A background and the current situation.
I started going to counseling when I was 14. There were mean girls at school, home life was little rocky and I wasn’t coping well. At that point it was decided I was Bipolar but after further discussion it was brought to light that I had never had an obvious manic or hypo manic cycle so the Bipolar diagnoses was pulled. I was diagnosed with depression, continued counseling and started anti-depressants.
Years followed of diagnoses of OCD, depression, major depression, cyclothymia, and anxiety, as well as being prescribed a slew of medications.
Meds helped somewhat, sometimes. They would be wonderful and then loose their edge. Then I would go off of them. I’d be great for a while, sometimes the good would last a few months, other times a couple of years. Eventually the depression would start re-appearing and off to the doc, meds, and counseling I’d go. This is the cycle I’ve been on since 14 years old.
I’m blessed to have parents that recognized a problem, that sought help immediately, and that have always been supportive and loving. I’m also blessed to have an extended family that has always been very open about our mental health. It was talked about with laughter and ease and acceptance. While accepting mental health issues wasn’t easy my loving family made it far far easier. I love them. They are amazing.
Recently things have changed, again. Moving to Alaska 6 months ago, starting “real life”, having a toddler, and having a husband work crazy hours came with what was expected to be hard days and weeks. I found a great team of therapists and doctors as well as a new combination of medications that had me feeling the closest to normal I have ever EVER felt. I was happy, I was productive, I enjoyed my kids, and I felt fulfilled. It was incredible.
And then because it was suspected that I was having a possibly deadly reaction to the meds I was forced to, cold turkey go off all meds. And the depression came like a giant wave.
I’ve had lows before. I’ve had LOW lows, but this trumped them all. I wasn’t suicidal, my kids we were fine and completely safe. I knew I was loved, I knew there was people to help. But oh my… I don’t know if there is a way to describe it. I’ve tried HERE and HERE. Maybe those will give you some insight.
My loving and wonderful mother flew out last minute to help. We literally called her on a Sunday and she was here by Tuesday morning. That week I was able to start new medications and since then I have been ok. “ok”.
I’ve been to 2, 3, and 4 appointments to the therapists office a week since then. Appointments with the phycologist, the counselor, and the psychiatrist. We have just been trying to figure out what is going on, what has been going on for 15 years, and how to help me be healthy.
After hours of doing physiological testing we have all come to a new diagnoses which we feel lines up best with my history and current state. Unspecified Bipolar and ADHD. The “unspecified” refers to the fact that I had very obvious and consistent low cycles but my hypomanic cycles are uncharacteristic to what the DSM-5 lays out. (The DSM-5 is the American Psychiatric Associations’ official book of mental diagnoses.)
So this is where we currently are. I’m seeing a therapist/life coach once a week. I’ve started new meds and am on schedule to start another. I’m hopeful that these and the therapy will get me back to where I was in January, before stopping the other meds. While it’s a little sad to hear I’ve been misdiagnosed for 15 years and taking the wrong type of medications, I feel really good about the new diagnoses. It has been an answer to me for many many questions. Despite feeling for years like a diagnoses strips me of my individuality and sense of self I feel “Bipolar” and “ADHD” has actually added to it and given me more security in who I am. It feels good to have answers and as I’ve said I’m very hopeful that I’ll get what feels like “me” back soon.
Maybe you wonder why I write this all out, why I would divulge just personal information, especially on a topic that’s full of stereotype and shame. First I’ve said many times that I feel life experiences should be shared, that it’s one of the points of us being here on earth. Second, I grew up in a family that allowed for a safe space for talking about mental health, not everyone is afforded that blessing. I don’t mind being the person to share, to tell someone that it’s ok to get help, that you aren’t crazy, and that there are people who know what you are feeling. I don’t mind being that person and I feel somewhat of an obligation to be. Third, I need to hear all of that too.
So if you have questions please, feel free to ask. I’m an open book. Not all the pages are pleasant, not all are as pretty as I’d like them to be, but they are mine and I’m happy to share if you need them.
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