Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'll be fine. I always am.

"I'll be fine. I always am."  A year ago, I never would have imagined those words coming out of my mouth.  But, they did today, and they're true. I will be fine, no matter what. I have been through SO MUCH this year that the tiny things that used to set me off in anger or in anxiety and worry are just that...tiny things...tiny things that I *can* handle. Even when bigger problems happen, I *WILL* be able to handle them. What hasn't killed me has made me stronger.

Since my last blog post, I did have a couple of "down" days. But not *nearly* as low as I've been in the past. I was just low-energy and not especially cheery for a couple of days. And that is OK. Everyone has bad days. My bad days now are so much more tolerable than they used to be.  The life experience, the medication, and the therapy that I've had this year have made me so much stronger and able to take life on.

I am moving back to the city, back to live with my husband, this Sunday.  I am excited about that. He has stood by me through some really REALLY tough times, and this time apart has only made us stronger.  We are both bipolar and it seems, now that I've been properly diagnosed, that we understand each other better. We understand the disease and what it does to ourselves, so we can, to some extent, understand what the other person is going through. It is a blessing and a curse, but mostly a blessing. We were meant to be together, meant to go through these tough times together, meant to fight our struggle with bipolar disorder together.

I have no regrets. "Regrets are mistakes you don't learn from." And I HAVE learned from my mistakes. regrets. Only strength, wisdom, and a newfound positive outlook and excitement for the future.

I'll be fine. I always am.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Relief, is possible

I've been feeling a strange and unfamiliar feeling lately.  It's called happiness.  It's been eluding me for what seems like most of my life, but especially the past 3-4 years.  My struggle with bipolar disorder has been a long and difficult journey...but I am so grateful for it.  It has made me who I am today and I feel stronger and more determined than ever.

I wish that all of my friends who suffer could be at the point that I am today.  The only thing I can say to them, to even try to help, is that it IS possible to be happy.  It IS possible to make it through the Hell you are going through.  Happiness IS attainable.  It is not at ALL easy to get there, for those of us who suffer from mental illnesses.  But it is possible.  Therapy and medication, good doctors, good friends and great family...those things have quite literally saved my life.

There was a time when I wanted to die.  I didn't want to face all the problems that were being thrown at me.  The only reason I did not end it all was the mere thought of the devastation it would have caused my family.  Especially my mother, who suffers from depression.  I would not, could not, hurt my family in that way and possibly be responsible for sending my mother to a horrible place, mentally.

I have been through Hell this past year.  I broke my lower right leg in half, literally.  I have a metal rod and three pins down the length of it.  I made it through that.  Through the constant pain for 7 straight months...and the lingering pain that I still have. I was hospitalized several times in the past 1.5-2 years for hurting myself...including a 3 day stay in the psych ward.  I even (I'm gonna say it..not ashamed anymore) went to jail for a night.  I went into a severely manic state shortly after going on short-term disability from my job (for the 3rd time), and physically attacked my husband.  In the state where I live, the primary aggressor HAS to be arrested.  Neither my husband nor I had a choice in the matter. I was scared to death.   The funny thing is *I* was the one who called the police.  I was totally manic and in a daze. Shortly after that incident, I was officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

The night in jail was pure torture and my own personal Hell.  I was not allowed the Effexor that I was being weaned off of and went through HORRIBLE, HELLISH withdrawals which had me laying on a mat on the floor curled in a ball.  I went to the courthouse the next day and was released on my own recognizance.  It was the worst day/night of my life.  But I made it through.  With only a few tears at the beginning.  None while in the "dorm" room with the other ladies, who were also on psych meds.  I had to stay strong.

The women there all had lives that were so much worse than mine.  I did not fit in at all, I'm no criminal, no drug addict, and many of these women had horrible addictions to serious drugs.  But as different as we were, I sat down and found comfort in talking to a few of them.  We talked about the difficulties we've suffered, and how spirituality has gotten us through.

I am not uber-religious.  I am very spiritual.  I don't follow a specific religion.  But the only thing that got me through that night, and let me actually FALL ASLEEP in that place, was saying the only prayer I knew...the Lord's Prayer.  I said it over and over again the following day, while still being held in the dorm, awaiting my release and going through the worst withdrawals from the Effexor.  They told me after court that I could be released anywhere between that time (around Noon) and 2:00 a.m.  I laid on the floor (I was too dizzy to lay on the top bunk), on an uncomfortable mat...dizzy...nauseaous...incredibly sick...and said that prayer what must have been a thousand times...until I was at my breaking point and thought I would snap....then they released me at 6 the very point I thought I was going to break.....I was not given more than I could handle.  I was given just enough to make me able to handle any situation make me realize how strong I am.

It was Hell.  This year was Hell.  I was on disability from my job for many months out of this year.  I just got a call from the Human Resources department at my job.  I was in danger of losing my job because my FMLA coverage ran out 2 weeks ago.  I was told today that my job was still there for me and would be there for my return on December 16th.  It was such a relief.  But the funny thing is...when in limbo...wondering if I would have a job...I didn't worry about least not to the point of debilitating worry and anxiety that I have experienced in the past.  I was concerned...but not worried sick.  I knew that either way...job or not...I would be OK.

All of this struggle, this horrible year....I'm grateful for it.  I am not worried about anything.  I realized the other day, while making some jewelry (which I have NOT been focused enough to do for some time), that I felt a strange, unfamiliar struck me...and I welcomed it.

For those who suffer, you are not alone.  You will get through this.  It is possible.  Please stay strong.  We will fight the good fight together.