Continuing onward! Part 2
I entered 2011 taking the medication for anxiety and insomnia. I was apprehensive about taking medication, because in my head it was a form of weakness; It was a loud declaration that I was broken, and couldn’t fix myself; in my head – it took away my credibility. But, I took it … there was a part of me that wanted to stop fighting with myself, and there was a slim hope that maybe this medication could help.
I was doing okayish throughout 2011, I’d still have weeks where sleep would escape me and I was a ball of overwhelming energy (considerably impulsive), and then I’d hit lows that were hard to handle for everyone. I kept myself pretty isolated to the best of my ability (although I did enter a relationship it lasted 3 months and then I ended it, and then went on other dates with no commitment), the thought of anyone seeing my instability was far too much for me to handle.
I met with my doctor and told him I didn’t feel like my medication was helping me the way I thought it should, so he increased it. Did things change for me? No, not really, so I came up with a brilliant plan to make change! A fool proof plan! I was going to move! Give myself a fresh start, a clean slate, remove myself from the area that had seen my demise GO somewhere that I knew absolutely no one, so that I could finally be happy! I’d go to school, show myself and my parents, my sisters I was more than capable – and that my health history was just a hiccup it wasn’t as serious as everyone was making it. I was Stephanie after all!! So now I had to find a career…. a DENTAL HYGIENIST! PERFECT!!!!!!! I was on cloud 9, I would be a dental hygienist (the fact I can’t stand blood nor being in close proximity to people… minor details right?? My plan was perfect)…. but where would I study ??? Well it was my lucky day! There was a private institution with a program for 21 months (I’d be able to make up for lost time!) AND it was only a plane trip away! That’s close enough right??!
So my plan was perfect! (it put me back on track with my life timeline) I had it all figured out in a matter of a week! Now that’s taking care of business, my family asked if I thought it was a good idea, voicing their concern of the distance and reiterating my dislike for blood … of course I thought this was a good idea! No one was going to stop me! I applied and was accepted to school, I took out a student loan, found an apartment to rent so I could live on my own. I was unstoppable. I left and met my new city, new people, new school, new curriculum, new environment…. not overwhelming at all……… okay maybe just a bit. BUT I was going to make this work!
And it did… for a while, I made friends (I started dating someone) I was passing my intense classes at school (we’re talking 7am-5-6pm with no less than 3 exams per week worth atleast 25% of your final grade) Did I call home missing my family? Yes… I even called crying in the middle of the night because I was overwhelmed with being away from them… I can admit that. BUT holy…. my ups and downs that were usually a couple weeks each started cycling much more rapidly. Thank goodness it was almost Christmas break! I was flying home to see my family and I’d be able to see my doctor.
Higher dose, that was his cure, I told him about feeling super high, and then feeling unbelievably low (where suicide was a constant though) BUT antidepressants alone were the cure. I went back to school with my new higher dose, and things got ugly FAST! I was going up and down in a matter of days that eventually turned into hours, I felt like I was losing my mind and I couldn’t handle it,(I broke up with the bf) all of the friends I made started raising eyebrows, and getting suspicious because I wasn’t able to keep my smile up (fake or not). My normal 100 miles/minute self was struggling to stay peppy, heck I was struggling to stay awake because all I wanted to do was hide and stay safe with sleep; I wanted to sleep… or die. My “normal” was my manic, there was no middle ground at this point in my life, if I wasn’t over the top it meant I was in the lowest of lows, so my “normal” personality was extreme to everyone, but “that was me”, and up until this point I hid the lows pretty good… but there was no hiding now.
I was struggling bad! So I decided to see a counsellor hoping she could give me an explanation, she informed me she couldn’t diagnose me but what I expressed sounded similar to clients she had who were diagnosed with bipolar. Her recommendation was to go to emergency, it was the fastest way to see a psychiatrist who would be able to help me. (Throughout our session my stutter came out… go figure)
So I went to the hospital, and when I finally got to talk to someone, BAM my stutter came out again, I was so emotionally distraught it re-emerged…. I was put in an isolated room (it had carvings on the cream walls and table.. enough to make you feel crazy HECK I’m pretty sure I was rocking back and forth trying to calm myself down … “movie-worthy cray cray patient”) , nurses came to talk to me, asking about my behaviours, thoughts, actions. (That morning before I went to the hospital I had a shower, wrapped myself in a towel and crumpled to the floor – sitting there for hours crying then turning numb… absolutely numb which was happening more frequently) It’s hard to remember everything I said, but I do remember the look on their faces became more and more shocked…. hinting ever so slightly that my behaviours/thoughts were not per usual. I received a referral to a psychiatrist. And they put me on suicide watch, asking if I’d like to stay in the hospital, I said no. Nutmeg (my dog) was with me and I didn’t want to leave her alone.
The next day I went to the hospital to meet with the psychiatrist, I met with the case nurse first, and started explain everything that happened and was happening, I again had my stutter emerge and tears were streaming down my face, but when I looked up the nurse, she was crying with me. She gave my file to the psychiatrist and when I met her … more talking/stuttering took place BUT she came to a conclusion, that she didn’t do lightly; Bipolar II. There was finally a name to my rollercoaster! And the medication I was on, was going to change!
**It’s ironic my mother had talked to me on the phone before my appointment; she told me about a girl she’d seen in an interview for a music competition. The girl had been diagnosed with bipolar, she was around my age, but what made my mom think of me in particular was this girl one day started stuttering – out of no where… I’m not saying there’s a connection between stuttering and bipolar, BUT I do think that this snippet of an interview was something my mom needed to see and tell me about. **
My mother was flown out by my dad to be with me (I have amazing parents). I hadn’t determined yet if I was staying or leaving school. But when my mom came, she stayed for a month. Every time she mentioned leaving I’d break down. I needed her around me… so I came to my conclusion I’d move back home. Dental Hygiene was not for me.( We’d started cleaning in people’s mouths …. yahhhh not for me either)
I had made some close friends that I was quite sad to be leave BUT I knew I needed to be close to my family… everything was going to change and get better now………. yahhhhhhh no. I was just about to enter the eye of the storm.
I’ll write Pt 3 tomorrow… there was a lot that took place before I finally got the proper help I needed. Staying strong was the only option I had to survive although at the time I didn’t feel like I was strong – BUT not giving up on life; that automatically counts as strength. Remember that.