I’ve been in denial that I’m bi-polar for a really long time. I have always taken the meds for it since I’ve been sober because I do what I’m told, but I’ve always kept the thought in the back of my head that I don’t sound like “those real bi-polar people with mania stages”. I don’t do a lot of things that I read about, or hear about bi-polar people doing. I’ve seen television shows where people had really crazy mania stages and always thought; “Oh I don’t get like that, I can’t be bi-polar”.
Fast forward to the last month, and I’ve been in a mania stage. My therapist caught it because I’m coming out of it and really depressed right now. My shrink said “What goes up must come down” and for the last 4 days I’ve been coming down really hard. My therapist and my shrink are a good team and work hand in hand. I like it. As I sat on my therapist’s couch explaining the fact that I just bought a brand new car I didn’t need, a $1,000 cell phone I didn’t really need, and made the decision to go and visit my parents out of the blue and buy a flight I couldn’t afford, and then described the regret, remorse, guilt, and depression I’ve been feeling the last four days, she nicely said “Julie what you’re describing to me is coming out of a mania stage of bi-polar” and it hit me like a ton of bricks. She’s right. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t stop the impulse of buying the car, I knew I couldn’t afford it, but I did it anyway. I knew I didn’t need the cell phone, but I couldn’t stop myself. I knew I couldn’t afford the flight, but it was purchased before I could even realize I was making the purchase.
They’ve always told me I’m bi-polar, but I’ve never really worked so honestly with my shrink and therapist before. I’ve always lied about taking my medication, or how I’m feeling, and then treated my symptoms with drinking. I’ve never felt this out of control before and not been able to cure it with drinking. Now that I’ve been sober and honestly working with my shrink, it’s becoming more and more clear that I need to learn to accept that I’m bi-polar and this is what it looks like in me when I’m sober. And that’s while I’m diligently taking my bi-polar medication. I am on 800 mg of Gabapentin, and 20 mg of Saphris for it. I can’t imagine what my mania stage may have looked like if I wasn’t on the medication. If this is what I do while ON medication, it scares me what I might have done off of the medication.
I’ve seen the show Homeland and watched the mania stages of the main character on the show and always thought, wow I’m not THAT. I guess my mania stages are a little different. And now I’m fully paying attention. However, I am embarrassed by the diagnosis and embarrassed that I am on medication for it. In AA they say Acceptance is key. I have yet to fully embrace step one and admit that I am powerless over alcohol and I have yet to accept that I’m bi-polar. It requires a lot of work on my part to actively take care of my alcoholism and I shy from anything that requires work. If I fully admit that I’m an alcoholic, then I admit that I need meetings, and going to meetings requires work on my part, and that scares me. That means I’m alcoholic for sure. I can’t quite admit these things and accept them. It’s embarrassing, and it’s depressing.
My boyfriend told me “would you be embarrassed if you had cancer”? And it made me think, no I wouldn’t, but cancer is widely accepted as a disease. There is a stigma attached to alcoholism and mental illness that I’m ashamed to be a part of. It makes me feel weak. It makes me angry. It makes me want to crawl in bed and just turn the tv off and avoid everything in the world.
I heard this in an AA meeting the other day and it’s my goal to try and live this way:
“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.
When I am disturbed,
It is because I find some person, place, thing, situation —
Some fact of my life — unacceptable to me,
And I can find no serenity until I accept
That person, place, thing, or situation
As being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.
Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.
Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober;
Unless I accept life completely on life’s terms,
I cannot be happy.
I need to concentrate not so much
On what needs to be changed in the world
As on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”
It’s on pg 417 of the Big Book. I keep a Big Book next to my bed and I carry one in my purse, but I never look at them. If I could apply the acceptance of my alcoholism to the same theory of my bi-polar diagnosis then I could accept that I need to do certain things to keep them in line, but that requires a lot of work, and I’m scared of work. I’m scared to make myself better. I’m scared to admit that I am sick. I’m scared of a lot of things.
The end result for now is that I’ve been so depressed, I’m feeling suicidal. My shrink seems to think the mania was brought on by the addition of Vyvanse to my medication line up to treat my ADHD, so he’s lowered the Vyvanse which depresses me even more as that Vyvanse has really helped me with my racing brain and now I’m afraid that’s going to come back. He only went from 60mgs to 40mgs, but it’s still a change and it scares me. I’m scared of my brain right now and it’s not a fun place to be in.