Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Reader's Story

Below is the story of a Kissing Stigma Goodbye reader and follower on Facebook.  She sent me her story on the Kissing Stigma Goodbye Facebook page and said I could share it, so here it is, copied and pasted exactly as written by her.

So, I thought I'd share my story with you, which you are welcome to share with your other fans...

I first started exhibiting symptoms of bipolar 1 in 1998, around age 15. I wasn't diagnosed until 2007, at age 24. (This has been determined to be because I was on an anti-convulsant for epilepsy. So, I was mostly just manic through my teen years.) My diagnosis followed being treated with anti depressants for a depressed episode following my father in-law's deployment to Iraq. So, in true bipolar form, I went into a manic episode. I tried to overdose, and when my therapist suggested a more thorough psych. eval., I complied. After going over my history and symptoms, I was given my diagnosis, and a boat load of meds. All of '07 into '08 is pretty hazy. They had me on 5 or 6 meds, including Depakote, Ativan, Klonopin, and Ambien, to name some. I was so over-medicated, that I was a shell of my former self. I couldn't function, was still having bad episodes, and attempted suicide at least 3 times. As well as frequent cutting. I was in therapy for a year and a half. I was fortunate to have an incredible therapist. He helped me learn good coping skills, mindfulness, and to recognize my thought patterns and mood swings. He was my saving grace. smile In 2008, I had enough with being so medicated and still having a hard time, I stopped all meds. (Not recommending it, it was just something I felt I had to do for myself.) In any case, for 2 years, I did ok. I had my mood swings, but I was able to recognize them for what they were, and was effectively using all of the skills that I had learned in therapy. I was able to live life more, without the side effects of the meds. It was definitely hard, and a lot of work, but it was worth every bit of it.

In 2010, things changed for me. My husband, who is a brittle diabetic, was diagnosed with stage 4, of 5, kidney disease. It was a lot to take in, and deal with. As we all know, I'm sure, managing bipolar takes A LOT of work and energy. I just didn't have the energy for dealing with everything I had on my plate. I chose to contact the dr. about starting meds. I wanted to keep them as minimal as possible. I was started on Seroquel, which has worked better for me. They have tried me on other things with it, I just can't bring myself to stay with anything else. Over the last year or so, I have been having a harder time than usual, but I keep trudging along. I have been off & on Xanax for anxiety/panic attacks. But try to manage with my coping skills as much as possible. I have been having a hard time getting the correct med changes, as most of the drs. I've seen just can't figure it out. They all seem to think that because I've been handling so well, I must not really need much help. (I've only handled so well because I recognize my symptoms and do whatever I can to manage them, which gets very hard.) In any case, I need to get in touch with a psych. dr. in an attempt to get things under better control. I am confident that once life calms down some (from my husband's health, after his transplant) I will be able to better get a handle on my moods and not have to rely so heavily on meds. In the meantime, I just ride the waves of my moods and try to look for the beauty in a sometimes dark world.


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