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Relief & Denial - My First Two Steps

RaeAnn

At the age of 16, I was in a serious car accident and suffered a concussion. Within two weeks after the accident, something about me was different.

Step 1: Relief
At the age of 27, during my first psychiatric hospitalization, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.  I remember feeling the biggest sense of relief and thinking to myself, "Finally! Now there's an answer to that question I have asked myself over and over for the last 10 years--WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH ME?"

What a great feeling it was to know that my "personality" didn't cause my irrational behavior.  Instead, it was a "very serious illness" that caused my irrational behavior. I immediately told myself, "You are a good person with a not-so-good disorder."

The relief lasted for a short time, maybe six weeks or so. Next I faced something that was so far from that good feeling of relief!

Step 2:  Denial
I was now at a point of despair.  The thought of being labeled was too hard to accept. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and scared. So if I pretended it didn't exist, all of those feelings would go away.  I soon came to realize that was NOT going to happen. I needed help, so I went to see a counselor.  He helped me to understand that acknowledging that I had Bipolar Disorder was the only way to move on with my "new life."

Yes, I had a "new life" to start living. I was now a woman living with Bipolar Disorder.  That "new life" began over 22 years ago.

I have taken many steps during this twenty-two-year journey. You've just read about my first two.  I have so many more to write about.

Thank you for reading my stories. Without you all, my pages would be blank.  Hugs!!

Comments

"I immediately told myself, "You are a good person with a not-so-good disorder." What a beautifully written, poignant line, Rae Ann. I look forward to reading about your journey over the last 22 years. Thank you so much for having the courage to share. take good care! Dyane

Thank you Dyane!

Saw ur comments Dyane I too have rapid cycling can u share what u did that helped..I just find myself laughing when I realize it's happening then distract myself but lately I find it affects my job as I lose concentration of task at hand....thxs

I was in a motorcycle accident 19 years ago, among many injuries a concussion, I soon realized something was wrong. Denial my worst enemy for 18 yrs. I broke in 2013 and spent 3 months in a outpatient program at a Behavioral Center. I also suffer from rapid cycling. I had to leave my job and I'm divorcing. On a good note I've been episode free for five months :) and am starting a new life. Thank you so much for sharing it means a lot. Take care!

My comment was supposed to be to glenn not dyane..oops

You are not alone in going through those two stages. I remember going through them myself. I still go through denial once in awhile. I swear the docs have it wrong or else the meds would work all the time. But rationally I know it's just chemistry. I can't wait to hear about the rest of the steps you went through. I'm newly diagnosed compared to you, I'm sure I could learn a lot from you.

Interesting Rae Ann! I learned something new! I have had BPDII-RC my whole life and despite much research on the subject, I never know that there was a Traumatic-Onset BP.

I definitely go through ups and downs (no pun intended!) on how I feel about it. Some days I see it as a blessings (hypomania) and sometimes a curse (impulsive behavior), but for the most part have tried to live each day in at least a state of acceptance.

It became a lot harder to deny once my kiddos were born and BP showed it's ugly side in them both. When I found out about our son (who I pretty much knew from before he was born by his erratic behaviors and lack of sleep, even as an infant - *sigh* ), but thought we got lucky with our daughter because she was so mild-mannered and easy for the first 7 years of her life. Then almost overnight, her symptoms exploded out of her and for a moment we seriously considered that she might be demon-possessed!

While it is a challenge, we simply try to be honest with everyone around us so that should we inadvertently do something impulsive/offensive, they will at least have some understanding as to why. Our life is definitely not "typical", but we are okay with that, though sometimes I think my poor hubby feels a little left out. Especially on those magical moments where we are all a little manic at the same time and think a moonlight bike ride at 3am would be awesome, and we wake him up to drag him out with us. He is completely amazing in supporting us and tries really hard to keep up and participate in moments like that. The way I see it, we all make special memories with our kids, who cares if ours are a little less than conventional.

We quickly learned that our only real option for success was to homeschool. With our erratic sleep schedules it became just as hard for me to get up to get our son to school, as it was for him to get up himself. Plus at 5 we still didnt have the stability necessary for school. He went to public school for 3 months, and a private Christian school (thinking it would be more understanding and had small classes/lots of teacher's aids) for 2 months, before we became "reluctant homeschoolers". At first I was very resentful about having to quit my job - I was lucky enough to find one I loved, that was very flexible with my needs - and give up my "me time". The first year was a struggle and I honestly don't think we made any progress. In an effort to make sure he didn't miss out on anything, I tried to recreate school at home. After realizing that wasn't going to work and letting go of all preconceived ideas, we did much better. Now, 6 years later, I wouldn't trade it for the world!

An amazing life with Bipolar is possible if you are willing to throw out all ideas of what you think of as "normal" and find a "normal" that works for you. Have a blessed day!

Hi Kathy! There are a few things I've done to cope with rapid cycling. 1st is to recognize when it's happening, then I use skills I learned in DBT group along with meds(I'm taking Lamictal and Lithium) once my lithium was increased during my 2nd hospitalization all cycling has stopped for over 5 months. The last 2 times I started rapid cycling I was triggered by my former best friend, she said I could fix myself and called me an addict among other things. One thing I learned in therapy was hopeless relationships must end and I've ended this one, still hurts though. My group therapist told me you can't keep going down the same road and expect a different outcome. Throw everything you can at it Kathy what works is different for everyone. I use to think I wasn't worth the effort but I was wrong. I am worth it! We all are! Best Wishes!

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