Prompt #1 – Question:
When you first found out that you had a mental illness/disorder, what was your first reaction? Explain, how this new revelation regarding your health affected you?
From the time I was a teenager in a very bad situation in which I was isolated from any support system, I knew something was not right with my emotional health. I obviously was not allowed to speak to anyone about it because I would have revealed the why of my emotional instability. I made it through high school and went to college where my mother insisted I go because she had a rich coworker who graduated from there and it was an hour from home. She relentlessly hounded me. I began at that point to have more and more symptoms, mostly depression.
As I became older, I would have times I would feel great and do some really stupid, dangerous activities and spend money when I should not. But, the depressions became worse. I went from psychiatrist to psychiatrist and every antidepressant prescribed caused horrible reactions. The last one, Lexapro, caused a severe panic attack while I was driving to a meeting for work.
Finally, a psychiatrist started asking more questions about those times I felt so good and she determined I had bipolar II disorder. It was life-changing and I went through a range of emotions. My husband did not understand the diagnosis and was so upset about the diagnosis, he left. He did return and we are still married.
Treatment has really helped, but it has to be tweaked every now and again. I am presently dealing with a recurrent lung cancer. I cannot even begin to imagine what this would be like without the medication I take for my bipolar II disorder. Still, the stigma of the diagnosis is alive and well and difficult to deal with. That is what I hate most of all.