My name is Angel, single mother of two wonderful daughters, and I would like to tell you a story. I’ll try to make it a “short story”, but I tend to lean toward novels…
When I was a child I lived in a not so happy home. Abuse is an understatement. I started suffering from depression at 15yrs old. I thought about suicide a few times but never actually went thru with it. I didn’t WANT to die. I just didn’t WANT to live. Why was I being tortured by existing?
I left home at 16 because home wasn’t a safe place for me to be anymore. I did end up overdosing twice, ended up in rehab once. That didn’t last long. I checked myself out within a month. I started having anxiety attacks when I was 18yrs old which got pretty severe when I moved to Florida at the age of 20. So, I moved back home to TN. By the time I was 21 I was drinking HEAVILY. I met my first husband. It was a very abusive marriage. When I was 23 I started using drugs, mostly Meth, sometimes Cocaine. That went on for a few yrs. until I cleaned up my act after Bug came along. I got us out of the abuse and all around bad situation we were in and got divorced at 27.
I met my second husband when I was 28. He was in the army. We got stationed in Oklahoma after which my anxiety kicked in and I started having massive mood swings. We began fighting all the time. He threatened to send me home on a bus, which sent me into a rage because now he didn’t WANT me. We went back and forth constantly. I was drinking again and begging him to let me go see the military doctors. I knew something was wrong with me. He kept saying, “They’ll say nothing’s wrong, take a Motrin and go home. That’s what they always say.”
Finally he gave in and dropped me off one morning at the military hospital. The doctors diagnosed me with anxiety and told me I had been self medicating with the drinking. I had never heard that term before. They put me on Ativan. I took it once and ended up attacking my husband. Apparently it has adverse reactions for me. They put me on Prozac which I took it for about three weeks and I went off the deep end, over the edge, however you want to put it. I lost control. I honestly thought I was going insane in the literal sense. They finally ended up just giving me Xanax and I don’t mean 1 three times a day. I mean 1 every now and then. So I was in no better shape. Then I got pregnant with Bee.
Midway thru my pregnancy I moved home. My husband got out of the Army and came with me. I was still going on a roller coaster ride of emotions, mad, sad, happy, irritated, aggressive, crying, and depressed, all over the place. Poor guy was trying to keep up and having no luck. When Bee was about 6mths old I went to a psychiatrist who suggested I might be bipolar. My husband’s daughter, my step daughter, who was 6 also had bipolar so I had done some research on bipolar in the past and already I knew a little about it. I had considered that I might be myself, but had dismissed the thought thinking I was just being a hypochondriac. I told the doctor I didn’t think so but I’d humor him. He put me on Lamictal. It only made the symptoms worse so I quit taking it, and thinking this meant he was wrong and didn’t know what he was talking about, I didn’t go back to him.
My second husband and I divorced in 2006, after 3 yrs of marriage. I was still having major problems and our separation only made it worse. 6 months after I left him I was talking to a friend one night and I told her about that psychiatrist and what he had said and she simply said, “Yeah I can see that.” (She thought I could be bipolar too). So on her words and another friend’s recommendation I went to another psychiatrist and was diagnosed Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder with General Anxiety Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder.
I have been on treatment now since 2007. I’ve had one severe depressive episode that lasted 2yrs during after Bug, who was only 7, ended up in the hospital due to a suicide attempt at school. She came out of the hospital with a diagnosis of Bipolar with Psychotic Features. That was one year ago. Her diagnosis has now been amended to include ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) ADHD, OCD, and Major Depressive Disorder. Bee is also working on some mild depression and self esteem issues. We all, however, are at this point stable and living one day at a time. I am hoping that I may find the joy in writing that I use to know and may somewhere along the way help someone else who is struggling too.