Most people with addiction issues also have the dual diagnosis of mental health problems. With me, I found out I have Bipolar I Disorder when I was roughly 23 years old. It took time to find this out, as I was hospitalized numerous times, tested and tested to find out what is wrong with my brain. I had neurological tests in fancy centers, I had 5 hour long book sessions with the M1PR, and of course every psychologist wanted to compartmentalize whatever was wrong-so they could be right. It was all very confusing at the time.
Growing up I had bouts of depression, and I really only had more epidsodes hypomania than full blown mania just yet. I didn’t realize that my inability to focus in school, or forgetfulness may be a symptom of something larger. My good old friend anxiety is what really opened a can of worms when it came to the beginning of teenage disaster. I started by smoking copious amounts of marijuana to calm myself down, from there, packs and packs of cigarettes. The cigarettes may seem like something small and meaningless, but I was also born with Asthma- so not the smartest idea. (Yes, I am still a full time smoker, and yes, still working on it.) From there I attempted to cope with these emotions in a healthier manner, such as painting, music, and writing. However, there was something else that kept pulling me- that nasty impulsive side kept nagging right in my ear. I found myself attempting to cope with codependent love, sex and obsession. Obsession is overwhelming when you have bipolar disorder. It is as if no matter what you do, that obsession lasts for however long it decides to. From the obsession of love and sex came the obsession of needing someone. Never being alone. Being alone meant dealing with myself- which meant dealing with the insanity. If I was alone I was usually pissed, or high. Just to be able to avoid “other me.”
After years of numbing mania with downers and enlightening depression with uppers, I found my self pregnant with my daughter at 19. After giving birth to my daughter, this sent my illness into a whirlwind, as it had been untreated at that time. This sent me into long episodes of mania, running around and calming myself unconventionally. Of course at that point, I became obsessed with chilcare, health and the future that this tiny human paints ahead for me. I could say that I became this amazing mother who did yoga every morning and sipped tea at night after a 6pm meditation ritual- but that’s the idea of me I create in my mind. That is not reality.
Here is reality;
I am a fly by the seat of my pants type of mom, always on the go- shoving an ocean of coffee down my throat to get through the day. My daughter is just about 10 years old, and I think she steers the boat better than I do some days. There are days where I realize I am wearing the same pair of leggings for the 10th time this month. If I’m in a depressed episode, I spray some perfume-literally on the crotch, use a roller to get rid of the dog hair and move on. If I’m in a manic or hypomanic episode- I usually will wash it over and over. Or at least wear each clean thing until everything is dirty because I know that the down is coming. I avoid areas of the house that I know are a mess because I know cleaning it won’t change my overall situation.
Most people don’t understand the frequent job changes, or moves, or why no matter where I go or what I do why I am always in debt. It may seem to someone on the outside that I am just always a hot mess, but in reality – coping with this mental illness is can seem absolutely impossible.
I can only hope that documenting the daily frustrations will help me from feeling absolutely insane. I hope it well help me from forgetting the day to day issues I face. As most know, when in the ups you forget the downs and vice versa. Bipolar is forgetting your home address for hours on end, putting the jelly in the with Tupperware, the waxpaper in with the bath towels and forgetting what you are doing half way through it over and over again.
I hope most find this helpful, or can find something within this blog today that they can relate to.