I was bouncing between anorexic and bulimic behavior for most of my high school years. My home life was less than ideal. Even though I come from a respected family; it was anything but normal. Out of respect for my family, I shall say no more on that. Only, that the situation was stressful.
One summer night I took pills — lots of pills. I took a nap, woke up nauseated, and looked at myself in the mirror. I was ashen. And I wasn’t going to give up. I asked for help. I spent two nights in ICU and then at least one night as a patient. I left the hospital and took prescribed pills. (And my parents’ insurance carrier refused to cover me.) The medication helped in some respects and created new issues. I could not sleep. I slept at odd hours. I took up juggling and couldn’t stop. I told ludicrous stories. I thought I was great. I became promiscuous.
The last bit came up in a therapy session. I was a minor, so my psychiatrist talked to my parents. I went on lithium and an anti-psychotic. Here is where I give credit to my mother, a psychiatrist. She insisted I go on lithium before I reach full-blown psychosis. My psychiatrist was of the wait and see approach.
Lithium saved me. I am on a different “cocktail” now. But I am alive. I am a “highly functioning, bipolar 2.” I have done many things — things that are accomplishments in and of themselves. But, I have done them while being bipolar 2. I have lived through my thirties though I thought I would never see my twenties. (Although my insurance premiums strain me.)
My family, friends, colleagues, and classmates have rallied around me. I am blessed to have a mother who would not see me destroyed before a therapist took action. I am blessed to have a biochemistry that responds to medication. (I am blessed to have private insurance.)
Without those blessings, I would be one of those desperate people that one hides away or tosses onto the street. I look at many of them and think, “There but by the grace of God, go I.”