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Whispers

I started a new job, I’m working for the hospital now. It’s different, and so far I like it. I’m still doing CNA work, but it’s a lot different from the nursing home. 

I have a great nurse on my shift. She’s from England and has the cool accent. She’s a hard worker, and is always checking on me to see if I need any help. 

One day, we were talking and she was telling me about a former patient she had. She was telling me how crazy they were to work with. And then she whispered, “they had bipolar disorder.” 

I have to tell you, that my heart stopped. I don’t usually disclose my diagnosis at work, it makes people look at you differently. People just don’t understand. And now, I know for a fact, that my nurse is one that just doesn’t understand. 

Bipolar disorder is not a bad thing. I used to think it was. The ups and downs are hard to deal with sometimes, sure. And there are several things that you have to do in order to stay healthy and stable. And sometimes, in order to get stabke, you have to go to the hospital. 

But the way she said it, it just hit me wrong. She whispered it, like it was a curse, or something much worse. 

I wanted to scream at her that I was bipolar. See, I’m stable now, you wouldn’t know! Do I have my days, yes! But it’s not like we’re homicidal maniacs waiting to chop you up or something. We just need stabilization. 

Bipolar disorder can be hard to live with. But it’s doable. You can live with it  you can get stable. You can have good days. You can have a life. And you can hold down a job. You have to work at it, which is hard, because your mind works against you. But you can do it. 

The thing that helped me, I found someone who listened to me, found a proper combination of medicines. I have to ensure that I’m eating and sleeping, make sure to drink water and stay away from caffeine and alcohol. But I finally feel like I’m stable. It’s possible. 

But the way she said it, reminded me that the stigma is out there. That we still have to work to bring awareness to disorders and normalize what is going on in our brains. To remind everyone, we’re not crazy, we’re sick. That you shouldn’t be stigmatized for having to take medication, because you wouldn’t say anything to someone who has to take medication for diabetes or high blood pressure, so why are you judging me for taking meds for my brain? We have work to do. 

But I can tell you, you can be stable. Will you have bad day? Yes, I have them. But your track record for bad day survival so far is 100%, so keep going. And if you need help, reach out. There are people who will listen. Call a friend, call the lifeline. Anyone. Don’t struggle alone. You’re real, and you matter, you are not alone. 

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A Down Cycle

Trigger warning — Talk of suicide and self harm

Some days are better than others. 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Well, it’s been two months. I guess I haven’t had much to say. Or I have had a lot to say, but I haven’t been able to put things into coherent thoughts, so this post might be all over the place and I apologize for that in advance. 

I had a job. But it didn’t last long. It seems that I can’t really hold one down these days. There’s a lot going on with me mentally and with my family physically, so a job just isn’t something that is taking priority, which is bad, because the world these days revolves around the almighty dollar. Emotionally, I have a hard time staying focused. I’m finding myself spacing out, overwhelmed, and on edge. I’m still battling for control on my anger. It bubbles and boils right below the surface, though I told my doctor I was fine – because I didn’t want to be placed on more meds or have yet another increase.  Little things set me off and I find myself trying to calm down before I boil over with anger. 

The job itself was fine . But dealing with people again set me off. I felt the need to be around others but the desire to be alone was overwhelming. The need to prove myself was even more powerful, so I tried my best to work through it. When things got tough, I walked outside to just take a moment of silence. Because sometimes the noise in my head gets too loud. It’s like that now. I have the need to be around others, but I would rather be alone too. So, anyhow,  I lost the job because I couldn’t maintain steady attendance. 

Because of losing my job, and with stresses going on at home, I have been in a depressive state. Again, not that I have told my doctor. And I don’t see him again until October. I don’t do much now – I don’t have much energy and I just don’t want to. I sit in my room and read, or sleep, or watch Netflix, because I don’t want to interact with anyone. Because interacting with people takes energy that I don’t have, and with my temper being as short as it is, it’s just safer for everyone for me to stay isolated. Do people say things about me being in my room all day? Probably. But that doesn’t change my behavior. I mean, I try. I try to go and make an effort. But making an effort is exhausting. 

I feel like I’ve given up. And I’ve told my husband this. He doesn’t think I’ve given up. He says that I haven’t reached that point, because I am still taking care of myself. I’m still getting up in the morning, still showering, still taking care of the dogs and our cat. I’m still taking care of him and the bills. I’m still trying. My “resilence” is still pushing me through this depression. I haven’t hit rock bottom yet. But I feel like I’m dangerously close. I feel like I’ve given up, because I don’t have a job, and I don’t feel like I could manage a job. I feel like I can’t manage simple things, like the bills. Discussing them makes me anxious. Discussing money makes me anxious. And, of course, that’s something that we have to do in order to survive each month. I feel like I’ve given up. But my husband doesn’t see that, he says that I’m strong. Maybe I am and I don’t see it?

Resilence is something that keeps coming up. It’s on my paperwork from the clinic. I want to say that I don’t understand it. But I do. I realize that after years and years of fighting this disease that is constantly trying to kill me, I’m still here. Even when every brain cell is telling me to kill myself, I’m still here, fighting for every single second of my life. I have some goals. Like, I want a family, even though that scares me to death, I want one. I want kids. I want a home full of life. And that scares me. But, I think that’s the disease talking. And I’m fighting it. Because I know that that is something that I want. So I’m going to fight for it. So, I guess, in that sense, they were right in putting that I am resilent. Because even though my brain is trying to kill me, I’m trying to live.

That’s another thing that I told my husband…. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a while now, and while I can say with confidence that I am safe, I am also thinking about suicide. I don’t mean that I am going to kill myself. I am saying that suicide is almost all I can think about. With everything going on, it seems to be the easiest solution. If I weren’t here, my husband wouldn’t be spending money on me for food, or electricity, or bills that we can’t pay, or something. If I weren’t here, we wouldn’t have the dogs or the cat and there wouldn’t be money spent on their food each month. All the while, I know this isn’t a solution. I know that killing myself doesn’t solve anything. I know that it would hurt people. I know that it would break people and solve absolutely no problems. But this is the solution that my disorder comes up with. 

And then, thinking about suicide and the effects it would have on my family cascades into thoughts of self harm. Why? Because, I can’t stand the idea of hurting others. The idea of leaving everyone behind to suffer my death hurts me and it makes my heart hurt. And that is emotional pain that I can’t handle. That makes me want to hurt myself. Does it solve anything? No. But it’s a go-to coping skill. And, again, while I can say that I’m safe and not hurting myself and not acting on the thoughts that are running through my mind, it’s almost all I can think about.

The best times that I have right now are when I’m with my husband or when I’m with my mom. When I’m with either of them, I can be myself. I don’t have to filter my mouth or my thoughts. I can just talk. My husband makes me feel safe and happy. Sometimes, we fight, because we’re stressed and I feel like that’s my fault – because when anything goes wrong it’s my fault (even if it’s not, because that’s how my brain works). But with him, my dark days, he sits with me. We talk, he helps me. Even when I can’t figure out what’s real or not real, he helps me. We talk things through. And on my good days, he’s there with me too. And with my mom, I grew up with her. Being with her is natural. Even before I knew she was my mom, I was the most comfortable with her. I could be myself with her and to this day, I can be myself with her. Even on my worst day, I can be with her. 

Things get better, it’s just a matter of when. With bipolar disorder, it’s a matter of how long the cycle will last. So, I guess I just need to batton down the hatches until this depression passes. 

Triggers

Ben made mention that I’m going to have to figure out my triggers…again (I should add, because I’ve done this all before.)

So, I’ve been trying to think of what they are… And now, my question is, what triggered response are you asking about?

Are you asking me to pinpoint what triggers the want to need to hurt myself? The anger? The flashbacks? The depression? Or the manic episodes?

More updates to come…

Axis 1: 296.54

296.54 Bipolar I Disorder, Most Recent Episode Depressed, Severe With Psychotic Features

Bipolar 1 Disorder…Most recent episode Depressed, severe, with Psychotic Features….

That’s a hell of a wake up, don’t you think?

New doctor, new diagnosis.

Bipolar 1 disorder, Borderline personality disorder, PTSD. That’s my diagnosis. It kinda sucks.

Most people who have BPD suffer from:

  • Problems with regulating emotions and thoughts
  • Impulsive and reckless behavior
  • Unstable relationships with other people.

People with this disorder also have high rates of co-occurring disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and eating disorders, along with self-harm, suicidal behaviors, and completed suicides.  -NIMH

 

It was something that I had thought about, but never really diagnosed myself with it. I knew about the bipolar, but borderline personality? No…I didn’t have the guts to say it.

It’s a personality disorder, it can’t be treated with meds. It can’t be cured, it can’t be fixed. The good news? The symptoms can be treated… People can cope with it. People can move on and lead normal lives.

Me? I’m shocked…still in shock… I didn’t know, or maybe I did but didn’t want to know…

I feel numb, and hurt, and weighted down. I feel everything. Even angry. It means that I’m fucked up. Or at least that’s how I see it, I guess.

I know that every psychological thing can be dealt with. Therapy, meds, counseling, coping… But it still hurts.

Signs & Symptoms

According to the DSM, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR), to be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, a person must show an enduring pattern of behavior that includes at least five of the following symptoms:

  • Extreme reactions—including panic, depression, rage, or frantic actions—to abandonment, whether real or perceived
  • A pattern of intense and stormy relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often veering from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
  • Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self, which can result in sudden changes in feelings, opinions, values, or plans and goals for the future (such as school or career choices)
  • Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating
  • Recurring suicidal behaviors or threats or self-harming behavior, such as cutting
  • Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness and/or boredom
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger
  • Having stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms, such as feeling cut off from oneself, observing oneself from outside the body, or losing touch with reality.

Seemingly mundane events may trigger symptoms. For example, people with BPD may feel angry and distressed over minor separations—such as vacations, business trips, or sudden changes of plans—from people to whom they feel close. Studies show that people with this disorder may see anger in an emotionally neutral face and have a stronger reaction to words with negative meanings than people who do not have the disorder.

Suicide and Self-harm

Self-injurious behavior includes suicide and suicide attempts, as well as self-harming behaviors, described below. As many as 80 percent of people with BPD have suicidal behaviors, and about 4 to 9 percent commit suicide.

Suicide is one of the most tragic outcomes of any mental illness. Some treatments can help reduce suicidal behaviors in people with BPD. For example, one study showed that dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) reduced suicide attempts in women by half compared with other types of psychotherapy, or talk therapy. DBT also reduced use of emergency room and inpatient services and retained more participants in therapy, compared to other approaches to treatment.

Unlike suicide attempts, self-harming behaviors do not stem from a desire to die. However, some self-harming behaviors may be life threatening. Self-harming behaviors linked with BPD include cutting, burning, hitting, head banging, hair pulling, and other harmful acts. People with BPD may self-harm to help regulate their emotions, to punish themselves, or to express their pain. They do not always see these behaviors as harmful.

-NIMH

I need to do more research… I just wanted to give you an update…
Preslee