A Diagnosis is the Start of a Journey
A diagnosis is the start of a journey. Hello and happy Friday! For all of you that have been following my blog posts since the beginning, thank you. For those that are new here, welcome (I’m kind of new here too). This is my 7th blog post ever! I appreciate anyone who is reading this. I hope the content that I create is valuable to at least one person.
I’ve been having quite a week. Between helping my family and accomplishing the 4th week of schoolwork, I am tired. And I even have my first exam to do in the next few days. But, here I am, squeezing in time to write another weekly blog post.
As you can see from the title of this blog, ‘A Diagnosis is the Start of a Journey’, that’s what I’m going to write about this week. I’ve spent a lot of time this week searching for answers to the cause of this bipolar disorder. What I’ve learned is that it is way more complicated than it seems. From my own experience, there is more to it than just a diagnosis.
I was diagnosed with this beautiful disorder back in 2018. I spent that whole year in a high energy state of mind, then fell into a dark depression. At one point I was riding my motorcycle to South Carolina on vacation, and at another moment, I was turning in my notice to quit my job. Yep, I flat out quit my job and decided there was more to life.
But, I didn’t have a plan as to how I was going to sustain myself. Once my paychecks ran out, I panicked. I started pulling money out of my retirement savings time after time. I also racked up quite a bit of debt. After a few months of craziness, I quit drinking alcohol and cut back on caffeine. That’s when the euphoric high of this thing called ‘mania’ wore off.
I started to calm down a bit. My brain was no longer moving at the speed of light. And then, I got stuck in a depression. I went to my old psychiatrist to see if I could be put back on some kind of meds to help. It was apparent that I had bipolar disorder. I can’t even remember if he confirmed this or not, but I tried a new medication and things got worse. I went back and tried something else, and my mind got even worse. I couldn’t sleep. I had no motivation. I was stuck.
It didn’t take long before I was calling the suicide hotline. The person on the other line helped me get to the hospital. I was released in a couple days, but my friends suggested I got back. So I did. They took me, and the doctor asked me if I wanted to go to a long term treatment facility. My mind was so stuck at this point that I told him to make the decision. So he put me in there.
I spent two miserable weeks in the mental hospital where I really didn’t get much better. At least I was safe though. But I got out, and I was at least to a point where my brain was adjusting. I’m not sure if it was the meds or what, but I definitely needed time to heal. The psychiatrist I saw at the hospital diagnosed me with bipolar 1 disorder.
And then 2 whole years passed. It’s been quite a journey. Receiving the diagnosis does not mean I have it figured out. It does not mean that I finally have the answers. No. It simply is the start of a journey. I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety, and depression in the past. I’ve had symptoms of mental illness since I was a teenager. But back then, I didn’t have the knowledge and life experience that I do now.
Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder was simply the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was the end of the first part of my life, and it was the start of a new life. In the first part of my life, I was doing it wrong. I didn’t know how to cope. It was all unhealthy. Substance abuse, overeating, and lack of sleep were perpetuating my symptoms of depression and anxiety.
I was in a constant state of fear.
These days, I have been working to overcome that fear. It’s a daily practice, and not every day is easy. But, I can say that this new part of my life is much better than it used to be. I simply took on too much in the past. I was working tons of overtime while going to college part-time since 2012. And I was in a really toxic marriage.
I ended that marriage in 2017. I thought I was going to have a much better life instantly because that relationship was painful. But I decided to crank up the speed of life and added binge drinking alcohol to the mix. Every day that I was off work, I was drinking as much as I possibly could. This was the absolute worst thing I could have done for myself. But I did it, and I paid for it.
But, we live and we learn, and that’s about all we can do.
The journey of life isn’t an easy one. But once we start to realize what we are doing to create our own suffering, we can change. We can’t change the past, but we can change the path that we are on.
On the surface, the bipolar disorder label is just a very narrowing down sum of all of my symptoms that were caused by all of my life choices. That’s my opinion anyway. And this diagnosis is the start of my journey. A journey of unlearning, healing, and getting to know me. A journey of self-love and forgiveness. A path to better health and emotional freedom.
I hope you all enjoyed reading this. I wish you the best in your own journey.
And here’s a song I was listening to as I finished this post. Enjoy 😉