Monday, February 2, 2009

History


I was diagnosed Bi-Polar I back in September 2002. This blog will be about my struggles with a mental illness that leaves me feeling vulnerable and depressed. My up's and down's and my daily life as having such a horrible disease. It is my hope to educate those less informed as they have daily access into a Bi-Polar person's life. This is a huge undertaking for me because it totally puts me out there sharing my most deepest and darkest moments. This will surely make me vulnerable to criticism or worse yet, ignorance. However, I am willing to make the journey and maybe a long the way I'll find some peace in my raging soul.


Like many Bi-Polar patients they feel they had the disease for most of their life. This was true with myself. The earliest memories of my mental health began at the age of 13. A shy, homely looking waif was what stared at me in the mirror each morning. Years of sexual/physical abuse were finally beginning to show in my face, posture and grooming. After a horrible violent act of abuse, I spent the night pulling out all of my eyelashes. An outwardly sign for help, but met with disgust as people saw me as a "freak". I wasn't able to grow my eyelashes out until I was 14, a whole year pulling my once beautiful eyelashes out.


My 14th year was one of the best years during my school days. My eyelashes were back and I seemed to gain some self-confidence. The abuse had all but stopped, only because I stabbed the offender with a pair of scissors. This was the only year in school that I had good grades and the only school year where I actually felt happy.


As I entered high school it seemed my attention went from good grades and girlfriends to boys. Girlfriends and grades were discarded and boys were now my primary focus in life. I was a tease and a flirt and possibly from my abuse felt comfortable around them. They too were user's and only cared about one thing. I did manage to maintain my virginity until the age of 16 when I gave it over to the father of my three children.


Home life was like a warzone for me and when I reached 16 I was ready to get out. My only way out was to get pregnant and start a family, so that is exactly what I did. I had my first baby, Meagan, at the age of 17. I could of made better choices, but during those dark days in my life it was the only light I could see.


My life as an young mother was difficult and I didn't do a really good job most of the time. I tried and I did (and still do) love my two little ones. But, being a parent so young is hard and I was so uneducated. That is one reason why I am so proud of Mallory, because she reads everything she can to help her and to make sure that Sophie is healthy and happy. I was never like that.

As a young family we struggled with unemployment, separation while Ken was in the military, and low paying jobs. So, along with all those "life" struggles I was depressed and moody. Things that were attributed to PMS or just stress. Which didn't help that's for sure! However, those times for me were more dramatic and severe than what other people went through. Usually PMS goes by and your feeling "normal" again. For me it wasn't like that. It seemed my PMS would last 2-3 weeks. I would have 1 week off, then it was back at the cycle again. I started anti-depressants in 1989 after the sudden death of my adoptive mother, Pat. Her death brought to the surface many painful childhood trauma so into therapy for the first time I went. I was involved with this round of therapy for 2 years with 1 year in group therapy. The Prozac seemed to be helping and the therapy for helping me clean away all the ghosts from my past.

Many more years followed and my moods continued to rise and fall like the ocean waves. I stayed on Prozac, but never had a dose adjustment and after those 2 years in therapy stopped going, thinking I was "cured".

My bi-polar decided to show up a dark Tuesday morning in September of 2001. My husband of 20 years had just announced he had been having an affair and he moved out of our home. My world not just fell apart, it shattered into tiny little pieces. There were so many pieces I didn't know which one to pick up first. He had been my rescuer and now was leaving me behind for some new thing. I didn't know how to breathe anymore and each step I took was so painful. I had never lived alone, nor had I been with any other man. My future seemed distant and dark. After trying to cope with life I was ready to give it all up. The pain engulfed me and I could no longer breathe. That Tuesday morning after the kids went to school I decided my fate and took a massive overdose. I nearly succeeded and I sometimes wonder why I was spared, but I did survive and thus started my full-blown bi-polar days.

During this first attempt I was not diagnosed with bi-polar until the year later when another suicide attempt failed. A second hospitalization came with that dreaded name "Bi-Polar". For me, it was like music to my ears. Finally, there was a reason why I felt the way I felt, why I did and said things I wish I could take back. Why getting through a "normal" day for most, was for me walking with a ton of weight on my back. New medications were given and I felt a new lease on life was beginning.

Many, many horrible mistakes had been made, but I was determined to make them alright. I fail most of the time, but I get up and tackle it again. I have had full blown bi-polar since 2001 and I struggle with it every single day of my life. For along time I would tell select people that "I am bi-polar". Now, I say "I have" bi-polar. My bi-polar doesn't define me as a person, but it's hard to find the line between Me and the bi-polar Me. There have been many dark days and more suicide attempts, but I am grateful to be alive and I'm trying to enjoy the journey. I couldn't do it without my wonderful husband, Victor, who came into my life at the right time. He literally has the patience of Job and he is able to determine between the bi-polar person and Me. He loves me for me and is unconditional and unwavering in his support. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for him.

So, a not so brief history of me and bi-polar. If you can't read these posts with an open mind and heart, then please avoid reading these posts. My intention is to be as honest as I can and that level of honesty is hard for people to read let alone not judge. I love the attitude of one of my friends who says that I must be looking forward to living on the other side of the veil where my imperfections in my brain will be made whole. I always thought of people succombed by horrible diseases and missing limbs to receive those beautiful blessings of there bodies becoming whole again. It was a great day for me to realize that my own disability and missing pieces in my head will return to it's normal state.

6 comments:

Grace said...

Debbie,

your blog looks great!! You did it! My thought on creating one was that it would be a good way to journal and it helps.

I am glad that you have a wonderful husband in Victor. He sounds like a great guy.

Debbie said...

Thanks a lot! It is so hard. I guess I should learnn HTML. I was amazed at how much trouble I was having because I consider myself pretty good at computer stuff, but this really challenged me. It's all good now, I just need to make a few adjustments, but can't figure those out yet.

Loralee and the gang... said...

Debbie-
First of all - about your post. I just want to say how sorry I am that I was such a self-absorbed teenager who never paid attention to much outside my own little box. I wish that I would have been someone you could have come to, not some brainless teeny-bopper like I was. I am still working on reaching out beyond my own little world. If I could do it again, I would so try to be a better friend to everyone, especially you. But I had no idea about any of the sorrows in your life...maybe that was how you wanted it. But I makes my heart hurt that you went through such hard things, so young. I want you to know that I alway thought of you as a sweet and kind person. And I am grateful that you have perservered through it all, and now to become a grandma! I am thrilled about how excited you are...I love being a grandma...
Keep the posts coming about this child that is coming to your family...
:~D

Debbie said...

Lou (Can I still call you that?),
I don't be sorry for something you didn't know about. Nobody knew, there was to much shame. I was way into my adulthood before I ever told anyone and that hasn't been such a positive experience, but it helps me deal with things and put things behind me. I enjoyed spending time with the "gang", we had a good group of us. I have very good memories from those days. I am blessed and I have grown through my struggles. Thank you for your kind words.

Zoo Keeper Mom said...

Hi, Debbie. My name is Heather, and I found your blog through the link you left at Mormom Mommy Bloggers, as a comment to the post on adoption.

I, too, have bipolar disorder. I really enjoy your frankness and willingness to share your experience with others. I also have looked at it as a way of educating others. I will be back often, and welcome you to visit me as well, at Parkfamilyzoo.blogspot.com

Jill said...

I know you wrote this months ago, but I finally had a chance to sit and read it. Thank you so much for your honesty. I am so glad you found my blog, and have left encouraging comments about my own struggles with mental illness. I am as honest as I can about my disease with everyone I meet, even talking about it in sacrament meetings. I hope to educate people because I'm always afraid of being judged by someone who just doesn't understand. What you're doing is wonderful, keep up the good work!