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Finally accepting my diagnosis...seeking help/support please
by Matsu Karasu (sin_agua)
at February 4th, 2006 (08:54 am)

current mood: anxious

This community seems to have slowed down quite a bit-i just found it and am reading posts like crazy. I just this past week have been coming to terms with the idea that I, too, am bipolar. For a long time I've tried to convince myself it was Asperger's or ADHD or just chronic depression, but last night's long talk with my husband - and the comments made by a few shrinks - have finally made me realize that this is, indeed, what's "wrong" with me. I can see symptoms of this going back to my childhood, before I was even 10 years old. I've been told I was lazy or that "you never finish anything" because of my cycles, which I've always called "waves" - crushing depression, anxiety and paranoia for weeks on end, then one day I'll latch onto some obsessive but rather obscure topic (ancient Japanese pottery, for instance - or art, or writing, or religion - a big one for me) and just fall completely into it for like three months, to the point where I neglect my family and, I'm sorry and embarassed to say, just don't care. I am rather anti-social, in that I am fascinated by humanity and culture and history, but can't stand being around most people for any length of time, and have long had real trouble with relationships. I tried suicide when I was 15, due to an abusive, neglectful home situation and then my boyfriend dumped me. At the age of 19 or 20, I started "self-medicating" with alcohol and cannabis and kept that up pretty much daily for 15 years - but unlike your typical "stoner," I finished a BA in 3 years and finished grad school with a 3.8 GPA. I was in gifted classes as a kid, but had a hard time being motivated, plus all the horrific crap I dealt with socially, trying to avoid being beat up on a daily basis by kids who always said I looked at them funny or something. I, too, get very emotionally reactive, freak out, have panic attacks which started after a sexual assault when I was 11, and basically my whole family thinks I'm just a "trouble-maker" or something. We are not close, and the fact that I'm adopted made it worse. I've been on and off antidepressants for the last 10 years, and always kept smoking pot to keep myself "evened out." Now that I've quit that - six weeks this coming Monday - I spiralled into the worst depression I've had in many years, and even considered suicide again. But now I have a family of my own, and I just couldn't do that to them, so I finally got back into therapy and meds (Celexa and Klonapin). I also would've made a good superhero - I get so upset at perceived injustices in the world, I get sick, and have to stop myself from reading the news too much. Once I became convinced that I'd discovered a way to reconcile Buddhism and Christianity, and if I could just get the word out, I could revolutionize and revitalize Xianity again, and make so many people happy and at peace...guess I thought I was Joan of Arc or something - haha. I am a writer and artist, and have always kept a journal, which has at least helped when no one else could listen to my rantings. But now that i'm off the pot, my dreams are coming back with a vengeance, and they frighten me. I'm keeping a journal of those, too, so I can analyze them and look for patterns - I'm very big on patterns. I was terrified of this diagnosis when it was first offered to me, because the shrink wanted to put me on Lithium - I was scared to death that it would flatline my personality and kill my creativity, the thing that makes me ME. Fortunately my current therapist isn't pushing for Lithium, but she might suggest something else, and I don't want to be a zombie. I only feel truly safe and at peace when I'm alone in my room or out in nature, preferably woods with big trees, and that doesn't happen often enough now that I live in a desert. I am lucky to have an extremely understanding and supportive husband - THANK GOD. He accepts me the way I am, and figured out I was bipolar before I did, because I was resistant to the idea and scared of it. Now I'm finally resigning myself to it, but have so many questions, and feel another hypomanic phase coming on. I know this forum doesn't get much traffic lately, but I hope someone will reply to my post here. I really need to connect with others like me and give me some hope and advice. I have a young son and am concerned he may end up just like me. I want to protect him from me sometimes - I'm not a mean person, but I get easily overwhelmed sometimes, and flash back to traumatic things I experienced as a child. I love him with all my heart, and try to be the best mother I can possibly be, because I know what it's like to grow up with out affection or understanding. I may cross post this to another community if I find one I'm interested in. I hope I hear from someone out there who can offer me some help/hope/insight. Thanks for listening.


Posted by: Shana (shanaeden)
Posted at: February 4th, 2006 05:02 pm (UTC)

Welcome :) And this isn't a huge criticism, but I'm seriously quite blind (my monitor is 19" and I have the font at 12 size or over)...if you post in the future I need some white space!

Well, I wasn't quite so good at getting through school as you talk about. My college career ended up at 3.6 after 7 long years, and I never did make it through grad school. But a lot of what you're talking about really speaks to me.

Before I forget, I don't know how long you've been off pot. The first month or so after I got off it I had incredibly vivid dreams too. It goes away once your brain adjusts to not having a constant intake of the drug. It's something that can happen going off of antidepressants too.

Anyway, for about 15 years I self-medicated. I wasn't diagnosed for much of it. I had two children at 21 and 22 and then just had a baby a year ago. I know just what you're talking about with concerns that your child will end up just like you (and that's true, he might. The heredity rate seems to be at about 30 percent). Also, if he witnesses a lot of "crazy" behavior, he might model it, whether or not he develops bipolar. I had that problem with my oldest child and thankfully she is growing out of it.

The hope I can give you is that if you accept your diagnosis (haha I sound like a faith healer--accept Jesus!) you can do what is necessary to be a fulfilled person and a good parent. It's awesome your husband is there to be supportive. Because I hear ya on your family thinking you're a troublemaker and not giving you the support you need for your illness. My family is only just starting to move away from lifelong patterns of not being sure just what they had spawned.

I had childhood onset bipolar disorder too. It's a really hard thing. Often accompanied by ADD symptoms, and personality disorders, basically from never growing up with a healthy brain. But there are a lot of aspects of it that you CAN get through. It just takes a lot of hard work.

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