You are here

When It Rains...

By: Laura Sanscartier

...it pours. Or at least it does in my case.  I bet it does in a lot of cases out there. I wish I could meet each and every one of you and give you the biggest hug.  

What am I talking about? Multiple diagnoses, often called comorbidities. It's when God or the big unicorn in the sky or whomever is running things decides to give a person not one, but two or three or four illnesses at once. And we're expected to live with the consequences. We're expected to juggle the medications. We're expected to go to multiple doctors' appointments, sometimes in one DAY, to figure out how to work out living a life with all these things mushing about in our bodies. It's exhausting. It's frustrating at the least, and maniacally infuriating at the most. I often find myself getting worked up over the sheer volume of it all.

In my case, I have Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. And they are beasts. My medications are numerous, my therapy is constant, and I am forever trying to learn new ways in which I can manage my life while my head tries to thwart me at every turn.

But I am not going to lose this fight! (Or as is said in "Hamilton" I am not giving away my shot!). I am using the medication, therapy, and coping skills to build a life that includes work, a marriage, and a healthy family/friend social calendar. It's not an easy thing, and some days I wish I could just curl up under my weighted blanket and dream the world away, but it's not to be. This is the life that has been carved out for me, and I will make the best of it. I make sure to take my medication faithfully, I go to therapy every week, I check in with my family and friends on a regular basis. I like to read, watch Netflix, color, do word searches, and laugh with my husband as some of my coping skills.

Do you have multiple diagnoses? What skills do you use to handle them?

Comments

I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 1 almost 6 years ago. I also have trichotillomania (skin picking disorder) which is associated with bipolar. The skin picking only gets bad when I am stressed or have high anxiety about a situation but it can be debilitating, especially since it usually occurs on my face. I hear you and support you in this journey!

Hey, Laura. My current diagnosis - after many years - is Bipolar 2 co-morbid with OCD. It took a lot of years to get to this point-I was diagnosed originally with GAD and depression almost 15 years ago. Right now, I’m taking Trileptal (a mood stabilizer) , Zoloft (an anti-depressant) & Wellbutrin XL (also an anti-depressant but with more of a energizing effect).
My main issue has always been obsessional thinking - it directs everything else. The constant - sometimes daily - downward spiral. The occasional hypomanic “get EVERYTHING done NOW!” episode.
Coping methods? <grin> What are these “coping methods” you speak of and do they come with chocolate sprinkles on top? (Just kidding!) Honestly, my main coping method is taking my medications regularly & going to therapy regularly.
As for anything else? Good old reliable distraction! Using it to breaking the cycle when (if) I recognize it. Just stopping what I’m doing. Taking a minute to meditate, to get up & walk around, to sit down, tune out, and watch an hour of nature programs on TV (which comes with its own potential of triggering obsessional thinking...).
Also, watching what I eat. If I need to get things done that day, I avoid sugar & quick release carbs like cereal or crackers (or eat them only with protein). I’m not willing to give up sweet stuff or junk food completely but I can do it just to be able to finish out my work or “other people” time without crashing.
I avoid talking to certain people whose predictable topics of conversation will be certain to draw me down into the spiral. <sigh> (I hate doing that by the way - I feel like I *should* be able to discuss anything at anytime with anyone - but it’s triggered me off too many times to ignore it).
I hope that’s been some help. <shrug> I will always have the deep-seated desire to one day sit in the “normal people” section again, but I have given up pretending that it’ll happen in my lifetime - that has helped more than anything else. Good luck on your journey.

Add new comment

PLEASE POST COMMENTS ONLY. If you are in need of an IBPF resource, please contact Aubrey @ agood@ibpf.org. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-784-2433.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.