Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Anonymous' Story: Depression, Bipolar, and Anxiety

 After the amazing feedback I got from my post about anxiety, I got so many messages saying that just sharing my story helped. I asked my boyfriend what I should write about next and he suggested including other peoples stories on my blog. I thought if it was a great feeling for me to get my story out, I'd give other people an opportunity. I asked on my Facebook page if anyone wanted to share their story on my blog, whether it was to help out readers, or to just get something off their shoulders. My childhood best friend sent me a message saying she would love to share her journey with mental illness. I'm going to respect her request to keep anonymous, because she doesn't want to put herself out there just yet. I gave her a guideline on what to write about, but told her to expand, add, remove, anything so that she was comfortable with the whole writing process. I think her story is amazing, and is filled with a lot of proof that you do learn more about yourself when you have a mental illness. I'm pasting her story below, please enjoy, comment, and message me your thoughts so I can share them with her!
     For most of my life, I just remember being sad. I have always been shy and a little more than a normal amount of reserved. I guess things started getting really bad when I was 12 though- so I will say that is when I really started noticing there must be something "wrong with me".  I had been from social worker, to social worker for 2 years. I then had a mental break down in emergency, and they sent me off to some fancy psychologist who could prescribe me medication and make me understand why I wasn't like everyone else. So at 14 I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. A year later, he started talking about bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder- just the sounds of that made me want to puke. The last thing i ever wanted to hear what there is something wrong with my personality, that's the way I took it anyway. At 18, he officially diagnosed me with BPD. I stopped going to appointments and he stopped seeing me- because I was too scared to face the diagnosis of something being wrong with who I was as a person.
Early 2012, was the most desperate period in my life. I ended up in the hospital for a little while. I can say though it wasn't the doctors, or the social workers that changed my life. Not the CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), or the medication in that moment, but my parents. For showing up everyday, for bringing me real food (because the hospital food was terrible), for showing me that for a couple of people who I thought didn't even want me to exist- they sure were there for me 100%. I knew I could never do something like that again, not because I learned to love myself then but because they loved me and I never wanted to hurt someone the way I knew I had hurt them in doing that. The key to recovery and self love is a genuine support system.
When I was younger, my parents didn't know how to deal with what I was going through. In fact no one really knew how to react to what I was going through.
I didn't even know how to react. I think that mental health is something that is not only a learning process for ones self, but also the people who care about you. It takes time to understand the thinking process, and I am so thankful to have people in my life who have been patient with me, and who have adapted to the way I am and who have accepted me with the good and the bad. In high school, most people didn't want to get to know me because I was and still am a little different than most people- at the time that broke me down and I hated myself for that, all I wanted was to be was "normal", but I realize now how lucky I am to have so many amazing people love me for just being me. If people judge you for who you are as a person, it is not that you are not worthy, it's that they are not worthy of being in your life.
At a period in time just sitting on my front steps would give me an anxiety attack and I was most comfortable, in my bed at home with my parents. I think that is because I was afraid of all the thoughts and feelings I had, I didn't want anyone to know who I was. I didn't want people to know how paranoid I could be, how emotional I could be. Now, I find I am more likely to have an anxiety attack when I am thinking about my health, it's kind of silly but, I spend a lot of time avoiding health pages for that reason. I don't have many triggers anymore and most of the time if I am having a mood swing, anxiety, irrational thinking or anything along those lines it is based around the motives of others, self questioning, or just imagining all the things that could go wrong. I guess my trigger now is simply thinking from the wrong perspective. 
I stopped all medication about a year and a half ago (with the exception of the random Ativan here and there if i really can't control my anxiety). I have learned that there is nothing more important than self awareness and love for yourself no matter what your diagnosis. a lot of the time, i feel like doctors push medication for something that is more about an inner journey than a chemical imbalance. The truth is medication doesn't solve problems, at least it hasn't for me, it is only a crutch while you are figuring out how to cope with strong emotions and fears you sometimes don't know the root of. I would say honestly, that medication has made things for me worse. It is sad to say because medication helps so many people, but I avoid taking any pills because I have taken so many
that now I have anxiety even taking Tylenol. I won't even take Ativan unless someone is with me so if anything happens, someone will be there to help. I have been on too many medications to count on both hands and I feel like for me it is not the answer, and sometimes taking certain medication made things worse. I felt like a guinea pig.
       Meditation and breathing exercises have helped me a lot , and learning to accept myself has been a huge stepping stone for who I am and what I want to grow to be. In these things, I have taught myself how to pin point when I am having an episode and when my thinking is irrational. I have made peace with the past, the present and the future because I love who I am, and I would never change a thing. I think that once I realized that anxiety, depression and even borderline "personality" disorder doesn't define you as a person I was much happier. I thought that my diagnosis meant I was sick for the rest of my life and there was nothing I could do about it- but now I use it to my advantage. With such strong emotion and constant thinking habits comes great pleasure and great intelligence. It is all about the way you look at the world and yourself; There is always more than one perspective, to one person I might be mad out of my mind and emotionally unstable at times, but if i am that's okay. I could never be the understanding, caring, cognitive thinker I am today without that. I never would have pushed myself to see all sides of things, and love everyone and everything exactly the way they are without hesitation. Sometimes, I even believe that I might be happier and enjoying life more than some people without a mental illness. 
So I guess all in all, and why I wanted to do this for Megan and her wonderful blog that has helped me so much to understand sometimes talking about it can be a good thing, not only for yourself but for others- is to let everyone know that mental illness does not restrict you from living the happiest, breath taking life you possibly can. Sure, it can make things a little more difficult at times, but at the end of the day you have a perspective that not a lot of people have.
Getting there can be hard but anything is possible with the right amount of time and effort. You always have the ability to choose who you want to be, never let a diagnosis take that away from you. Never let mental health, make you feel isolated, it isn't always a bad thing to be different. 

Ativan- This medication is used to treat anxietyLorazepam belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines which act on the brain and nerves (central nervous system) to produce a calming effect. 

     I think this story is great, mostly because I was in her life during her darkest time, and I've seen the person who she has become today and it's amazing that you can once think your life is over, but grow to be stronger than ever. I can really relate to this story because I know what it's like to be frustrated about people not understanding what you're going through. I learned first hand that it's really important to stay patient, and not lose your temper when your family and friends don't get it, because mental illness is not a subject people will typically know about since there is such a stigma behind it, and it is a learning process for both you, and the people around you. I want to thank you for reading, and also give a huge thanks to my friend for sharing her inspiring story and tips. If you'd like to share your story on my blog, please feel free to send me a message, because I think it's a great way to stop the stigma.

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