This is a blog about my journey with bipolar disorder. I was diagnosed spring of 2011 and was admitted into a mental health hospital a month before my wedding. I struggled greatly for the next year and a half going on and off meds, experimenting with different forms of therapy and was readmitted to the hospital at the end of 2012. Since then I have been learning how to re-live my life. Seeing a wise, supportive, kind therapist once a week and emerging myself into Dialectical Behavioural Therapy are 2 of many ways that are helping me recover. I have found deep comfort and much strength in mindfulness practices, taught to me from DBT.

This blog is my way of allowing you to see into the life of someone who suffers from bipolar, depression and extreme anxiety. I want to own my story, and help defeat the stigma. I hope you find some comfort in knowing you are not alone, or learn more about mental illness through the writings of my blog.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

The old Richelle, hard marriage, mania and more

I have a jumble of thoughts in my head today, so this post will most likely be all over the place and sporadic.

I'll start at the beginning of the week... I was feeling really really down looking at the person I had become. There had been some pictures on Facebook that made an appearance again after many years, of me smiling and having a great time. I remember the memories and times around those photos, and I started to grieve the loss of that person. She was so outgoing, energetic, always up for an adventure, loved caring for people etc etc. It was like I entered a state of mourning. Mourning the loss of myself.
I feel like bipolar has taken everything from me, and left me with nothing. I know you're probably thinking 'oh but you have this and this and this'. But in my ill mind, I don't buy it. It doesn't make sense.
But to combat these thoughts of "that old Richelle is gone and never coming back", I've framed tones of pictures, and put tones more on my fridge and walls, of me smiling and enjoying life with other people. It looks like I'm super conceited if you walk into our house, haha, but it really does help. It's part of my visual therapy, that if I can see myself looking happy with people I love, I remember that person is still in there somewhere.
When I get healthy, that old Richelle may not come back, but maybe she will. It may be a journey of learning to accept the 'new healthy' me, I'm not sure.

I also realized that Ryan and I do not know what it is like to have a normal marriage, without this third member of bipolar looming over us. Our first year of marriage we thought we were incompatible, terrible for each other, fought all the time, and wanted a divorce. We thought it was us. We thought we sucked. It's only now that I'm realizing, it's the bipolar that was infecting our relationship. Some of it was of course, first year marriage problems. But my anger, irritation, depression, and terrible "attitude" was me going on and off meds, trying to find something that worked. I was quite oblivious to my illness then.
I had gone to a mental hospital a month before marriage, and came out thinking that it was done now. I think everyone thought "ok she's better, lets move on", myself included. I was so unaware of my symptoms, and triggers that everything that went wrong, or every part of my mood that wasn't "happy" became my fault. I was a terrible person, I thought.

Now I'll jump to today and the last few days. I was in a major funk. I canceled my support group, only went to therapy for 15 min, wasn't talking much, was drained and deeply depressed. But then, some of my favourite people in the world confirmed they were coming over on Friday evening (yesterday), and something clicked. I got EXCITED, and high and elevated. For the next two days I cleaned the house frantically, cleaning the same things over and over, arranging furniture in our house (heavy furniture) over and over, arranging art on our walls, framing art that needed frames, printing off pictures and framing them, getting new toys for my niece Neveah to play with, had the neighbours over for tea, helped run the espresso bar at a fundraiser, and slept very very very little!
Now that sounds a lot like hypomania to me. But it was different in the sense that I actually ENJOYED the things I was doing. To my therapist or psychiatrist, that would be a huge improvement because usually I enjoy very little.
It is utterly amazing to me how this family has so much power and influence, and bring so much joy into my deepest pain. The way they listen, ask meaningful questions, are willing to be vulnerable themselves, their sense of humour, they are all around refreshing. Don't take this the wrong way, but I don't trust and respect many people. I don't listen to many people's advice. But I trust what they say, I learn from them, I love their values. I want to be like them. Haha, basically they're my heroes. Mark, Amy, and Jude, I love you guys so much!

So today is the next day, and I'm still feeling good! I thought I would crash and go back into depression, but I didn't. It's weird, because I am hesitant to indulge in this goodness because I know it is fleeting. But at the same time I am taking every advantage I can.
To be honest though, it makes me nervous when someone close to me asks "how are you" and I say "good", because I get scared they'll think I'm "all better" or don't need anymore support.

Speaking of support... My dear friend Candice has arranged a meal train for Ryan and I! I couldn't be more thankful, because cooking is nearly impossible when I am battling bipolar everyday, there just isn't the concentration, memory, energy, or ability to stick with it. So it's awesome what she's doing, and why everyone is doing by providing meals for us, I am sooooo great full, and have the best community ever!!!!!!

1 comment:

  1. i have a question, but no pressure to answer it if it seems too personal.

    you mentioned that you got married shortly after some time in a mental hospital. in retrospect, do you guys wish that you had waited to get married? obviously you can't change that now, but what would you advise for other couples in a similar situation?