I hope you are having a great day. Today let me introduce you to Erin from Bipolar Calico. Some of you may already know Erin and her blog. She’s a straight talker about mental illness, specifically her mental illness. She doesn’t sugar coat things and why would she? One of the things I like about Erin is she always tells it like it is. It might not be pleasant or pretty, but it’s always truthful. I hope you’ll give her a warm welcome while she gives us a message…..
Never Give Up
I ache from being tired again. My brain doesn’t shut down properly at night because of my chemicals being so severely messed up. I take a fist full of pills every night just hoping that they’ll work and I’ll get at least a few hours of sleep, enough to function the next day. And some nights it just doesn’t happen. The last few weeks there’s been just too much going on for everything to work right on a regular basis. So I do my best to compensate.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II in 2006 and Borderline Personality Disorder in 2008. I can’t tell you about all of the times I’ve been hospitalized because quite frankly I don’t remember them all. Let’s just say I’ve been in-patient a lot, mostly for suicide attempts. Four of them, two serious enough that when I finally did wake up I was in the ICU, once in handcuffs. I don’t recommend that.
But to talk to me in person, to look at me, you’d never guess that there’s anything even remotely different about me. I’ve managed to stay employed at the same company the whole time, even getting a promotion. I’ve started and completed a Master’s degree and a graduate certificate program. I have the outer appearance of being “normal” for all intents and purposes.
Until you really get to know me.
For the most part, I’ve been stable since 2010 when I was hospitalized the last time. I’ve been through intensive therapy, I actually still see a therapist on a sort of regular basis, and I have a controlled med regimen. I try to eat right, get some exercise, take my meds and vitamins, and just be a good kid. I make a little time every day to do something I enjoy like knitting, reading, or making Lego’s. I blog so that the crap I feel on the inside doesn’t fester. I do my best to practice random acts of kindness. I maintain routines whenever possible. Those of us who have Bipolar tend to thrive on routines.
If there’s a secret to my so-called success it’s that I don’t ever consider myself cured nor do I think for one minute that I can be anything but constantly vigilant. I stay stable because I keep on top of my illnesses.
And that’s part of it, too. I always think of my diagnoses as illnesses, not character flaws. They’re chemical imbalances that can be regulated, in part, with medication and that makes them essentially no different from diabetes. They certainly don’t make me less of a person.
If I can offer you any advice about living with any kind of invisible illness it would be to never give up on yourself. You’re going to have days where you’ll want to throw in the towel and end it all. Don’t. You might not be able to see if right away but we all have something, or someone, to live for. And suicide doesn’t really end your pain, it just transfers it to those who loved you. So don’t give up, you’re strong enough to get through this, whatever “this” is for you.
Thank you, Erin, for guest posting. I appreciate it. Folks, you can find Erin at Bipolar Calico, I hope you visit and say hi.