So you have a mental illness.. Which one?
Bipolar one and generalized anxiety
When were you diagnosed & how old were you?
I was 37 years old and six weeks postpartum when I was diagnosed with
bipolar. After my little girl was born, I stopped sleeping, became manic
and to top it off, had acute hypergraphia (compulsive writing). It was
bizarre and none of the doctors recognized what was going on at first.
PPD (postpartum depression) gets a lot more attention, unfortunately. I
can’t remember when I got my anxiety diagnosis though, but my anxiety has
been around a long, long time.
How do you cope with your mental illness?
I tried the med-free route but that backfired and I was hospitalized. At
43, I’m a walking pharmacy. I take Parnate (an MAOI), lithium and
Seroquel. I also take a drug called Baclofen for anxiety. It’s supposed
to be non-addictive. I hope that’s true as I developed a nasty addiction
to benzos. I have had ECT done twice and it worked for me the first time.
I have a great counselor and I blog. I am working on my book “Birth of a
New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar” for which I secured a
publication deal last year before I relapsed and cancelled my contract.
What are 3 words that you would describe how your illness makes you feel?
Ashamed, hopeless, weary
What are some ways you relax from your illness?
I used to be a certified personal trainer, and I really believe in
exercise helping mood. I work out every day unless I have a very good
reason not to do it. My pdoc says to get 20-30 minutes and he stresses to
do it daily. I read my Kindle, I write, I take hot baths. I cuddle with
my two little girls. I use my Sunbox bright light every morning while I
check Facebook. I was using medical marijuana, but I stopped once I
started taking Seroquel because I was paranoid the two wouldn’t mix well.
I might revisit it.
What is some advice you would give to your fellow soldiers fighting this
If you can find a live support group with DBSA or NAMI, I’d give it a try.
Meetup has groups. I agree with my cool friend the blogger “Bipolar On
Fire” to find other bloggers with mood disorders in the blogosphere (i.e.
WordPress) – there are amazing writers out there who can help you feel
supported and understood.
Do you have any books, websites, writers, shows, music, etc that has
helped you cope that you like to share?
Lots. Melody Moezzi’s “Haldol and Hyacinths”, Dr. Liz Miller’s “Mood
Mapping” (She was in the awesome Stephen Fry documentary “The Secret Life
of the Manic Depressive”), Rebecca Moore’s “Moorestorms: A Guide for the
Bipolar Parent”, BP Magazine & its website blog, Esperanza the
Anxiety/Depression magazine and its website blog. I pre-purchased an
excellent-sounding book by Dr. Ruth White called “Preventing Bipolar
Relapse” and Wendy K. Williamson’s upcoming “Two Bipolar Chicks Guide to
Survival: Tips for Living With Bipolar Disorder”. She wrote a cool book
called “I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar”.
Tell us your blog or how we can keep in contact with you:
My blog “Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar”
(I blog about non-bipolar-related issues as well!)
International Bipolar Foundation guest blogger
If your interested in being featured as a B.U.L.’s(Bipolar, Unemployed & Lost) weekly GUEST BLOGGER, please email the above questions and answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will feature your Q&A! I’d love to hear your experience and motivation to fight this horrible disease.