Bi-Polar Disorder, what is your story regarding it?

January 19, 2011 10:21am CST
I myself was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder two and a half years ago after two back to back manic episodes. My mother is also diagnosed with Bi-Polar, so there is a family history, which like contributed to a quick diagnoses. I'll let everyone know a bit of my history and perhaps you can respond in kind. Two and a half years ago, with very little warning, I began sliding into a manic episode. Not knowing what it was, I did not seek help, but instead continued to slip further into it, not only behaving in a way that scared people, but I also caused extreme suffering to my fiancee as well. After we broke up, I stayed with my 6 year old, incredibly manic, unable to even care for myself, until she was taken (thank god) from me. I ended up in a general hospital and then transferred to the local psychiatric hospital. While involuntary there, I was started on Lithium 1200 mg, Seroquel 150mg, and Olanzipine Zydis 30mg. Although these medications brought me out of my mania to an extent, they also were a very high dose for a 90 lb woman, and I became very disjointed and brainless, unable to think, unable to walk strait, and had a hard time eating even. I was released from the psych hospital and immediately went off the medication, relapsed, took off across the province, selling everything valuable I owned. I stayed with a friend, smoking marijuana (which I never have done), wandering town, losing more weight, and alternating between explosive and extremely happy moods. Eventually my friend realized she should not have invited me and I was too much to handle and had her parents drive across the province to get me. I arrived back at my home town and continued to be unmanageable, didn't sleep, approached strangers stating strange delusions, and generally embarrassed myself thoroughly, although in hindsight. The erratic public displays of psychotic/manic symptoms led to my second admission, which was about two weeks after my first ended. This time I ended up refusing the Lithium, and on my request was switched to Epival. I began slowly coming out of the mania, but it was 4 weeks before I was released again. During my second admission I had begun to speak with my ex-fiancee and she had been visiting and calling often. After my release we moved in together again, and although I was not perfectly well yet, I did slowly recover and was better by October, and had my daughter back by Christmas. I had spent almost 4 months of my life sick and lost everything. What did I lose? I lost my job, as I had graduated with honors the year before from the Registered Practical Nursing program and had been scheduled to begin my orientation to a new full time job at the same psychiatric hospital where I was admitted the day after my admission. I lost my fiancee temporarily, and her trust forever, I lost my daughter, my house, our car, and many electronics that I sold. I also lost my sense of self, and self esteem. I felt worthless; what was the point of being alive if I was going to be a burden, or be nothing in life? My whole life had fallen apart and I felt that all my previous goals were unrealistic since I had this terrible disorder. I had seen my mother struggle with it, contantly assaulting people when manic, being admitted, and then coming out and going off medication and becoming manic again. I didn't want my daughter to have to deal with that from me, to be in and out of foster care because of me, or to cause my fiancee more suffering. I first made the decision to stay on medication. Not for a while, not a month or two, but forever. If I could help it I would stay well. I would take my medication, get enough sleep, keep my stress down, and monitor myself carefully. But, I was too scared to work. I was too overqualified to work in retail or at a fast food place, but too terrified to have the responsibility of getting back into nursing. It took me a year to talk myself up, to build my self esteem enough to believe I could maybe try getting a job in nursing again. I renewed my nursing license, and then applied at a few select places that I thought would be a bit less stressful, and that weren't places I wanted to make a career, just in case it didn't work. I got a part time job at a retirement home, and my confidence grew. I was amazing with the residents, quick, efficient, well liked, and very competent in my job. After seven months I took a deep breath and decided to conquer my fears and re-apply at the place I really wanted to work. It took awhile and a few interviews but I got a job as an RPN (nurse) in the Forensic unit of the same psychiatric hospital I had been admitted to 2 years before, and had at the same time been hired at before. I have been working as a part time Forensic nurse, but full time hours, for 7 months now. We live in a house by a lake and have a car again. It has been 2 and a half years since I was hospitalized, and not once have I relapsed. I take my medication every day, every dose, and will never stop. Perhaps for some the mania is "fun" or a great "high", but for me it is a terrifying loss of control where you are not yourself and hurt those you love. Has anyone else had experience, either themselves or a loved one, with Bi-Polar disorder? If so I would love to hear your story. Take care everyone.
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