The More Time Passes, The More I Realize
By Katy Young
I haven’t always been vocal about my Bipolar Disorder II, but I’m slowly starting to be more outspoken about it now. I was diagnosed in October of 2012, but I didn’t fully believe it at first. I thought it was nothing but depression like my primary care doctor had told me. I hadn’t experienced the hypomania of it yet, and that didn’t happen for a little over two years. This past December (2014) I changed medications in the process of trying to find the right one, and the new one sent me cycling into hypomania. I don’t remember exactly how long it lasted, but I would say a little over a month.
That initial breakthrough into hypomania wound up with me having some issues that I’m still dealing with today. I want to say that I’m not ashamed of this, but I am. I can’t help it. Things aren’t as easy as I wish they were, and they never will be unfortunately. But no matter what, I have to push forward and do the very best that I can because no one else can do it for me.
Lately, I’ve become more aware of what’s happening with me. This has also been because I finally got an appointment with the psychiatrist I had been trying to get in with for months. I started taking Magnesium and Fish Oil with OMEGA-3 to help with stabilizing my moods, and I started a mood journal as well.
In said mood journal I write the date at the top of each page, and for each new entry that day I write the time. I write how I’m feeling and on the line underneath in parentheses. I also occasionally write paragraphs about how I’m feeling or about a certain feeling I had a previous day, or in general.
A couple entries might look like this:
February 28 (Sat)
12:45 – happy, excited, anxious
(got pdoc appt)
March 1 (Sun)
Last Sunday, no, 2 weeks ago, Feb 15, in handbells we were practicing our fourth piece and I broke down crying. I had stayed up practically al night prior working security at the church. I was getting frustrated with myself for not being about to focus. I knew it was ok, but I was just hard on myself. Eventually they were going over a simple part and I came back and it was ok. But the frustration over my inability to focus was immense.
The more I do research on my mental illness, the more I realize that people don’t understand it. And they don’t understand because they don’t take the time to listen to us and try to understand. Like my dad. He doesn’t understand my bipolar and he doesn’t do anything about it. What he wants is someone to sit in on my appointments with me so that they can hear what’s going on. Uhm, no! I’m 22 years old; I can, and need to, be handling this on my own.
I really don’t understand why, if his daughter has bipolar, he wouldn’t take the time to ask me questions and actually listen to the answers. Or maybe he could do some research about it on his own. But, I’ll tell you what the problem is. He wants concrete answers. And with mental illness, you don’t get concrete answers. Things change from person to person, and even from day to day with one person.
Then, on the other end of the spectrum, there’s my mom. She may not completely understand bipolar disorder, but she does understand that things are always changing. She drives me to all of my appointments and helps me deal with side effects when they pop up. She’s my support in the house.
It’s not an easy situation to be in. Where you have two people at opposite ends of the spectrum in the same house with someone who has a mental illness diagnosis. I feel like I’m walking a fine line when I bring things up most times. There’s no telling what his reaction will be or what his silent judgment will be. And there’s no telling what will be said to me if I have a bad day and can’t function at full capacity like he wants me to all the time. I don’t know how to explain to him that sometimes I just can’t function because I’m not fully in my own head. Well, where am I if not in my head? I don’t know! There’s something causing me to not be functional but I can’t tell you what it is for the life of me.
Through my own blog, and now my mood journal, I’m doing the best I can to put these feelings into words. To try to be able to explain to someone what was going on inside my head when I couldn’t function at full capacity.
I’m hoping that by doing this, my dad will somehow understand that sometimes there’s just not an explanation for some things. And I’m hoping that I can get a better understanding of what triggers certain feelings, and how I can deal with, or possibly avoid them.
Katy lives just outside of Washington DC and is a student at her local community college studying American Sign Language Interpreting. She was originally diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II in October 2012, but didn’t officially believe it until December 2014. She is still trying to find the right medication but is positive that she’s going to get there. She loves drinking coffee (sometimes a little too much) and she desires to get several more tattoos in addition to the one she has now. Follow her blog here. You can also visit her at Facebook, on Instagram and on Twitter.