So, sharing this could destroy my credibility I’ve worked to build, and that’s messed up. I’ve been mistrusted after acknowledging this before, but oh well, it has to be done.
October 10th is known as world mental health day, and in the name and need to stop stigmatizing of mental disorders… here goes.
I’m bipolar and I have anxiety. Not the “I don’t want to be around people at this moment, but I will be okay” anxiety. I get to the point where I can not walk outside, and I can not check my mail. I spent years certain that every car that creeped by was going to hold a driver who would shoot me. My obsessive anxiety has now passed onto my driving, where I have to deal with a barrage of death scenes in my head every moment I am in the car, certain I will die.
I don’t just claim bipolar. I am. When I get manic, I lose all sense of reasoning and disappear on people that need me. I’ll move across the country on a two day half baked plan. I burn through money like a pyro with a flame thrower. I make life altering (almost always very negative) decisions at the drop of a dime, because they are obviously the most well thought out, amazing things in the world.
When I am depressed, I can’t see through the vile thoughts. A side effect of bipolar that a lot of people don’t talk about is hallucinations, both verbal and physical. When I get depressed, I start hearing voices. One is terrible, one is me, and one is scared. I can’t stop them and they make it so hard to concentrate. They spiral my depression faster tighter and harder than it would normally go. The terrible one goads me on and demands that I commit suicide because I’m that worthless. The scared one I try to protect, but the terrible one is constantly screaming so loudly and vilely and repetitively that I can’t think of anything. I can only focus on it.
In 2013 – 14 I had the worst breakdown I have ever had. I ended up hospitalized multiple times. THIS COULD HAVE BEEN HELPED, IF NOT OUTRIGHT STOPPED.
You see, I bought into the stigmatization of mental illness and the medicines that often come with it.
I listened to everyone that told me that meds were bad, and they would make you worse. I listened to everyone that told me I could make it all go away on my own.
I listened to everyone that told me that bipolar was no big deal, and could easily be handled.
I listened to everyone who told me that anxiety was bullshit and I should just get over it.
I’m a science minded, learning loving 27 year old who’s never had the chance to really go to college and succeed because my mental illness stopped me from it. I may not even be able to get back into school because I screwed up so bad when I was there, because I could not keep myself stable on my own. I now take medications that I most likely will have to take my entire life, and you know what? That’s okay. I am now able to hold a job. I’m able to take care of my family, I’m able to work toward getting back to school, and finally have the confidence that I could actually succeed. I can talk to people, I can talk in groups, I can open my mail.
I still have the death scenes roll through my mind when I drive, but it isn’t a mind numbing, terrifying experience. I still get anxiety, but the medications help me handle it so I can go through life. I still have ups and downs, but they are manageable and don’t spiral out of control.
I’m lucky. I’m not dead. I let mental health stigmatization rule my life. It ruined what I could have done to this point. I’ve destroyed my life several times. I’ve been more or less stagnant for the last 10 years, and finally, when I decided that it was okay to seek help, for the first time in my life I’m doing something, and I’m worth something.
For those who bash any mental health problem, you are the issue. You make it harder for people to get help and to want to get help, and I hope one day you see that, feel ashamed and change your mind.
For those with mental health problems. Please get help, please get your life back in your hands. Medications are okay, they may not help everyone, but that doesn’t mean you should rule them out entirely. Admitting that you need help is okay. Talking to a therapist is okay. Please, get help. I don’t want to see you hurt yourself, I don’t want you to die because of your misery.