I’m exhausted. I’m overwhelmed. I keep feeling like I won’t be able to make it through the day, but I continue to push myself. I’m just trying to get through each day, one hour at a time. Every moment that I make it through is a huge accomplishment.
I suppose that since my husband is struggling with his mother’s cancer diagnosis and he’s worried about his brother, I feel like I need to be stronger. I know that if I were to say this to my husband, he would disagree. I know he only wants what’s best for me, but I can’t help but feel this way.
I pretend to be stronger than I really am, but pretending can only take me so far. However, with every passing day, I feel as if I’m getting worse. Every day for the past month, at least, I’ve thought about going to a psych unit; however, I don’t end up going. I know that I’m not going to do anything, but the thoughts keep running through my mind. I wish I could take a break from my mind. If only that were possible.
Another one of the life lessons I learned many years ago was that family should always be a priority. No one can replace your family or take their place. There are people in life that we become so close to that they feel like family, which is wonderful, but still, no one can take the place of your parents, siblings, or extended family. I am becoming closer with some of my family members and I’m also struggling to get along with some others. However, I have decided that I am going to be the type of person who reaches out to her family members. Even if they don’t respond to me or respond to my inquiries, I am still going to be a person works to stay connected with her family members.
I have learned more from my family than I have learned anywhere else in life. A few of the things I have learned include how to love and support others, how not to give up on someone, and how to be a person of honor and integrity. I have learned all of these things by watching my family members live their lives. My parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and even my nieces and nephew have set examples for me on how to get through life. Not one family member gave up on me when I was struggling with my drug and alcohol addiction. Everyone supported me when I went through rehab, despite all of the hurtful things I had done over the years. My mom has taught me many things. The most recent thing she taught me is that there is no reason to let other people decide what decisions we will make or what type of person we will be. That is why I have chosen to continue reaching out to family members no matter what. I want my family to be a huge part of my life; that is my decision.
My brother owns his own business and he takes after my father a lot. By watching him, I have seen how to be a person of honor and integrity. In fact, all of my family members have taught me that. No matter what is going on in life, my family will always be the most important thing. I have not always been like this, but it is the person I’ve decided I want to be. After living so much of my life having my family support me, I decided that I want to always be there for my family. Even though I cannot help anyone financially, I will always be there for them emotionally and mentally. Once you lose a family member, they can never be replaced. It’s extremely important to appreciate what you have while they are still around.
Over time, I have learned the true importance of honesty. Before I got sober, I was almost never honest. When I was using drugs, I was constantly lying about everything. Then, I would try to cover up one lie with another. It made life extremely complicated. Sometimes, I would lie by omission. I would purposely not tell someone something because I didn’t want anyone to know the truth. I’ve learned that being honest makes life a lot easier. I no longer have to spend time trying to figure out which lie I told to which person because I tell every person the same thing, the truth. Being honest has made my life easier. I can sleep better because I feel good about my honesty.
Honesty is a way to show people you respect them. Healthy relationships are based on honesty. It’s especially important to be honest with your significant other. My husband and I are honest with each other, which shows our trust in each other. There are times that being honest will make you emotionally vulnerable, which is good in a healthy relationship. If I want people to be honest with me, then I need to be honest with them. It’s a two-way street.
The part of honesty I struggle with the most is being honest with others about how I’m doing. I don’t like to tell people how I’m really feeling. I guess I don’t want people to feel sorry for me or think I’m pathetic because I spend so much of my life depressed. When I pretend to be okay, I’m technically lying. This is an issue that I definitely need to work on. I’m not perfect; in fact, I’m far from it. However, I think I will be okay as long as I’m always working towards being 100% honest.
At this point in my life, I have decided to be open about my bipolar disorder. This doesn’t mean that I walk around telling everyone I meet that I’m bipolar, and I don’t wear a sign saying ‘Bipolar 1’, but I don’t hide my diagnosis. However, I have no problem telling people my diagnosis and explaining to them what it’s like for me. I feel like sometimes I’m educating people who know nothing about mental health. Other times, I end up meeting some people who also deal with mental health themselves or through a loved one.
There will always be people in the world who don’t understand mental health. There are still some people who do not believe in mental health. It’s really hard to talk to someone who believes that. Instead of arguing with them, I’ve found that I’m not going to change their minds, so I just let them believe what they want to believe.
I used to try to hide my diagnosis; I was always afraid what others would think of me. Hiding it took so much work, it was exhausting. At some point, and I’m not sure when, I finally accepted my bipolar disorder diagnosis. Once I accepted it, I no longer felt as if I needed to hide it. Plus, once I became open about my diagnosis, I realized that there are a lot more people out there that deal with mental health issues as well.
So many people are afraid to talk about mental health, but there’s no need to avoid the subject. The only way people can learn about it is by discussing it. Talking about mental health will help get rid of or reduce the stigmas that we deal with on a regular basis. If someone has a problem with my mental health, then that is their problem, not mine.
I’ve probably mentioned before that I’m an insomniac. However, the Clozapine I take at night helps me fall asleep with 20 minutes, I just don’t stay asleep. I wake up at least twice every night. It would be nice to sleep through the night, but I don’t know if that will ever happen. My mind is always running extremely fast. It goes from one thought, to the next, and so on. I never catch a break; I never get a moment of peace from my own brain. This happens when I’m manic, depressed, and even when I’m not experiencing an episode.
There are many aspects in life that affect my ability to sleep. These aspects include keeping a routine, medications, my anxiety level, and my honesty. Keeping a routine is important, but it’s something that I’m not very good at. I almost never go to bed at the same time every night. I pretty much go to sleep whenever I feel like it, so that isn’t very helpful. Several of my medications, including Lithium and Tegretol XR, can cause insomnia in patients. I’m sure this worsens my ability to sleep. My anxiety level is high quite often. Even when it’s not high, I deal with anxiety on a regular basis, especially when I’m outside of my home. For me, it’s important to remain honesty. I have a hard time living with myself if I’m not honest. I truly believe that honesty is the best policy; it’s important that when we interact with others, you should treat them the way you want to be treated.
There are many reasons why I could struggle with insomnia. I wonder if this is something I’ll have to deal with for the rest of my life. When I was a young child, I would fall asleep anywhere. Now, I have to force myself to fall asleep. And to make matters even worse, I tend to have nightmares when I finally do fall asleep. My husband says that he can tell when I’m having a bad dream because I talk very loudly in my sleep and I’m constantly tossing and turning. When I wake up, I don’t always remember my dream/nightmare, but I do remember feeling terrified. I wonder if there’s anything I can do to help get rid of these nightmares.
Today, I had my biography and my first blog posted on the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF). My first blog talks about the importance of honesty between patients and psychiatrists. It explains how I have learned over time what a big role honesty and respect play in the relationships between patient and doctor.
You can find my first post on the IBPF website here.
You can find my biography on the IBPF website here.
I forgot to take some of my medication last night. Of course it was the most important of all meds, my Clozapine. Right now, I’m feeling very shameful. The one thing I have going for myself is that I’m always compliant. I always take my medications, I always do whatever I’m told to do by my doctors (no matter how much I really don’t want to), and I always follow through on these things. I can’t believe that I forgot to take those pills.
I got home last night from the trip, unpacked, and was so tired I just fell asleep. I should have realized when I woke up two hours later, that I hadn’t taken my Clozapine. I was in and out for the rest of the night on the couch. Why didn’t I take that hint of not being able to sleep through the whole night? I didn’t realize until I was making the bed this morning. At that time, I saw my meds sitting on my nightstand. My first plan was to pretend it didn’t happen and not tell my psychiatrist. Then, I thought that I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I wasn’t completely honest. So I sent an email to my psychiatrist and told him exactly what happened. I was extremely worried about what he would say, but his response told me not to worry and that I could still go and get my blood work done today.
I felt a little bit better knowing that my psychiatrist isn’t upset, but I’m still upset with myself. I expect myself to always be compliant. However, I was just told that by telling my psychiatrist exactly what happened, I was still being compliant. Complete honesty is what’s necessary for compliance, and that’s what I have done. I suppose I should give myself a break. Everybody makes mistakes; I need to allow myself to make mistakes as well. I need to stop shaming myself, and begin to be proud of myself for my honesty. As always, it’s easier said than done. I guess it’s just another thing to work on.