do, my psychiatrist feels I have had Bipolar tendencies most of my life.  My first suicide attempt was at 11 years of age, but it wasn’t the first time I thought of it.  It just isn’t right for an 11-year-old to think that dying would be for the best.  I remember my sister and I had been arguing….I think…I don’t remember what it was about, or if it really even happened.  I guess that wasn’t important.  I know I silently went into my parent’s bedroom, they weren’t at home, I opened the top drawer of my father’s chest of drawers and took out his pistol.  I knew nothing about guns.  It was in a little holster thing.  I don’t think I even took it out….after all, wouldn’t a bullet go through that leather?  I put it to my head and pulled the trigger.

Nothing happened.  I tried again……Nothing.   By this time I was shaking and thought my sister might find me, I replaced the gun right where I found it, after all it didn’t do me any good.  I don’t know if the gun was empty, if the safety was on…or what.  All I know is that it didn’t do what I thought it would.  What I wanted it to.

How can an 11-year-old child be so depressed that she puts a gun to her head, and pulls the trigger?  Was I scared, yes.  But not because of the reasons you may think.  I was afraid of being caught, afraid of doing it wrong, and very afraid of who would find me and have to deal with the mess.

I didn’t tell anyone.  Not for years and years, actually, not until recently.  Since then I’ve had 3 more suicide attempts and serious thoughts and plans for others.  When I’m depressed I simply cannot believe it will ever get better.  The lady in the dark is whispering her promises that it will be better with her, and she is all I can hear.

When I’m more level, or a bit manic, I cannot believe I would ever think that way.  I even have a hard time when  others are feeling suicidal.  How could that be?  I have had a number of friends reach out to me when they have felt the cold comforting hand of death reaching for them and they are so very tempted to reach out and take hold.  I often just can’t understand how they could feel that way.  They have friends, they are loved…look, they have me.  But didn’t I have friends?  Don’t I have friends?  Was I not loved?  Then why…why can I feel it would be so much better if I simply didn’t exist?  Please don’t get me wrong, I can empathize with my friends who are going through their own darkness, I talk to them and understand their feelings…or at least most of them.  But feeling suicidal is very personal, each person has their own demons.   I know I can’t understand all my friend is feeling because their demons are their demons and I can’t hear or see them.  I can only see the light on the outside, and try to help them see a little glimmer of that light, just enough to give them a bit of hope.  However, I would never judge a person who cannot find that hope….that flicker of light that they need to help them out of the darkness.

Many people think ill of those who commit suicide, and even those who have fought the battle and continue to fight.  I’ve heard how it’s the most selfish thing someone can do.  How they are doomed to everlasting hell.   I don’t think like that.  I know many people who contemplate suicide do so because they think they are such a horrible burden on the people they love.  They are trying so hard not to be selfish.  They do not want to cause those they love any more pain.  Yes, the pain from the suicide is something a loved one cannot get over, but to the person who is deeply depressed and sees this as the only way to save their loved ones…it is the most selfless act they feel they can perform.    Do I think someone who commits suicide is doomed for everlasting hell….no, personally I think they have already been living in it or they never would have committed suicide in the first place.

Suicide is not performed by people who are mentally well.  I will never judge a person until I have lived their lives while looking through their soul.  A mentally ill person does not see things the way a healthy person does.  My views on suicide are just my own.  Please do not judge me.  And please, at this time, do not argue with me….I’m not even sure I could handle a grown-up discussion of different views.  You see, I’m having trouble with my medication, and I’m not stable.  I need to release some of these feelings, but I’m not stable enough to debate them.  I promise, when things are better, I will open this discussion up again, if anyone wants me to, and we can discuss it then.

Oh, the Bipolar…..That is what I started to talk about isn’t it.  It isn’t all about the depression that takes me to the depths of my own hell.  There is that other side, the euphoria of mania.  It can be so seductive.  Many people who are Bipolar I, will often stop taking their medication because they feel numb.  No, they don’t miss the depression, but the mania….it’s like a drug.  Some of the best artist (of all kinds) have been Bipolar, or more as it was more commonly known, Manic Depressive.  When one decides to go off their medication, I don’t think they think about the depression that seeps the life out of them, they are thinking of the high they get from the mania.  Speaking from experience, it is so very hard to feel that high of creation when you are taking your medication.  I used to have sparks of inspiration and spend days in my studio, never leaving, barely sleeping….painting, and painting, and painting….I have never felt that surge of creativity since I started my medication nearly 20 years ago.  Do I miss it?  I could never express into words just how much I miss it!  I do not believe I have created a piece of artwork that stands up to anything I created before I was diagnosed.  So yes, I miss it.  But do I miss it enough to risk the rest….NO.

Bipolar doesn’t just include the extreme lows of depression and the euphoria of mania….it also includes uncontrollable anger, confusion, for some a loss of time, and a myriad of other symptoms…always to the extreme.  I used to notice when I got happy from something, it simply didn’t stop.  I didn’t just get happy, it kept growing and growing….oh it’s so hard to explain, but that’s how I felt about most of my emotions.  The emotion would start, like any normal person’s emotion would, but my emotion wouldn’t stop….it grew, to the point where I felt the emotion was no longer mine, I was the emotion.  I have huge gaps where I simply lost time.  I have no idea what happened during that time.   There have been out of control arguments, but I can’t remember anything about except the anger.

When I first started getting serious with Stuart I decided I had to be honest with him if we were going to have a real relationship.  It was very hard to tell him I have a mental illness, I am Bipolar.  Due to this, I have no idea how many men I have slept with.  He took it like the man he is, with grace and sympathy.  He held me while I cried and explained more about my illness.  How I was being treated…ect.   (He is a very good man.)

There is much more to my story, some I can never tell, because I simply do not remember it all.  Some I can tell…perhaps I should write a book.  *smiles*

Please forgive any typos, or grammar errors…or anything like that.  I started to proof-read this and needed to stop.  If I have offended anyone I apologize.  I hope I have brought a little bit of understanding about what it means to be Bipolar I.  Or what it means to be me.

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20 thoughts on “Being Bipolar….will I ever really be stable?

    • I feel like so much of my story is so varied….too many subjects. I wouldn’t know where to start, and I don’t think I’d know where to end. Perhaps one day. This post was scary to write. I’ve always been one to not hide and to put myself out there…but this, it’s raw, and I have been afraid of how people might take it.

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  1. Yeah, it is varied, but it’s all related to one subject. It all has to do with your life and being Bipolar. I promise you(w/ not complete certainty because I could never know this) that there are others like you who have thought the same thoughts, felt the same feelings, and were scared as hell to tell someone they were starting to really care about their truth.
    You have this ability, Wendy, to help others with your own experiences. This is obviously a very personal choice whether or not to make your truth even more known, but you could help so many try and understand their own lives and truths.
    I think you’re tremendously brave for putting this out there. You will never know how much respect I have for you, and I’m sorry I haven’t told you sooner. I love you, my dear friend. 🙂

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  2. Suicide is the most personal decision anyone will make. As you so bravely say, each person has their own reasons and rationale for considering suicide. The hell on earth can feel worse than possible any hell in the afterlife.
    Sharing your experiences and emotions will help someone else not feel so alone, misunderstood, and lessen their emotional pain. You describe the visceral; the rawness; the lows and the highs. Mania sounds like the “sweet” seduction of a drug.
    Stable or no, you are a real Xena.

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    • Yay…..Xena!!
      I know a graphic artist…I can get you two together and perhaps he can create what you mentioned to me!
      I think many women out there deserve to be labeled a Xena!

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      • I’ll see if I can find out if there is any copyright issues. A friend wanted to put an image in his book that was owned by Disney and they wanted a gadzillion dollars for it! So, he chose a different illustration! If Xena (the name, not a picture of Lucy Lawless) is copywrited, maybe we can use Warrior Princess. I’ll let ya know what I find out.

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  3. PS: you’ve been telling your story in your blog posts — they could form the basis of a book. I was a copy-editor in a former life should you ever want to put together a memoir/book.

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      • I think there is a book in your blogs! I helped another Wendy copy-edit an e-book on how to live happy with chronic illnesses. A lot was based on her personal experiences, many of which she had posted on her blog.
        You could choose a particular focus: hearing loss and CI; dealing with the changes; needing a care-giver. Pointers for folks who have caregivers — most of the stuff is on how to deal with being a caregiver. I think a book on how to deal with being cared for would be good. Or mental health and creativity. Or, a “year in the life of” based on a year’s worth of blogs (and comments if you want to add yours here and elsewhere and other folks here. If you were up to it emotionally, a book about Sandy.
        You’re an excellent writer who knows how to write both dispassionately and passionately — a unique quality. Go for it — if I can help, just let me know.

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  4. I think that you should definitely write a book, your writing style is great, it is open and honest. You can’t help but read on. I am sorry for what you went through, you are very brave for being so open about it and uploading such a personal story.
    Thank you

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  5. I was suicidal when I was a teenager and young adult. With me it was because I had grown up not feeling I had any emotional support, was always on my own, and nobody really cared whether I lived or died. Nobody loved me. (You think that if your own parents don’t–who could.) When life got too much to bear (after a rape)–it was just an option in my mind. I didn’t believe I had any purpose and my leaving mattered to no one–barely a ripple, you know? Not important. No consequence. And, quite honestly, that was basically true. I finally had to decide that I had to decide to matter to me…no matter if I meant nothing to anyone else. Luckily I was never successful. (But, at the time, I felt I had failed at that, too.)

    Yes, suicide is a very personal thing. I do not believe suicides go to hell and are doomed forever. Personally, I believe we just end up back here having to try to figure out the same thing all over again–till we get that particular lesson. Who would want to live through that pain again and again? That is truly hell, I guess.

    Being the burden–I can relate to that, too. I always felt like a burden as a child, too. (I think the unloved children feel like that a lot of the time.) And with my body being such a pain in the ass the last decade–I do not want to feel like a burden to anyone now, either. At least these days I do feel like I have some worth. We all want to be worth something. We all want to be loved. We all want to have value.

    Life isn’t easy. Even for people who kind of sail along most of their lives–eventually they will have to deal with the big issues of sickness, death…something. And those of us who have always had to deal with them–we have the advantage. We know you can live through more than you think you can…and survive…and still find things to smile about…and still appreciate the wonder, beauty, kindness, and love we see in this world. If love wasn’t the most precious thing on this earth I wouldn’t have felt so lost and worthless without it. We wouldn’t worry about being burdens. I had to learn to carry some love with me…on my own…so I can give it away. So many people need some.

    Sending some your way. I love you because you are just you. And you are honest and true and bravely share yourself. Sometimes the bravest thing is to admit you are not feeling brave and are feeling too weak to carry the burden alone. So others can lift you gently until you feel stronger. Those other people need to feel of value, too. Let them lift you. You are not alone, dear one. 🙂

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    • Rita,
      I am so touched that you would share this with me.
      I wish I could just sit down with you (and Karma) one day and talk and talk and talk.
      You are loved by so many now. I can’t imagine you not being loved. It breaks my heart.
      I may write you soon, I’d like to talk about this a little bit more if you don’t mind.
      I think it could help my heart heal a bit.
      love to you my dear.

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  6. Dear Wendy,
    You are forever brave and strong and I’m sure your post has already helped MANY people. It is so well written a great blend of emotions and fact. I hope you will write about it again and again. A family member has Bi-Polar so I have some knowledge of it , the mania, the depression, the crying etc. I’ve been the caretaker most of the time. Life is NOT easy, I am so proud to call you my friend. Best wishes, Laurie

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    • Laurie,
      I don’t know if I have it in me to write about this many times. This was a tough one to put out there for all to see. For the most part, I’m on the more stable end now. I am very determined to keep it that way.
      Oh wait…I started to ramble on..and then I thought, that could be another post about this. : )
      maybe I do have a few more.
      thank you for the encouragement, and caring.
      best to you….caring for someone who is Bipolar and not treated is a huge challenge. It takes a special person. wendy

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  7. I can olny send you my prayers and hope that this too will pass. You are a special person and I know you will get through all your troubles.

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    • Thank you Robert.
      I’m doing ok. It’s just something I live with. Occasionally the meds stop working and they need to be tweeked. Stuart’s wonderful through it. It’s hard for a while, but we both know….it will get better. No it won’t go away, but it will get better. Just like all my chronic stuff. One day at a time. As you have known Stuart for so long, I’m so very lucky to have such a good, sweet, and loving man in my life. Luckily, even with all my illnesses that we deal with, he feels pretty lucky too.
      You are such a dear man!
      I adore you.
      wendy

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  8. I wish that blogs like yours would be required reading for anyone studying psychology – a first person account resonates in ways that a dry description never could. Thanks so much for sharing.

    ALSO, thanks again for ringing in on “When Fear Becomes Entrenched & Chronic” at ADDandSoMuchMore.com (as you probably know, depression is what they call a “high comorbid disorder” with ADD, and many individuals with bipolar disorder exhibit signs and symptoms of ADD, whether they warrant an official diagnosis or not). I so appreciate your compassion.

    Keep on taking good care of YOU – you seem from my reading of what you share to have as good a handle on it all as is possible, given all you must deal with. You and Stuart are so fortunate to have found (and hung onto) each other.

    Stay with us – our world NEEDs voices like yours.
    ~~~~~
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

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    • Madelyn,
      thank you so much.
      I have had such great responses to this post. I don’t often talk about being Bipolar, simply because I have been mostly stable for quite some time, and I have had so much more to deal with in the past few years.

      i’ve been asked to write more about my Bipolar experiences. I’m not sure where to begin, but what I mentioned in your comment section about how appalled I am at the mental health care in this country, I would like to write about this and somehow start some kind of a movement to help with this. Must put that old thinking cap on. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

      hugs to you
      w

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