I have wanted to write this for a long time. They say when you can talk about it and not cry, you are recovered. I suppose the same could be said for writing about it. So, here goes.
My name is Michelle and I am 32 years old. I have been married for 7 years and have two beautiful children. I am a nurse, a mother and a wife. ( Not in that order;). My husband treats me beyond well. I make good money. I have close friends. I love to read and write in my free time. I don’t watch television. I love chocolate.
I am no different than all the other women, wives, friends or moms out there. Except two years ago, my mind turned on me.
There is a saying, what goes up must come down.
Well, I went up. Really up.
"When she was high she could fly, but when she was down, she was really down".
For the past month I have been trying to get the courage up to tell my story. When I was at the worst of my depression the person who got me through to the other side was my dad. I remember him telling me, ” Sis, when you get better, because you will get better, don’t forget this time.”
"Because Sis, it is your responsibility to help others, to share your story. If you can help one person not to feel alone. ….."
Here’s my story.
Growing up I was a pretty average kid/teenager. I was quiet, and preferred my own company. I didn’t have many friends, mostly I guess I was too shy to make any.
But I was okay. I was pretty content and happy.
I had times of sadness though, now looking back, which were more severe than any of the other kids had.
I was 13 when I got diagnosed with Anorexia. Kind of an odd age I realized many years later. Years of therapy helped me to realize it was due to abuse as a child. Not ready to talk about that though.
Anyways, other than some bumps in my road, life wasn’t too bad.
I graduated high school, moved out, went to cosmetology school and did hair for about ten years.
These years were the years of bliss, I call then now.
The depressive nature I was accustomed to having had dissipated.
I made tons of friends. I went out, got wasted, went to bed for about three hours a night, went to work and did it again.
Night after night.
I was happy.
I was self-medicating.
Fast forward: Met my husband, got married, got pregnant, had my two children (twins), graduated nursing school.
I was only taking Lexapro 20mg.
I didn’t drink hardly at all.
I was living my life in a normal and mundane manner.
I was in remission.
The worst period in my life was two summers ago. I hadn’t been diagnosed as bi-polar yet, and whenever my dad ( who was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was two) or my husband even hinted that maybe I should go see someone, get on different meds, etc…
I snapped. I was headed towards my dance with the devil. ( Several of them, in fact).
I left home that summer, got an apartment and felt it was exactly what needed to be done. Perfect sense. I had to be free. I felt trapped.
I was on my trip to the land of mania.
Over the next six months I was someone who I know don’t know.
I didn’t want to be around my kids.
I hated my husband.
I wanted to get high.
So I did. I dated a dealer.
I did lines of coke.
For nights on end.
I developed a love of pain pills.
That is the one thing that still haunts me.
Those months were the worst months of my life.
I was out of control.
Spiraling down, further and further into the abyss.
But I wasn’t miserable. I was full of life. I was beautiful, I was dating so many guys I couldn’t keep up.
They were the worst months of my life because to this day I don’t know how it happened.
My mind had turned on me so quick, I didn’t even know it had.
Not until months later, after my husband took me back home.
Not until I suffered three months of major depression.
The kind where you don’t get out of bed. You don’t brush your teeth. You don’t want to kill yourself but you don’t want to live.
YOU see, looking back, during my time with mania, I was unaware of the repercussions on my family. I didn’t care.
During that time, my family felt like I did during my depression.
They had lost me, because I was lost.
The depression saved me.
Because it meant it was over.
It was June of this past year when I got better.
I had gotten onto a different medication. Several, in fact.
I read anything I could get my hands on about bipolar.
Knowledge is power.
I know it’s never over. Not when you’re sick.
But, remission is possible. Very possible.
So is learning how to recognize triggers and taking responsibility of your disease.
I wrote this today because after 4-5 months of feeling really okay, I have spent the last few days wandering if I was headed to the abyss again.
THIs time not the manic one (which, if I am honest, at times I miss. I have learned since my dx that this is normal. We like to be high, because it feels better than being down), but the abyss of depression.
I wrote this because getting my story out will maybe give me courage to not fall down.
And, I don’t think I’m falling.
Thanks for reading this, and my prayer is we all help keep one another out of the abyss.