Well, I almost did it.
It wasn’t on purpose, I promise. But I came very close to a final answer to dealing with bipolar disease. I was very depressed, I’ll admit. But I know I never intended to take my own life, and deep down I truly believe that I never lost sight that there is always something, some way to get through even the darkest depression. Of that I am convinced.
It all started with some self adjustments to my meds. Yes, I know better, but it made such sense at the time! A couple of months or so ago I was starting to head into a manic episode, and my Doctor had added an additional mood stabilizer, risperidone, to my drug regimen. It made a big difference, and my mood started to slow down to a manageable level. After about a week, I felt great!
But it didn’t stop there.
As the days went by, my mood continued to fall. It became harder and harder to stay positive, and I started to withdraw from everyone. It didn’t help that my work load had slowed down some, and I had a lot of time on my hands without anything to do. I started to worry about my job being eliminated, and instead of trying to find something productive to do, I was dwelling on all the problems that would come if I were unemployed again. My living arrangements were changing as well and only added to the stress. I have come to truly hate where I am living, and my lease was about to expire. I started looking for a new place to live, but again, instead of seeing this as a positive, I worried about the additional cost, and all the difficulties of moving.
And my mood continued to fall.
Allowing all the negativity to take hold, it wasn’t long before I was heading into a full depression. But of course I’ve been there before, and did recognize that I needed to do something before it got completely out of hand. And then my bipolar brain kicked in. I rationalized that since adding the risperidone had started taking my mood down, discontinuing it would counteract the deepening depression. So… without consulting my Doctor, I quit taking it. I knew it would take some time for the drug to get out of my system, so I wasn’t surprised that I was sinking further into depression. I felt that I had to give it time before I started feeling better. But I didn’t. By now those around me were getting concerned about how down I was, and started to encourage me to reach out to my Doctor for help. But again, I knew better; or so I thought. But I finally admitted to myself that maybe it wasn’t the risperidone that had kicked off my depression, and I gave my Doctor a call. After fussing at me for making my own adjustments, he restarted the risperidone and added wellbutrin to address the depression.
But it was too late.
Wellbutrin is a fairly fast acting drug, but it still takes time before it becomes effective. But I was too deep into the darkness, and started to have really unhealthy thoughts. It was bad enough that in my weekly therapy session my Therapist started suggesting that I consider hospitalization to keep me safe. But of course, depression lies, and I refused. I listened to my darkness and instead of hanging on to the hope that it would get better, believed that it was never going to end and it just didn’t matter. And of couldn’t risk taking the time off work especially since I was so afraid of losing my job. Lies. Another week passed, and my Therapist began to insist that I get into a safe place, even to the point of threatening to take away the decision and have me committed. But I still listened to the beast, and convinced her that I was okay and would get through it.
Then I hit bottom.
The day came that I just couldn’t deal with all the bad thoughts in my head. I decided that if I just needed to stop thinking for a while. I left work early to go home and sleep for a while to turn off the brain. But the demons inside of me were too strong, and I couldn’t get the darkness out of my head enough to get to sleep. So I decided I needed some help, and took a couple of adivan, laid back down and finally dozed off.
That’s when it starts to get confusing.
I have to admit, my memories are a little fuzzy now, but thinking back, I must have only slept a short while, and I must have woken up thinking that it was time for another round of drugs to keep the sleep going. And I took more adivan. Sleep came, but by then all rational thought was gone. I really have no idea what happened next, but before at some point I had taken all of the adivan I had left.
My next memory is when I woke up in a mental hospital. I had lost a full three days with absolutely no clue as to what happened. I was still confused, so I didn’t even question how I had made it there. I live alone, so how in the world was I saved? Who found me and called in the help? What happened between my final pills and being in the hospital? At that point it really didn’t matter. I was safe, and had lived through the depths of hell in spite of the strength of the illness and my own stupidity.
The story of my time in the hospital and my recovery can be told another time. But the bottom line is that God has given me another chance, and all the prayers from my loved ones and even total strangers who were kind enough to be concerned have gotten me through. I have learned that I am never alone, and that my life really does matter to many others than myself.
I know that I’m not done. This illness is so strong I know that there will be another time of depression, and another time of mania. And I know that there will be, can be times of stability and peace. But living with this disease is a journey, and every day there are more lessons and skills to be learned to manage the demons that live in my head. I will remember this experience. I must listen to those around me and not ignore their advice. I absolutely have to take ownership of my life, and take the steps I need to get help before it gets out of control. I know I can do this, and will do this, in spite of the bastard that keeps trying to destroy my life. God has proven that he’s not through with me yet, and I will not squander this chance. And I am so thankful, and so deeply in debt to those around me, who lifted me through this all, giving me support, love and hope.
I will survive.