February 21, 2013

My bipolar, a history, part one.

I tried to kill myself two weeks ago today. Blunt, perhaps, but it's the truth. Here is where I'm going to spill my guts about it, because I can, and because I need to.

First off, in case you don't already know, I have bipolar disorder.  I've had it since I was about 15-16 years old, but it wasn't properly diagnosed until I was 27. I had my first suicide attempt in April of 1994. Then I overdosed on Tylenol 500, spent a day or so in ICU, another couple of days in the hospital, and then another couple of days in an inpatient facility.  At the time, IIRC, the psychiatrist there told my mom it was "just a teenage thing. She's scared herself out of it and she'll be fine."  But my parent's insurance company insisted I go to counselling  so off I went for a few therapy sessions. The therapist was nice and all, but again it was basically "you're over it now", and off I went to live my life.

I have honestly lost track of how many attempts there were between that first one and the one I had in January of '04. The only good thing about that one was I was finally properly diagnosed. Before it was "just depression" and "here, take this anti-depressant". If you don't know, for people with bipolar, having just can antidepressant in your system makes things worse. Sure, you're not depressed anymore, but the manic stage can be just as bad.

Do you know part of the reason a lot of people don't get diagnosed properly for so long? It's because manias are fun. At least compared to depression and everything else. Manias make you lose your inhibitions  They make you get out on the dance floor and dance wild with that cute guy. Or spend the money on that dress and makeup you know you really can't afford. Or have a one night stand. Or drive drunk while laughing your ass off about it the whole time. Or, while sober, drive 90 down the freeway. And because manias are so much more fun than depression, you don't really think anything is wrong with you. Everyone knows that being depressed is bad, but when you're manic, and you're the fun, party girl, there's nothing wrong with that!

So back to January '04. I had my son in October of '02, and became a SAHM. Sadly, I was suffering from PPD and didn't really know it.  I just knew I was lonely and sad a lot of the time. My (now ex) husband worked either 2nd or 3rd shift, so we didn't spend a lot of time together, and since we only had one car, I rarely got out of the house. I went to my GP with my concerns about how I was feeling, and she put me on an antidepressant. (Remember what I said earlier?) So I started going a bit too far the other way. Now, another thing with my manic stages, it's not all happy, happy, joy, joy fun times. I tend to get very short tempered and angry. Sadly, there were times my poor baby got the short end of that stick. My ex got it a lot too, but he fought back, and it was ugly. Our marriage was slowly crumbling, and neither one of us wanted to do anything about it.

I had one little escape: theater.  I managed to get cast in the local show of Kiss Me Kate. There I actually made some friends and was seen as more than a mom. Some of them even came over to the house and kept me company from time to time. A couple of these friends also happened to be guys, and it pissed my ex off. Never mind one was 18, and the other was happily married, not to mention I had no interest in either one of them outside of being friends. Being alone with them was NOT ALLOWED. *rolls eyes*  At any rate, one night a whole bunch of us got together to celebrate the end of the show, and the one guy's (D) birthday. I left my husband with the baby and, with his blessings, went out with my friends. I drank, I smoked, I danced, and I had a damn good time. At the end of the night, D drove me home. (See, I was good and didn't drive home drunk.) My husband had to work that night, so our kid was at his nana's house. When we pulled in to the drive, D confessed how he felt about me. Apparently he had some major feelings for me, even though I was married. He said he knew how unhappy I was, and that's why he always wanted to be with me, was to make me happy because he loved me. I was flattered, of course, and I admit I was physically attracted to him. He asked for one thing for his birthday: a kiss. Drunk, sad, and confused, I kissed him. I even had the brief thought of inviting him in to the house. D's sanity prevailed, and I went in to the house alone.

However unhappy I was in my marriage, I knew I had crossed a line, and what I had done gnawed on me badly. A few weeks earlier I had been having some pretty severe headaches, and the doctor gave me some very strong barbiturates for them. Now, severely depressed and guilty, I was as low as I had been in years. My husband was home for the night. I told him I was tired, so he said he'd stay up with the baby. I kissed him goodnight, went in to the bathroom and took a handful of the meds, and went to bed.  When I woke up in the morning, quite late, I was severly upset I had survived. I could hear my husband and our baby in the living room. I went in to the bathroom and took the rest of the pills. I don't know what happened, exactly, but they seemed to have a much stronger effect that time than the night before. I stumbled in to the living room and got on Andy's lap, kissed him and told him I loved him. He knew something was wrong, but I was too out of it to answer him. He called an ambulance.

I don't remember too much for awhile. I *do* remember confessing to him that I had kissed D, and oddly he forgave me. I also remember being confused that my MIL was there because, as I told her, "I thought you hated me." I was then sent to an inpatient care facility in Bay City for the 72 hour thing.  It was there I was finally, properly, diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Even if I didn't like the psychiatrist I had, at least someone finally got it right.

And that's where I'll leave part one. I'm tired, but I'll try to start on part two tomorrow.