Hi Friends – it’s been a while. Does a few years count as a while? yikes.
My kids are no longer needing strollers or baby gear. We are far passed that stage, and my husband did the good ole snip – so the baby ship has officially sailed. That was a sad day for me, but knowing what I know now, I am thankful we have closed that chapter. I am wholeheartedly content with our party of four. Five including the dog I bought on a trip to Orlando… #impulsivityatitsfinest
I am here today because although I am no writer; I have a lot to say. I just never say it out loud. It runs through my mind – non stop. Never saying anything ultimately put me in such a depressive mental state, I asked my Husband to take me to a Hospital – just about 4 weeks ago – because I knew the thoughts I was having were not ok. They were not going away. I needed help.
I want to do my best to be sensitive to those that have had or still struggle with their mental health. I hope my words aren’t a trigger for someone who is also struggling, but that by the end – my words will help someone else feel some hope, like I have, on their journey of this very lonely disease. Yes, disease. Because it is a disease…and anyone who says otherwise can fuck off. Sorry not sorry. I don’t choose to feel this way. It chose me. And that is something I am still coming to terms with. If for one second you think someone has made the choice to isolate from family, sob in a bathroom uncontrollably for no reason, or self harm – you are wrong. So very wrong. Yes, their body is doing that. But many times, It’s the mind that has taken over full force and causing this self-destruction. I know this because I live it.
My entire life has been based on presenting an outward appearance of perfection. Perception is everything, right? I wanted and almost needed to be perceived as perfect. Not in a narcissistic way – but in a way to feel like I fit in with the rest. I was a competitive figure skater – and I was good. I traveled the US and Internationally while on the Junior US Olympic Skating Team – and strived for perfection every single day of my life from age 5-18. If you want to win, you must be perfect. I can now look back and say, it has taken me 15 years to get to a place where I am accepting of my own imperfections and no longer strive for perfection – it’s still a daily struggle to let go of that mentality. But in this period of my life, I strive for making it through each day in one piece. I strive to show my children how much I love them. I strive to show my Husband how much I love and appreciate him…I’m not always the best at showing him this, but I try. I have let go of the need to be the perfect Daughter, Mother, Aunt, Granddaughter, Friend, Wife, etc. It’s just too damn hard, and right now, I am just happy to be alive and have the desire to write this. Two weeks ago, the thought of even opening my computer for any reason seemed like the most horrific task of my life. Same with getting out of bed. Opening my eyes was hard. That makes my heart ache – it aches because it’s such a lonely feeling, and so many struggle with the same feelings. So many people’s feeling are quickly dismissed as lazy, moody, being an ass hole, being crazy. Well you know what, you need to STFU and wonder what it’s like to feel your body is covered in cement and you’re trying to scream for help but no words come out. If you can’t imagine how that feels, I’ll tell you – it sucks. It really sucks.
Since I was about 14, I know I’ve had some issues. I always felt less than. Not as pretty as my friends, even though people tell me I am beautiful. I felt less than because I didn’t have an education like others did. I felt less than because I quit skating the second I had the chance. I also had moments of feeling like I was a total rock star. Nothing could bring me down and I could rule the world. I had moments of being so completely elated with my life that I would spend money like a maniac, not even realizing the amount or why. Sometimes not even remembering until boxes would show up on our doorstep. I just felt so good and wanted to do everything and could do everything- and do it all at the same time. I knew eventually, the cement would take over again and this full life I was experiencing would end once again.
Last year I had a breakdown around November. I remember being at Disney with my Mom, Husband and kids. We are at the happiest place on earth – and as I was pushing the stroller with Harper in it, I looked at my Husband, Mom and Son walk ahead of me – in front of It’a A Small World – and I started to cry. I started to cry because I didn’t want to be there. Not because it’s hot AF and kids are crying and parents are yelling that they aren’t spending $15 dollars on a balloon that looks like Mickey – I didn’t want to be there period. I wanted to disappear. I didn’t want to be with my family. I will never forget that moment, that feeling, it scared the shit out of me. How could I not want to be with them? I love them! But that’s what I felt – and the feeling wouldn’t stop. I had already been seeing a Psychiatrist and Therapist for anxiety and depression but nothing was really helping. That next April, I decided enough was enough and I was stopping my medicine and finding a new doctor…. oh man. What a decision that would be.
Here I am, in present time. I am 33. I work a full-time job. I had my own business and kicked ass (most of the time). I have the sweetest 5-year-old son and most sassy 4-year-old daughter. They are smart, independent and caring – I am so beyond proud of my babies. I have a loving Husband who will stick by my side come hell or high-water. Literally he’s been through hell and back and stayed by my side through the ugliest moments of my life. I have Supportive friends and family. SO…what’s wrong?
I am Bi-Polar. Diagnosed 11/26/2018. F. M. L.
I initially thought, how is that possible? There are times I am SO functional – it’s incredible – no way this is what it is. Turns out – that’s one of the symptoms. It’s called a Manic Episode. I know I have a family history of mental illness, so I can’t say I was 100% shocked – but I was shocked hearing a Doctor say – “You are Bi Polar.”
As hard as it was to hear that diagnosis, Suddenly, the insane ups – the Manic version of myself – spending amounts of money that most people would consider as a down payment on a home – in days, weeks or sometimes over the periods of months. Painting our house in the middle of the night. I am talking painting the bathroom, painting tables, painting our trash can. Yes. Trash can…. Deciding Washi Tape should be on every part of our house and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t discovered this magical tape sooner. Changing my hair color 13 times in 1 week. Sleeping 2-3 hours a night and just going, going, going with no end in sight. No need to end. My body was on auto pilot and I had no control over the decisions I was making, It all made sense.
The depression that absolutely terrifies me made sense. I get a lump in my throat thinking about it. It crushes me. I never understood that saying “I feel crushed”. I get it now. Thinking about the feeling of being trapped in my own hopeless mind/body and not being able to do a damn thing about it makes my stomach turn. I fear it will come back. Everyday. I wonder if when wake up to go make coffee, it will suddenly take over as it’s done in the past. I pray it doesn’t.
When I think of all the advice I’ve received over the years, I see now it always came from a place of love. But at the time, If one more person had told me to drink some tea, use essential oils, or eat a good meal to help my depression and anxiety, I think I may have lost my shit. I mean… I did lose my shit – but I think you get what I’m trying to say. In hindsight, everyone was just trying to help me. I’m grateful that I have so much support in my life they they’d even care to offer something that they think could help. The problem is, this type of anxiety, mania, and depression is evil. It can’t be fixed with a good meal and hot tea. It made me resent my family, my Husband, my kids, my whole world. It made me hate myself. I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up. This disease, yes I said disease, AGAIN, made me believe that not being in this world was better for my family. Depression felt like I was seeing the world from through different eyes. I didn’t even wonder how everyone else could manage life, because I was so far down the path of hopelessness sometimes, the pure thought of even having to live my life the way everyone else did so easily seemed impossible.
It took a weird moment in a hot shower, about 4 weeks ago, that my thoughts raced, they raced non stop – my thoughts of wanting to leave this earth. Not wanting to end my life, but not wanting to live THIS life anymore. The only way to not live this life anymore was to not wake up. But the thought of what that would do to my children, brought me back reality and I knew in that moment, I needed help. A hot shower wasn’t going to do shit for me – and I needed real help. RIGHT NOW.
Soaking wet hair, hysterical crying, feeling like I was having a heart attack – I tried to quietly tell my Husband who was getting our children ready for bed that I needed to go to a hospital – I wasn’t ok.
They didn’t do much – did an evaluation & suggested a partial in-patient program. I decided if I couldn’t get connected with the right doctors within 7 days, I would take a leave from work and do the program. Do you know how hard it is to find Mental Health care? WITH insurance! With 2 different insurance companies through our work!? I couldn’t believe how difficult it was. The waiting of 3 months for an appointment if you’re a new patient. The not accepting insurance. The ones that accept insurance but won’t see you if even you are willing to pay out-of-pocket. I was so frustrated at one point I hung up with one clinic and said to my Husband – this is why people choose death. Because it’s too hard to get the help you need. It makes someone who is already in the deepest feelings of hopelessness, feel as thought that is their only option. That is unfair. It is unfair to everyone seeking the help they need and not being heard or helped. You deserve to be heard. You deserve the help you need. You deserve to live a full life. We all do.
As of now, I am diagnosed – finally. I am on 4 medications that will help me function like those of you that wake up, get dressed, go to work, play with your kids, and are excited for your future. I need 4 medications to get me through each day. And you know what, I could kiss each person that made these medications because without them, I probably wouldn’t be wiring this post. In the last two days – I have been happy. Not manic happy, just happy. I look at my kids and Husband and smile. I look at the dishes and think ugh, then do them. I don’t look at them and start sobbing in the bathroom because I just can’t do it. I don’t know if there is a definition of normal, but for me, this is it. I want this life that I’ve had the last few days. It took more than few days to get to this feeling. But each day I took my new medications, it got easier. Little by little. THAT is what gives me the continued hope that I will be ok. It does get easier. They weren’t lying when they said that.
One week ago, I filed Chapter 13 Bankruptcy on my own – fortunately I was able to do this independently and not have this affect my Husbabd. Many people would be ashamed to admit that. I am not. I did it because I wanted to protect myself, from myself. How nuts is that? But in my world, I have no control in a Manic episode. I am not Jackie during that time, I am super human – out of touch with reality version of Jackie. I wanted to protect my Husband, who works his ass off and saves every penny for our future. I wanted to protect my children from growing up seeing their Mother spend unmentionable amounts of money and thinking there are no repercussions. Filing for Bankruptcy was one of the smartest decisions I’ve made in 33 years. This will forever be a reminder of what used to be – It will be the reminder that when I think I am ok and don’t need medications anymore, I will know why I filed Bankruptcy and this will ground me. Bring me back to reality. It was one way for me to control what comes with my Manic episodes – and I would have done anything to never have it happen again.
I see a Therapist now that I feel so connected with. People always told me when you find the right Therapist, its gold. I never believe them – sounded like a load of BS to me. But here I am, in awe of my amazing Therapist that I gladly pay $125 for 1 hour to talk to twice a week. She is worth every single cent and my sanity is worth more. I would give up eating Milk Duds for life if it meant that was the only way I could keep seeing her. And I REALLY love Milk Duds.
I also let my Husband read my journals now. It was really hard to hand it over and let him read it. He read the good, the bad, the horrific, and the ugly. But it was a way for him to see what was going on in my head – maybe help him understand. I truly believed my Husband would throw in the towel. He would realize this was too much, I was too much, and leave. I wouldn’t have blamed him. I even gave him an out. But he didn’t take it. He stayed. He stayed when I needed him the most. When I felt like I would die without him by my side. I never thought me ending up in a mental health clinic at 12AM with wet hair in my pajamas would lead to my marriage being the strongest it’s ever been. So in a way, this has been a blessing. A really twisted blessing.
I also owe a lot to a friend that has been on this ride with me for the last 5 years. She’s seen me at my best, got me through some really difficult times, and on Thanksgiving Day, she saw me at my worst. I get emotional thinking about that day – she dropped everything, left her kids and Hubby at home on flipping THANKSGIVING, to sit in a hotel lobby with me while I sobbed uncontrollably, and my hands clawed. Because not only am I Bi Polar, but my hands turn into legit claws during anxiety attacks – can’t move them – and I just have to wait it out. It hurts like a bitch too. I think she knows how much that day means to me, that she was there for me. Just in case she doesn’t… I love you for being there when I needed you – you are more than my pineapple leggings dealer!
I’m not trying to change anyones life with this post. Honestly, it’s more for me to open up and feel comfortable talking about this with others – but I am hoping it will change the perception of what someone with Bi Polar Disorder, or even Anxiety, Depression, BPD, looks like. It’s not like in the movies. It can be, but it isn’t always like that. On the outside, I don’t think a single person who knows me would have come to this conclusion. I have been able to disguise my ups/downs – until I couldn’t hide them any more. My hope is that when someone tells you they feel depressed, anxious, etc. or can’t even describe how they feel like I couldn’t – that you don’t tell them to take Vitamin C, or use essential oils, or to try the supplement they’re selling. I am not knocking it – I am the queen of Multi Level Marketing people… hello. I sold LuLaRoe, Agnes and Dora, Lipsense, Stella and Dot… I can’t even remember what else… but I am just saying, when someone reaches out – sometimes all you need to do is ask if there is anything they need or anything you can do to help. You don’t need to have the answers, just the willingness to help.
I have a long road ahead of me of learning to recognize my ups and down and learning how to better control them – even with medications. But at this moment right now, I am excited to see where this bumpy ass road takes me. I have a lot of hope for my future now, and that in itself is magical.
My Husband said something to me that has stuck – I told him I felt like I was drowning and couldn’t grab anything to save myself.
He replied – Grab my hand. I’m here.
That was a moment of just pure love for this man. I don’t know how I would handle this if I was in his shoes – but I grabbed his hand and am holding on for dear life. Sorry dude, you are stuck with my ass for LIFE!
Talk soon friends,
…now if I could just press Publish.