Mental Health

Mental Health: My Beginnings

So, last week I opened up a bit about having bipolar disorder and how I want to be more open about it for my daughter (and for myself as well). We are going to dive into that a little bit more today.

There are a number of different factors that cause a person to become bipolar. Biological differences, genetics, etc. I believe exact causes are still relatively unknown. I know stressful and/or traumatic experiences can trigger that first bipolar episode. Today, we are going to discuss the events that I believe caused me to become bipolar.

Probable trigger warning for the rest of this post. Whether or not you read my story and experience, please, if you need help, skip to the very end where I have linked some websites that may be of assistance to you.

When I was 17, I entered into an incredibly unhealthy relationship. He cheated for, what I can only assume was, the entirety of our relationship. He was emotionally abusive and manipulative. The summer I turned 18, I got pregnant. Being young and “in love” he was able to convince me to not tell my parents. I went to college. He joined the military.

I spent seven months of my college career essentially alone and hiding a pregnancy. We obviously had no plan to keep the baby seeing as we were the only two people that knew about it. In March, I started going into labor. At least, I was in so much pain I could only assume I was going into labor. I was in my dorm room. I texted my friend and asked for a ride to the hospital. I checked myself in. They ran my blood, took an ultrasound, and then a nurse collected me. I remember her being very rude. I was scared and didn’t know what was going on, but I remember so clearly her going, “do you know your 40 weeks pregnant?”

I was brought into a room where nurses checked on me and they brought in a social worker to assist me in beginning the adoption process. The doctor/nurses and I decided the best option would be to do a C-section. So, once we were able to, I was brought into a room and we delivered my baby. She stayed in the NICU and I went to visit her all day, every day, for the three or four days I was there.

I didn’t tell anyone I was in the hospital. My boyfriend, although I think he was my fiance at that point, was doing training and didn’t have his phone. When I was discharged, I told everyone it was my appendix because I had to keep the lie going.

It was in those following months that I noticed the changes in behavior. There were days when I didn’t get out of bed and barely ate. I could keep track of the number of showers I had on one hand. I isolated myself even more than I already had because of all the lies and secrecy.

Then, I was up. I had probably taken too many of the pain medication that I was prescribed and feeling good. I reconnected with my friends and was on top of all my school work. I could do anything and everything.

Sometime during all this me and that boy broke up for good. I had a low period and finally arrived at a place where I felt like me, regular old me. It was at this point that I realized that I needed help. I knew I wasn’t doing well, so I found a therapist and I went to them. That’s when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

We had a few sessions, but I ended up moving back home before any real work could be done. Since then I haven’t been able to start therapy back up and start working on treatments for myself. On a positive note, that will be changing after I find a doctor. I’ve already been looking to find people who I think is a good fit for me.

So, I’m not really sure how to end this post. It was a lot harder to get through than I expected it to be. Which is ridiculous because I don’t talk about that time in my life often, so of course, it would be difficult to completely open up like that.

The only thing I can think of is to tell you that no matter what you’re going through, there is someone who can help you. You are not alone.

Lifeline Crisis chat:
Lifeline Crisis Chat

Information on abusive relationships:
How to tell if you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Leaving an emotionally abusive relationship

Information on helping others in abusive relationships:
Supporting someone in an abusive relationship
Helping loved ones in an emotionally abusive relationship

Mental Health

Mental Health: A Journey

Today we’re going to talk about something a little bit different, mental health. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was in college. This was back in 2013. Since then, I’ve been in and out of different doctor’s offices. So, I haven’t gotten the proper care and treatment I should be getting. This is also something I’ve talked about openly twice, well three times. Once was to my husband, second was in a group chat specifically geared towards mental health, and the third is now.

It’s been so long since I’ve genuinely talked to a psychiatrist or even a regular doctor about my mental health concerns. So, it’s possible that I could have been misdiagnosed all those years ago. However, I’m operating under the assumption that it was a correct diagnosis.

The reason I wanted to talk about this today is because it’s important. It’s important to seek help when you need it. I also feel myself slipping into a depression. This is when I tend to be more serious about seeking help for myself.

Another reason I want to be so open about this is because of my daughter. I didn’t have an open relationship with my parents. I’m not sure why, but I never really felt like I could go to them with things. I don’t feel like I can open up to anyone really. I get physically uncomfortable when I share things really personal to me to anyone.

My husband is also one of those people who thinks that if someone wants to be happy, then they should choose to be happy instead of sad. Despite him thinking this, when I told him I was bipolar, he didn’t tell me to just be happy. Since then he’s also been more understanding of my moods. So, we’re working on his attitudes with mental health.

My point here is, I don’t want my daughter to grow up and live feeling she can’t open up about things. So, I’m starting to try and be open. Where else is she supposed to learn if my husband and I don’t model the behavior?

If you have any concerns regarding your mental health, please find someone to help you. I know (in America at least), that this can be very hard. Some people don’t have health insurance or your health insurance doesn’t cover therapy (or it’s just too expensive). If this is the case for you, please reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Their national hotline is 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

You’re not alone. There are people feeling similarly to you.
There are also people who can help.

Let me know what you think. I’m sorry if this post seemed a bit scattered. My thought process was quite literally “mental health, share”. So, thank you for sticking through this.

Thank you for stopping by and I will see you next time.

SAMHSA. “National Helpline”.