Tag Archives: hope

Do Not Give Up!

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Change – it happens every day. Whether change is positive or negative, it does one thing every time . . .  it makes you re-evaluate your current position and either find a new path or alter the current one.

Let’s talk about big shifts ~

1) Some changes happen quickly but take a long time to work through afterward.

2) Other changes occur over a longer period of time and allow you to acclimate to those changes as time passes.

Abrupt changes are tough. They slam you in the face and say, “HERE! Sort through THIS!” That’s what happened to me when I realized my marriage of a quarter-century was slow-swirling in the bottom of a shallow well. A sudden realization of the enormity of my problems and the likelihood they’d not be resolved while in the marriage . . . well, it made me sick. I became mentally sick and there was an urgent need in me –  I ran away from home and didn’t go back.

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Let’s talk about metamorphoses. I knew what started my mental upheaval. It was my first child moving out of our home. The two “kids” were my life – literally. That nuclear family had cracked down the middle and was threatening to drop me into the abyss of whatever lie on the “outside” of that shelter. After seeing, for the first time, that I had to make a radical revolution in the way I lived, my mind went numb. Autopilot kind of took over.

So, those of you who are new subscribers (about 80 of you), now know a little about my recent past. Here’s a quick lo-down -

Year one – Manic behavior. Spent a lot of money, promiscuous (had a boyfriend at the same time I was going through divorce), flunked out of college twice, drank (I’m not a drinker), smoked (yuck), did other stuff I shouldn’t have (nothing serious), and other classic symptoms of mania. Started anti-anxiety drugs. Aimlessly wandered. Felt blind.

Year two – four – Mania settled and  depression visited. Depression is a sneaky thing. At first, I had “bad days.” I couldn’t hold a job, couldn’t keep my mind working, so instead of finishing nursing school, I became a nursing assistant. Was so disappointed in myself. Just attending a few classes a week was tough. Gained  40 pounds, and tried half a dozen antidepressants. None worked well. Finally, I didn’t leave the house and barely left my bed. I didn’t attempt suicide but came extremely close twice. My support system kept me from leaving life. I was eventually on Bipolar II drugs.

Year five (present) – I have weaned off of all meds because I chose to do so (first time in five years!) with the help of my new doctor.  I have FINALLY found a counselor that I click with. I’m back in college and making As and Bs!! My decision-making is better, my memory is better, and I leave the house on a regular basis. ;-)

I want to share my life with you because it’s been such a strange and difficult ride, and I hope it might shed light on some of your own problems. Three different people (friends and my mother- who doesn’t give accolades where they aren’t warranted) have called me courageous and brave. I didn’t see those traits in myself until recently.

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It can be done, my friends. Wherever you find yourself at this moment . . . if you aren’t happy or healthy or satisfied . . . things can change. If I can go from Life A to Life B (two completely different existences, I promise you), then you can, too. It wasn’t a quick accomplishment. It wasn’t seamless. But, by gosh I am doing it. The little flicker of light inside me that REFUSED to give in or give up – well, it got me through and brought me to the other side. It’s where I am feeling thankful, stronger, and full of hope for the future.

Just a year ago, I was a patient with a Psychiatrist. I took mood stabilizers and antidepressants. I read about my disorder and saw many of my symptoms as classic. Just a year ago, I cried in my king size bed, avoided people, and wished to die every day. Just a year ago, I hated everything I was, saw no redeeming value in living, and planned how to make my savings last so I could continue being disabled and disconnected. It’s all I had.

Note: Not everyone who is going through a difficult life-change necessarily has developed a permanent mental disorder. I was just grieving the loss of my life and staring in the face of a new one that I didn’t know how to live.

Change . . .

It’s evil ~ and it’s heavenly

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Frankly, My Dear, I Don’t Give a Damn . . .

 

What do these people have in common?

Vincent Van Gogh, Kurt Cobain, Rosemary Clooney, Patricia Cornwell,

Robert Downey, Jr., Richard Dreyfuss, Patty Duke, Carrie Fisher, Connie

 Francis, Mel Gibson, Ernest Hemingway, Vivien Leigh, Demi Lovato,

 Kristy McNicol, Florence Nightingale, Jane Pauley, Edgar Allen Poe,

Jackson Pollock, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Sidney Sheldon, Jean

 Claude Van Damme, Virginia Woolf, and Catherine Zeta Jones.

All “-Accompanied by verifiable source citations associating them with bipolar disorder  (formerly known as “manic depression”), either based on their own public statements or (in the case of dead people only) reported contemporary or posthumous diagnoses of bipolar disorder.” (Wikipedia)

“It is often suggested that genius (or, at least, creative talent) and mental disorder (specifically, the mania and hypomania of bipolar disorder) is linked.” (Wikipedia)

Sooo, do we run with it and say, “I knew I was a creative genius!” or will we pity ourselves right into a pathetic un-life. I call it an un-life because untreated or improperly treated bipolar disorder is no way to live. It’s not “living” at all.

C’mon, fellow fighters, gather your wits, gather your support system (or find one), and get to a really good psychiatrist and also a counselor (two different professionals). Don’t stop trying until you find the magic mix of meds! You WILL feel better, loves!

XO

<3 Lea

Does Bipolar Disorder Run in the Family?

A note of interest is this: my father was rumored to have this disorder. He killed himself at age 44. My first manic episode (and the one that changed everything in my life) was at age 44.  ~Irony~

This informative article is written by Marcia Purse, Health Guide for Healthcentral.com. Thank you sharing information, Ms. Purse

Does Bipolar Disorder Run in the Family?

Marcia Purse
By Marcia Purse, Health GuideSunday, March 11, 2012

There’s no doubt that there is a genetic component to the risk of developing mental illnesses. Several studies have confirmed this. It’s been found that people with unipolar depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are highly likely to have siblings, half-siblings and children to have one of these disorders or even have symptoms of more than one.

Studies of identical twins show that if one twin has bipolar, the other has very high risk of developing bipolar as well. There is also an increased risk within fraternal twins, but it is much lower than for identical twins.

What about more remote relationships? There are no studies, but here’s a look at a family where four cousins are all diagnosed with bipolar disorder (names changed to protect privacy).

One Family’s True Story

My friend Janet, who has bipolar disorder, also has three cousins on her mother’s side with bipolar. Linda and Stacey are the children of an uncle and Jeff the child of an aunt.

Janet doesn’t know everything about the family history, but was curious enough to put together what she does know in the chart below.

Family Bipolar Chart

As you can see, the only known factor the four cousins have in common is Janet’s maternal great-grandfather, who was diagnosed with “melancholia” (an old term for depression) and committed suicide.

Janet herself, the only one who had childhood bipolar symptoms, also has a history of mental illness on her father’s side.

Is this a stretch? I don’t believe so. Even though all four cousins also have siblings with no known signs of mental illness, it seems more than a coincidence that the four all have bipolar disorder.

Sources: McGuffin, P, et al. The heritablity of bipolar affective disorder and the genetic relationship to unipolar depression.  Archives of General Psychiatry. 2003 May;60(5): 497-502.

Lichenstein, P, et al. Common genetic determinants of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in Swedish families: a population-based study. The Lancet. 17 Jan 2009. 373(9659) 234-239.

Edvardsen, J, et al. Heritability of bipolar spectrum disorders. Unity or hetergenity? Journal of Affective Disorders. March 2008. 106(3) 229-240.