Up until now I have kept this blog for close friends and family, and those that could possibly relate to my story. But I've come to the point where I am ready to share it with everyone who wants to read and learn about mental illness, and mainly bipolar.
I have heard/seen several stories within the last 2 weeks of people suffering from mental illness in silence, not telling anyone. I think that is awful, and terribly sad, and it has motivated me to share my story to a broader community. I truly believe that the only way the stigma around mental health can be lessened, is by talking about it, and learning about it.
This blog is like my journal, it is intimate to me, and brutally honest. I have asked myself "Have these people earned the right to hear my story?" No, most likely not. But it's not just about me anymore. I hear of other people suffering and I see and feel the stigma every day, and something has to be done. Something has to change. People talk openly about cancer, or diabetes, or arthritis, so why not mental illness? Because it's complicated. It's complicated to separate what is Richelle and what is bi polar. It's emotional, its a mind game, it's a roller coaster. I worry about people thinking "she's going crazy", but I'm not, I'M JUST ILL!! I'm sick and it just looks different than what you're used to seeing.
So for those of you who are new to my blog, I'm going to give you a quick run down of my history:
2006- Diagnosed with depression, went on an antidepressant.
2010- Started having periods of insane excitement, pressured speech, not sleeping (which is referred to
as a manic or hypomanic stage)
2011- Symptoms of intense anger and rage, irritability (more mania symptoms)
- March-April...Severely depressed, mixed alcohol and medication, which led to my aunt taking me to the emergency room in Winnipeg. The psychiatrist diagnosed me with bipolar and admitted me into their psych ward. It was a living hell in that ward, so I left immediately (more on that another time) and went to a local emergency instead where I was admitted into Eden Mental Health Centre. I was then seen daily by psychiatrists, helping me with my new diagnosis etc.
-May..... One month later I got married (so crazy to think back on!)
-June - December.... Terrible marital problems due to my illness, but was able to hold onto a job and participate in life
2012 - Feb.... things went downhill and I left my job. I was extremely unstable for months
-May... Felt a little better and got a new full time job
-June... Left my new job due to anxiety and bipolar flaring up and I got MONO, augh!
-September..... Overdosed on my medications (intentionally), was sent to Emergency
-October-November...... Living hell on earth. Extreme episodes like never before, extreme anxiety, suicidal, etc. Was admitted back into Eden at the end of November.
-December... Discharged from Eden and went home in "recovery" condition.
2013 - No sign of change, new medications aren't working, and I spend most of my time at home in bed watching tv or trying to distract myself from depressive thoughts.
So that is a VERY brief timeline. And if you are new to the blog, I suggest you start reading from the very beginning (I think I created this blog in November when things were the worst, just before I went to Eden).
If you're a familiar reader, I have a very cool post to share with you next time about the Brad Jersak Conference at my Church last weekend. Wild stuff.