Bipolar. Manic depressive. Those were the only words I heard come out of my doctor’s mouth. Unstable. Mental case. Crazy. Insane. Those were the words that ran through my mind. I was sitting across from her at the desk. Those words were thrown in my face as if they meant nothing at all. That’s because she wasn’t talking about herself. Instead she was talking to me.
All of the blood drained from from my face. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t see. I couldn’t hear. I felt all alone in this world full of people. I didn’t know what to think. I couldn’t think. All I wanted to do was run. Run away from all of this. Run away from those words that were now describing me. I couldn’t move though. I was becoming part of the blue cushioned chair that I sat upon.
My senses returned to me, and I was able to hear, see, and breathe again. Medication. I was told I would need to take medication on a daily basis now. Unfortunately for this disorder, this illness, there are hundreds of medications that could work. That meant I had to go through a trial and error kind of phase taking one pill after another until we found the best fit for me.
I didn’t know what to think. Instead the doctor did the thinking for me. She told me what she recommended. An anti-depressant. A mood stabilizer. I felt like I didn’t have a choice. My moods were all over the place, I was acting erratic, I wasn’t thinking clearly, and at times I wasn’t thinking at all. So medication was something I truly needed to try.
Next thing I knew I was being handed some prescription slips to take to the pharmacy. I thanked the doctor, I think, and walked out of the office in a haze. I made it to my car, lost in my thoughts, and somehow made it to the pharmacy.
I dropped off the slip to the pharmacist. I was asked if I wanted to wait or to come back for the medication. I knew if I left I might not come back, so I sat and waited. They called my name over the intercom and I bought my medicine.
Once I was home I sat on the bed, staring at the bag full of my new daily doses. I think I sat there for over an hour. Just staring. Taking in the fact that it could be the last time I wasn’t medicated.
Finally, I opened the bag and stared at the bottles. They each said take once a day. Nighttime. That’s when I’ll take my pills. Right before bed. That way if one makes me tired I can sleep it off. If they made me wired and full of energy, I would take them in the morning. I had to start somewhere though, and deciding when to take them was the second step.
The first step was to admit that I was bipolar. I stared at myself in the mirror after I put the medication in my bathroom drawer. I looked at my long, thin, strangely hair, my green eyes that gave off a hue of blue as well, my long nose, and my curved mouth. I looked normal on the outside. No one could tell anything different about me, since my illness, my disease, my disorder was on the inside. I could no longer look at myself in the mirror. Tears leaked out of my eyes and dripped onto the bathroom counter.
Being bipolar isn’t like having the flu or cold. No one can see it, because it resides in the brain. So while I was newly diagnosed, no one knew what was going on. I could keep it to myself if I wanted. Or I could tell people and be labeled. Either way it was my choice.
My choice. How nice. Surprising that I could actually make my own decision on this. I felt like I had no choice with anything else. I had to get better, so I had to take medicine. I had to get better, so I had to find triggers. I had to get better, so I had to get out of bed. My life was full of “have to” all the time, but with this, this one thing, I could make the decision on my own.
My life had changed forever. I had to work on things in my life, get them in order. Make my life actually livable. I had to figure out what made me so angry all of the time. I had to go to the other spectrum and figure out what made me depressed all of the time. This was not easy, because it felt like everything made me angry and depressed. For weeks I’d be filled with rage and not know why, and then for weeks I’d be filled with depression, and I wouldn’t know why. How was I supposed to find out what set e off in either direction when it seemed like it was everything that did.
My doctor told me I had to work on it. Peel apart my life. Pick it piece by piece to see what made me tick. I didn’t even know what that meant. Nothing made me tick I thought. I just had feelings. That was all. Aren’t I allowed to have feelings? Apparently not these kinds of feelings. That’s where the medication kicks in. It’s supposed to help me, mellow me, help me see the bad beside the good. That wasn’t enough though. I had to do work as well. I had to figure out the puzzle pieces to my life and put them back together. Somehow anyway.
I didn’t even know where to start. Yes, I did. I knew what I had to do. I looked back up in the mirror. Wiped away the tears. Opened my mouth. Stared straight into my own eyes, and said “My name is Dawn, and I’m Bipolar.”
My name is Dawn. I’m 26 years young. I am happily married with a wonderful seven year old step son and a beautiful six month old baby girl. I am a stay at home mom. I graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with an English Degree. I am Bipolar, and I am stable and happy with my life.
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