In my personal experience, I have found that the absolute worst saying that has ever come about in the English language is Ignorance is Bliss. For, truly, what are you really saying about yourself? If you boil that saying down to the essence of what it really means, you’re just telling yourself that you are happy being stupid. Don’t get me wrong, I am not calling you stupid, I’m saying that I was the one that was happy being stupid. Or so I thought…
With that being said, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Eva. That is not my real name, but I would like to be called that in order to keep my own sense of anonymity. Quite frankly, I was unable to understand anyone with a mental illness/disorder because I was indeed ignorant. But all that changed when I received my own diagnosis. I have officially been living with the Bipolar I diagnosis since about a month before my 23rd birthday. And here I am, 5 hospitalizations (and seven years wiser), I’m sitting here shrugging my shoulders because what can I do? I finally understand, and thus, I have compassion for those in a similar boat as mine.
Looking back on my life I can see the signs of my undiagnosed, thus, untreated adolescent Bipolar years, and I wonder how my parents were able to turn me into the good woman that I feel that I am today. I don’t feel that my childhood was a very good one. I have been abused in just about every way one can be, including sexual abuse from the time I was seven until two years later, when I was nine. I was an introvert until I was well into my adult years. I had a don’t ask, don’t tell policy with my parents and friends. They never asked if there was a problem, so I never told them when I had one. I kept everything inside until one day, my world as I knew it fell apart.
I had a small family, and it was growing. My husband and I had many unpaid bills and we didn’t know how we were going to survive. We already had one child, and the pressure was building on me to keep the three of us fed, so how could I handle a fourth mouth? Needless to say, when doctors discovered that child number two was ill from birth, my body decided that enough was enough! It broke my heart that I couldn’t take my baby home with me when I was discharged, so when he was only a week old I just cracked. Simple as that. I was in the hospital for one month, and in that time, the doctors gave me two diagnoses: Postpartum Psychosis (which went away before I left the hospital), and Bipolar I Disorder (which I pray for a cure every day of my life).
I’ve lost many friends in these seven years, even some that I thought I would never loose. Apparently, it really doesn’t matter how close you are to someone, when you are diagnosed with something as uncontrollable as this, finding a truly valuable friend is harder to find than a four leaf clover. My friends are a part of my family. I love them just as much and just as deeply as my own siblings. So when I loose one, a little part of me goes with them. But I’m not here to talk about my sorrows. I’m here to talk about my joys.
With my condition, the doctors advised me to stop having children after child #2. I listened, I obeyed, and even with the birth control, I got pregnant anyway. I’m just hoping that the birth control I chose this time will work better than the last one I chose. My three children are my greatest accomplishments. The love I have for them and the joy they bring to my life is unsurpassed! Through it all, my husband has stayed by my side when others would/could not. I am grateful for the love and support that he gives me each and every day.
I had my first mixed/hypomanic state of mind last week. I have been taking all my medications the way they were intended to be taken and still I was awake for a full 54 hours straight. But there is more to it than that. I was fully alert and aware of myself the whole time. That kind of thing is really not normal! And I knew that. So I scheduled an appointment with my doctor right away and he gave me yet another pill to take everyday. I hate pills, really I do… I don’t like taking them everyday, I don’t like what they do to my body. *Sigh* But I take them anyway. Don’t want to, but I do it. I do everyday because I know that when I’m off them, my family suffers just as much as I do. And I love them, so I take them. Frankly, I’ve never been happier because I know I am doing the right thing for myself and my family.
Mania scares me, it really does. So when I was awake for those 54 hours straight, I would cry because I was afraid. I was afraid that I would black out and never wake up, because I had died of exhaustion. And honestly, I don’t want to die like that. Especially not this close to my thirtieth birthday. That’s right, I’m not even thirty yet. Close, but not yet. And that is why I am here today. I want to make a difference to those around me. I want others to know that I understand where they are coming from and I have compassion for their situation.
So, here I am, one little not-so-ignorant person trying to make a big difference to one more little person so that they too will choose not to be ignorant as well. Because the more people we educate now, the more people that will understand later, which will lead to a greater compassion for the unfortunate souls and their unfortunate situations. Honestly, the world needs more love in our hearts and the only way to spread the love is to spread the understanding giving way to a happier state of mind throughout the world!
My name is Eva, and these are my thoughts…