I was sitting in my favorite professor’s class (abnormal psychology) ready to learn all about various mental illnesses. My professor spoke loudly when she said, “Now don’t be surprised if you read a chapter and feel as if you have that mental illness the next day. The mind is a powerful thing.” We chuckled and then dove right into our text.
It was absolutely fascinating to me. The mind, the illnesses, the stigma, how people cope… Everything about it was so illuminating for me.
Then, we began to study bipolar disorder I & II. After reading the segment on bipolar II, I began to feel odd about myself. The wheels in my head began to turn slowly, as if they had never been oiled up enough to move before. Well, the oil was there and it was the research I was about to do all on bipolar disorder.
After months of feeling a connection to this particular mental illness, I decided it was time to talk to a professional. I spoke with my doctor and he referred me to a psychiatrist and therapist. From that moment on, my life had changed.
I am a person living with a mental illness. At times I hate it. At times I am indifferent about it. And then there are those times where my mind literally explodes with ideas and amazing things and I feel overwhelmed by it, but kind of love it at the same time.
It’s scary to feel as if you have no control over your thoughts. They either don’t move fast enough for you and are swallowed up with darkness, or they are mellow and what some would like to call “normal” (don’t even get me started on that word!), and sometimes your thoughts are moving so quickly, your mind cannot keep up and they are driving all over and colliding together like bumper cars being driven by a bunch of kindergarteners.
But you deal with it. Because you can either give in to the depression, or the mania, and allow one or the other to swallow you whole… Or you can live your life to the best of your ability. Which is what I am trying to do every single day.
I was recently on a very good upswing. Life was going great, I was at the top of the hill, and nothing could knock me down. I saw my therapist regularly, I took my medications regularly, I was “stable”… Life was just good… Until it wasn’t. I suffered through a miscarriage one week ago, and I just lost it. I fell down that hill faster than Jack and… well, myself! I took my medications for the weekend very irregularly, if at all, I began to self-medicate with alcohol, I distanced myself from my husband and my mother (who were simply trying to understand and have a conversation with me, and make sure I was okay), and I was drowning in depression.
Thank goodness for good friends, family, and a therapist who truly has shown me that she cares because it took a lot of work for them to get me out of that funk. It also took a lot of work from myself.
I could have given up. Easily. I wrote my suicide letter. I had my sleeping pills grasped tightly in my hand, so tight that I cut my hand a little bit even. I was simply done. And unfortunately, that is a concept so many others who do not live with a mental illness/illness/anything that makes you feel this way, find difficult to grasp. And what is the first thing we are basically taught? To judge. Everyone is crazy, everyone is out to do you harm, he or she has a mental illness, they should be locked up.
Some people do need more help than others, but they do not need your judgements, they need your love and respect, just like you would give to any other human being (or so I would hope). They need to know they are not suffering in silence. They… You are not alone. Someone out there loves you. Everyone is loved by someone. Please don’t wait for the worst… Get the help you need. Do it for yourself, because you are a good person, you DO deserve to live a wonderful life!
It took all I had in me to throw that bottle of sleeping pills across the room, but I did it. And then I reached out to someone who cared for me and asked for help. It hurt my pride, but damn. What’s worse? Hurting your pride, or dying and not having pride to hurt?
Thank you for reading.
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Jillian (Jill) was born and raised in a fairly rural small town in Minnesota. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2008 and has been living with the mood swings, the depression, the anxiety, the medications, the struggles, and the successes ever since.
Jill is currently 26 years old and living with her husband, Matt, in her parents house. She is currently attending Rasmussen College for an Associate’s Degree to become a Health Information Technician, in hopes of a work-at-home job for more stability in her life.
Jill enjoys writing in her blog, playing with her family Yorkshire Terriers (Chippy & Bella), being around family and friends, and educating herself on the world around her.
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