In the past I felt ashamed and only spoke about my illness to a handful of people. Those days are over! I no longer sit in the shadow of fear and uncertainty.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, type 1, in 1999. I know most folks are in denial when they find out. Not me! I was elated and ecstatic. For the first time in my life, a name was given to label my suffering. For me, it brought relief.
It wasn’t all sunshine and butterflies for me. I quickly found several frustrations:
- My energy level was almost non-existent in the beginning. To do anything was a haphazard. Many of the medications I tried kept me tired all the time.
- Some days I was unable to leave my place.
- The side effects of the medications constantly led me to try new ones. Each medication has a laundry list of side effects. I always experienced a handful of them.
- I never took one or two pills, but felt like I had my own pharmacy for the medications I took.
- I withdrew from Colorado State University several times. It took me 6 years to finish my B.S. and it was not even the degree I wanted. During my college career (and some years beyond), I underwent ECTS (electroconvulsive therapy). I always did 3 sessions per week: Mon/Wed/Fri. Short term memory loss is a side effect of this treatment. I forgot everything I had learned for my chemical engineering education and had to switch to a different college degree. To this day, I still do not remember what I was taught in engineering school but hey, at least I have a degree in something right?
- I could be psychotic from one minute to the next.
- My entire life seemed like complete chaos, one pole or the other, no in between.
Why, after I was diagnosed, did things seem to get worse? I decided to be proactive and do everything in my power to get better. To feel better. After all the frustrations came to fruition, I knew me wanting to get better was not enough. I needed to do something more extreme.
After being so frustrated, I decided I needed to do something about my situation. It was important for me to find a way to stabilize quicker than it was happening. When I say stabilize, I wanted my extreme moods to normalize. No more extreme anything.
I wanted to experience a higher level of energy. The change I wanted was control. This is a chemical illness and quite complex from one individual to the next. Biology and chemicals are what dictate and drive bipolar disorder. There were some specific outcomes that I wanted to experience. To change this, I needed control to maintain a stable mood, energy level, sleep schedule and diet.
To try and solve my lack of control with this illness, I began researching and experimenting with ways to solve this problem. One of the first things my doctor told me, after describing my diagnosis to me, was to always take my meds and never go off them.
My doctor had my utmost respect. I made it a priority to find the medication(s) to solve my problem. Week after week, month after month, I became a guinea pig. I tried medication after medication. They either did not work or had intolerable and horrible side effects.
Along my journey, I learned other skills. After I found the right set of medications, I realized they were not going to be the only thing I could count on. I came to this conclusion after I balanced out from being manic. It had been the longest period of stability up until that point in my life. The experience opened my eyes. I could not just look at the chemical part of my illness. I needed to look outside the box.
I discovered the solution after researching and experimenting for nearly a decade. When I say “experimenting”, I basically tried different coping skills collaborated with other abilities to find the optimum level of comfort.
The experience reminded me of trying to find the right medications. I just needed to line things up perfectly. I must admit, the solution I found ended up being my literal salvation.
What was the solution? I found a set of parameters that keep me stabilized. If I follow through and control what is in my power, I’m good. My dad taught me that valuable lesson. The system that I created works!
Today, my life is different because I have control over my destiny!
I am confident and smart about my decisions. I am very careful and follow through when I need to follow through. My energy and mood are stable. I feel normal highs, lows, and everything in between. There is consistency in my life. This is something I never thought possible. The outcome is that I am thriving, not merely surviving.
As I mentioned before, I spent a large amount of time investigating ways to stabilize my bipolar illness.
I had finally found a set of medications. A cocktail of medications is the name for it.
That was the longest period of stability I had up until that point. However, my plans got derailed. I went manic. After further research, I could find a solution to my problem. The system I created works!
What I decided to do was write everything down and explain how you can follow it. I’m in the middle of creating and producing my system. Please sign up for my e-mail course and I’ll make sure to let you know when the product is done! Also, comment any thoughts or concerns you may have. I’d like to hear what you think about this post!