My journey begins when I first sought out a doctor because I wasn’t feeling up to par about anything in my life. I just gave birth to a baby girl and I noticed changes in me. She was perfect and not an issue. So I began in 1993 taking antidepressants for quite some time and then referred to a psychiatrist to treat my symptoms. That went on for 11 years and that’s when I saw the inside of a psych ward. I was terrified. There were all sorts of crazy around me but I didn’t know I was one of them. I didn’t feel crazy until they took me off all my meds.. I thought I was going to die. My blood pressure was so low I could hardly sit up. I thought they were trying to kill me. I didn’t feel delusional in any way. I learned to speak up for my self and felt so empowered while in the hospital and at the same time I felt completely helpless because I really was helpless.

I worked hard during those two weeks, going to meetings, learning to interact with others on a friendly level. We did activities all day every day. Some of the people frightened me. Half the ward was divided for the more “insane” people who tried to kill themselves. We were made to interact with all of the patients of course under strict supervision. Most of the crazier ones and suicidal ones had guards in each cell. Yes they were in cells. Some committed crimes against others and some were just bat shit crazy. I was not comfortable with anyone. Luckily I was in a regular room and not as confined. At any given time a fight or argument would ensue. One time I using the phone and one of the patients insisted it was her turn. She wanted to fight with me but I backed down. I am not a fighter so I turned the phone over to her. I had one friend that I made and she was my room mate. She was a very kind woman with severe depression.

You don’t make friends in a sick ward like I was in. We’re not there to make friends. We were there to get well. Whatever “being well” is in reference to Bipolar 1 disorder. I didn’t know I was sick until I checked into the hospital. I was taken by ambulance and had no idea where I was. I had been in therapy and this one particular day when I was getting ready to go, I had taken a nice hot jacuzzi bath, a couple of beers and a few xanax. I wasn’t trying to kill myself. I was trying to kill the emotional pain I was in. I went to my therapy appointment and proceeded to tell “her” how the morning went. Oh what a mess I created. She would not let me leave and brought the doctor in on the situation. I was willing to go but had to make arrangements for my daughter’s care. She was in middle school at the time. I would imagine she was scared and I didn’t get a chance to talk to her before I went. I’m glad I went because finally I got the correct diagnosis. Bipolar 1 Disorder. Put a name on it and I know what I am dealing with. I try to find some irony with it each day. I will live with this disease for the rest of my life.

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