Welcome to this open, honest look at Bipolar Disorder and how it impacts our lives.
I am diagnosed. Now what?
You think finally getting a diagnosis for Bipolar Disorder means that things will start getting better because there must be a magic pill. The commercials on TV encourage you to ask about the latest medication and promise you a happy life. If only it were that easy. This is the beginning of a marathon to get good treatment and support. In my story it has taken years to get the right team in place with the right medication to get me where I can be the best me I can be. Here is my story.
Since my twenties I have battled with extreme highs and very consuming lows. One day I could take on the world. Nothing could stop me. I would excel at tasks that most people couldn’t. Multitasking was a way of life for me. Through more balls in for me to juggle and I could make it look easy. Then the dark days would come. I had a voice in my head telling me I was worthless, incompetent, and a waste of life. Many times, throughout the years, I felt suicidal and even attempted suicide a few times. In my career field my manic phases helped me excel. I could work circles around people with ease. When the darkness came I was nearly incapacitated. For years, I had trouble sleeping. I would go 2-3 days without sleeping then sleep for days.
In 2013, I went to the doctor because I hadn’t slept in 7 days. Let me tell you, that long without sleep drives you mad! He gave me a heavy sedative which did nothing. I went back the next day. He asked me, “Have you ever been evaluated for Bipolar Disorder?” I said, “no, but my dad has Manic/Depressive Disorder.” I didn’t realize they were the same thing. The doctor sent me to an therapist who evaluated me and I scored highly on the bipolar scale. The doctor and therapist recommended I start on Seroquel. After a year on Seroquel things really hadn’t improve and I was having all sorts of side effects. I had developed high cholesterol, diabetes, seizures, gained 40lbs, and basically every other side effect they warn you about. My new therapist recommended Latuda. That helped balance me out a lot more. I had been seeing a therapist for over a year at this point. We worked through triggers, helping me to recognize my episodes of mania and depression as they happened.
Fast-forward 4 years and my bipolar was in check for the most part but not at its optimal level I would come to find out. I was still in therapy, which I highly recommend. I came under the care of a new prescriber who wanted to do more than just band-aid my situation. She ran several blood and urine tests. We found that I was deficient in essential vitamins and minerals. She started me on supplements, Adderall, and Lamictal in addition to my current regimen. Within a few weeks I started feeling so much better. I felt level, full of energy but not manic, and hopeful. Currently, I take my handful of meds and attend therapy regularly. I am doing better then I have in a long time. I want the same for you. Join me as we look at the what Bipolar Disorder is, triggers, medication, support, and so much more.
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