I have been nutty my whole life, but I didn’t know it. Seriously I had no idea, I thought everybody acted and thought like me.
My childhood was a bit chaotic, my mother left home when I was 11. I came home from school one day and she was gone, no note, no goodbye. I was numb. It was only years later that I found out that my dad had kicked her out and didn’t let her say goodbye.
I was left to my own devices to bring myself up, I did what I wanted when I wanted, and I still had no clue that my thinking and behaviour was different to anyone else.
I went through the whole marriage and motherhood thing, had some massive rows with my husband, I am sure that my thinking was warped but at the time I had no clue. No one actually ever said to me I think that you have a problem. In hindsight I think that my whole family has mental health problems (except my mum, she got out of the mad house).
It was only when I was in my 40’s that I was diagnosed with bipolar. I was in my second marriage and there were massive ups and downs, screaming matches and throwing stuff. If I got angry I would break stuff and sulk for days at a time. I honestly don’t know how my relationship survived those early years. I saw my GP one day, and she said to me I think you are bipolar, so she referred me to a psychiatrist.
This is the best thing that ever happened to me, my psychiatrist is amazing. It wasn’t all plain sailing there was lots of juggling of meds, a couple of hospital admissions, I went through a Lithium toxicity where I had the constant tremors, more ups and downs at home particularly with my teenage daughter and I thought I was losing my mind. I would go on mad crazy spending sprees and buy stuff that I didn’t need, I couldn’t help myself and unfortunately racked up a lot of debt.
Suddenly we got the meds right, it took about 18 months of juggling but we got there. It’s not perfect. I have what’s called emotional blunting which means that my emotions are very even down the middle, I don’t get super excited but I also generally don’t get very down either. I don’t really cry anymore and sometimes you need a good cry. It’s almost like I am emotionless. Also I have the side effect of being dead from the waist down which is very common. It’s a trade-off for being well though and it is something I am prepared to live with to be mentally well. I still have to watch my spending, I am very impulsive so I get a weekly allowance and don’t get to touch the bills money. I am so much better though I can actually save money now and not have to spend it.
I am sure my story is similar to others, we all think we are normal until we are told otherwise, right? Happily now I am stable, my relationships are great and life is good (apart from my eye problems). I accept that I will be on lots of meds for the rest of my life, I can deal with that, I just want to stay well.
I dread the day that the meds don’t work anymore, I don’t know how likely that is to happen. It was awful going through that 18 months to get them right, not sure if I could do it all again. I get scared that my body will get so used to them they will stop working the way they are now. Hopefully it won’t happen but who knows what the future will bring.
I am really lucky that I have a great support system, that has really made a big difference. I can’t thank my family and Healthcare workers enough for taking such good care of me.
Life is good, have a good day everyone ☺