What does it mean for you being diagnosed with bipolar disorder?
For me getting my diagnosis came with a big dose of relief and new direction. Let me explain. My life has been one big roller coaster ride with a lot of bumps along the way. I have had disaster after disaster. I grew up with depression and anxiety. Have contemplated suicide more than once, overdosed a couple times and been in train wreck after train wreck of a relationship. I started self medicating at a young age with pills which later turned into alcohol which later turned into hard core drugs. Finally, after my second train wreck of a marriage I was diagnosed bipolar (for the second time). The first time I was diagnosed, I didn’t believe the psychiatrist. I had read a little about bipolar and although I had thought I might be bipolar, hearing someone call me bipolar seamed absurd. But I humored him and let him put me on medication. The medication didn’t work so I quit taking it & took this to mean he obviously didn’t know what he was talking about and I wasn’t bipolar. Then as I continued to get worse more life disasters were occurring. About 9 months after that first diagnosis I was sitting with a friend discussing my problems at hand and I told her about that Psychiatrist and she said simply “I can see that”. Those words to me were earth shattering. She thought I could be bipolar too. Maybe I was. Maybe he was right. So I went to a new psychiatrist for a second opinion and I got my diagnosis. I was bipolar. I was put on meds and after a little while we found a medicine combination that worked for me and I began to feel better. I couldn’t believe it. This was real. I finally knew what was wrong with me all those years.
I did a lot of research to learn exactly what Bipolar meant. It all started making sense. The episodes of rage, the crying spells, the extremely happy on top of the world superman moments, they all became clear. My life has a new direction now. I have still had some ups and downs I won’t say it’s been roses since the diagnosis. But I have made new friends, found some great support groups online & even now I’m even rediscovering my love for writing. The diagnosis for me meant a whole new lease on life. I know that is corny & maybe overused. But it has been. It has given my life meaning again. I’m not wondering around aimlessly thinking “There is something wrong with me, what is wrong with me” Now I know. There is nothing wrong with me. I am sick, with an illness, just like diabetes, or heart disease. I have a chemical imbalance in my brain. It may not be curable but it is treatable. It doesn’t mean I can’t have a good life. I can live an amazing life. There may be bad times but there will also be great times. We get to experience the world on a whole other level. With the knowledge of a diagnosis comes power. I had the power to take my life & recover in my hands. I could choose to go on living the way I was or I could choose to seek help by receiving medication, talk therapy, psychiatry, dietician and many other things out there. It was up to me which way my life was going to go now. Was I going to continue down this path of endless destruction or find a way to start healing? I chose to look for a brighter tomorrow. Like I said, it’s not always blue skies. But you can’t have rainbows without a little rain. Also, a lot of people with bipolar disorder are very creative people.