Just to give you a little insight of my background, I have decided to write a little bio about myself related to Bipolar Disorder. This way I hope you understand better where I come from in my writings.
Photo credit: BigFoto.com
Even though I was born with Bipolar Disorder, I was only diagnosed early January 2007 with BD II, which switched to BD I after a manic episode in May 2007.
The manic episode started with a situation that I couldn’t handle that caused me to run away and live in my car, turning paranoid, not talking to anyone as I thought everyone was after me.
Unfortunately the only person I had somewhat of a trust relationship with at the time, my counselor, was gone for several weeks. I still don’t know what made me call long-distance to a friend who was living in Ukraine at the time. But I did and she, after several days, managed to convince me to go see my p-doc.
He just saw me and put me straight on antipsychotics. It was just in time to save me a trip to the hospital…
During that time I was on at least 5 different meds and taking about 15 pills a day. I thought that was how it would be in the future. Thank God, I am only on 3 meds and a total of 6 pills today! Even though taking meds is not an issue for me, because my focus is my quality of life, still the less meds the better 🙂 .
After my diagnosis I started to research and read everything I could find about Bipolar Disorder. Looking back in hind sight I realised that my first deep depression hit me when I was 15 years old. Even before that age there are now clear signs that I had bipolar traits. However, as most other people, I was misdiagnosed for years with Major Depressive Disorder.
You see, my hypomania was not so visible, so it really wasn’t so strange. I have always been a very driven and passionate person. People saw and experienced me as ‘intense’. In the ‘good’ times – read: hypomanic – I achieved a lot. Since I never knew any different I always thought that others were not committed or even lazy to some extent. It was only after my diagnosis that I realised that there was a good reason why they couldn’t keep up with me!
I felt always very ashamed about my depressions. During my school and college years I could still handle / hide it as my hypomania would usually compensate for times I was hardly able to do something. But once in the working world I had to perform on a consistent basis and that is where I stumbled and fell.
Because I worked for the Dutch government and in my country one can not so easily fire government workers, I didn’t lose my job in the process. In other circumstances and in other countries I would have lost my job several times.
I remember taking on a new job about which I was really excited, only to dissolve into nothingness not even three months down the road. I was supposed to create an archive but was caught between the policy makers not wanting to part with their documents and the archive department not supporting me. Little did I know at that time that such a situation drives a Bipolar totally nuts. I thought of myself as weak and unable.
In the end I was transferred to a job way below my ability. This reinforced the thought that I was not able to function properly, for whatever reason.
My childhood was filled with trauma’s of sexual abuse, within and outside of the family. There was also enough of verbal abuse and to some extent physical as well. Unfortunately, I had to divorce myself from my family around the age of 20 to simply survive. I continued in survival mode for about 20 years before the shit hit the fan, as they say.
To be continued on Monday….