It’s fitting that as I write this it’s “Mental Health Awareness Week”. I didn’t know there was such as thing, but according to someones post on Facebook, I’ll take that as gospel! On that note, I was diagnosed recently with bi-polar disorder. At first I really wasn’t shocked or surprised, I think I’ve often wondered this about myself. I know I’ve always had extreme highs and extreme lows, but never considered this a disorder, just my personality which lended itself to me being an artist. I do my best work on my highs, but the lows were getting very dark. Apparently, as I’ve learned through all of this, bi-polar disorder can lie dormant within ones self and a major tragedy can bring it to the surface. Pauls death was my tragedy. I am now on three medications to combat these feelings and I’m really not sure if they are doing any good or not.
My grandmother was diagnosed with the same illness (back then it was called “Manic Depressive”. She was hospitalized more than once and her son jumped off the Empire State Building. I’m willing to bet he has it too. I say “has” as in current tense because he survived the fall. Impossible you say? Yes, I suppose if he had made it to the ground there would be nothing left of him, but he was pushed against the building due to high winds and landed on the tier below. Bad luck, I guess. He spent a number of months in Bellevue’s Psyche Ward.
This is why I wasn’t surprised with my diagnosis. My grandmother was artistic in that she was very into poetry and the written word. She introduced me to the arts at a very young age. My uncle was an artist as well. Artistry and crazy run in my family. That said, I’ve always felt normal. I consider myself to be a kind, considerate, loving person. I have, as many people have, had boughts of depression, but never considered it a problem, I always pulled out of it. Something did, however, change in me with Paul’s death. During this time, before my diagnosis, I have lost my best friends of 30 years, and a family member or two. I have to wonder if those losses are all that great if during my time of need they walked out on me, and I say, no, keep walking. It’s just not easy hearing this, accepting this, and especially sharing this. The meds bring new problems, mostly with my work. I have not been able to really create the way I did before, my enthusiasm for things has dulled and I have severe chronic hives. I’m not sure if any of these can be attributed to the meds, but I didn’t seem to have these problems before. To be honest, I am still quite depressed, and occasionally a bit panicked. I am more patient with my daughter and I was sleeping better until the hives started , that is. I’m just not sure the med are working. Getting off of them are quite problematic, however. There is something called “brain shocks” when the SSRI’s are leaving your system. And, yes, they feel like they sound.
I’m hoping that eventually I can get off of all meds, at the moment this concept scares me as I am raising my daughter with no help. These pills are my little helpers. Keeps the crazies away! But, at the moment, I have no desire to do anything. I just want to stay in bed, watching CNN, which is like a slow death. Thank God I have dogs and they have to go outside to take a piss. I think I’ll draft this and actually reread before posting. Maybe this post is a little too honest? I have to ask myself, will putting myself out there in this way, help anyone, or just damage me?