For the first time in a decade, I’m on a new mental-health medication.
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The first time I really contemplated suicide, I was a teenager, and there were two feelings, and only two feelings.
The first was an inexorable exhaustion, one that had been dogging me for months, had finally grabbed hold of me, and I felt I couldn’t escape it. No amount of coffee, sleep, friendship, or excitement for the future could break into the sheer weight of tiredness I felt. My body ached; my brain processed like it was in a fog. I couldn’t imagine living the rest of my life moving the slowly, this lethargically.
Carissa is a teacher, mother, wife, and writer who lives in the Pacific Northwest. Now in her mid-thirties, she has lived with bipolar since she was a teen, as well as having a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder and C-PTSD. She also lives with blinding ocular migraines and Ankylosing Spondylitis (a genetic condition that causes back pain through bone damage as well as sever eye pain through nerve damage).
When multiple diagnoses exist in the same person, and impact each other, they are known as co-morbid conditions. My bipolar diagnosis came when I was 19, but I'd struggled with the cycles of manic function and depressed inability since puberty. My PTSD diagnosis wasn't made until I was in my 30s, and I’ve never been able to pin down whether the trauma started with the ocular migraines I thought came as a punishment from God, or the fact that my nine-year-old brother took up an iron fire poker and tried to cave my skull in.