"At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you're living with this illness and functioning at all, it's something to be proud of, not ashamed of. They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication." – Carrie Fisher.
Many of my blogs on mental illness are meant to be educational. Today's blog may be educational, but it is somewhat of a rant with some education. When I have blogged about mental illness in the past, and this time is no different. I plan on being vulnerable and pray that you won't think less of me for the things I struggle with.
Bipolar sucks. My diagnosis is Bipolar I with psychotic symptoms.
I have felt different than others most of my life. I was not diagnosed with bipolar until I was 38. My youth makes so much more sense. I was a very moody child and teen. I experienced bouts of isolation and irritability with people. I have learned that those symptoms are part of depression. I also experienced bouts of elated moods and insomnia. I experienced other symptoms also, but I am only sharing the more noticeable ones.
After getting stable on medications, life was better for the most part. My moods stabilized, and I became a more approachable person.
I DON'T LIKE TAKING MEDICATIONS!
The medications take a part of me away. I do not feel things the way that other people do. Most people don't recognize that fact. I laugh when appropriate; sometimes, I get teary-eyed. In reality, I do feel some things, but for the most part, I feel numb. Most people who know me do not realize I struggle to fit in. I can read the room and act appropriately. I enjoy my friends and our get-togethers. We have fun as a group, and after a while, I feel happy and can participate in the fun.
I am social and do well in most groups; however, I often feel set apart.
As you read earlier, I struggle with psychosis. This part of bipolar is the more difficult for me. I am embarrassed by this manifestation of the illness. Some have suggested that a more accurate diagnosis for me would be Schizoaffective. I don't like that diagnosis, so I stick to bipolar.
A definition of schizoaffective disorder is a mental health disorder that is marked by a combination of schizophrenia symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions, and mood disorder symptoms, such as depression or mania. Unfortunately, that seems to fit; however, my diagnosis is still bipolar.
I have been struggling with visual and auditory hallucinations for the last month. It is scary and has been disruptive to my life. I hate antipsychotic medications. When placed on antipsychotic meds, I tend to gain 20+ pounds and lose any emotions I have left. I didn't contact my doctor or tell people in my support system until a week ago. I was afraid that sharing this about myself would turn people away. I was wrong! I am fortunate enough to have friends that accept me for who I am, love me, and pray for me.
I have started an antipsychotic and hope that it will kick in soon to stop the hallucinations but not take away the essence of who I am.
Just so you know, I regularly take my medications. Most of the time, I am living a stabilized life. As much as I don't want to take an antipsychotic, I will so I can return to a less scary place!
Some types of psychosis
· Disorganized thoughts
· Disorganized speech
How can you support a person who is experiencing psychosis:
· Talk clearly and use short sentences in a calm and non-threatening voice.
· Be empathetic with how the person feels about their beliefs and experiences.
· Validate the person's own experience of frustration or distress and the positives of their experience.
Thank you for allowing me to vent. I hope that this blog helped you to understand mental illness better.
Have a great week.