Manic Monday: From Diagnosis to Acceptance


Today I’m honored and excited to have my friend Kimberly from All Work & No Play here on ‘Confessions! Raw, authentic, honest, sweet, and full of saucy humor, she easily became one of my favorite people when we “met” nearly a year ago.  Reading about her diagnosis and experience with bipolar disorder led me to seek more aggressive treatment which eventually led to my own diagnosis of BP.  Please give her a warm welcome as you read her beautiful words, y’all.

**************************************************

The nurse directed me back to a small room in the ER where Dr. B, my psychiatrist, was waiting.

I flashed a nervous smile, pulled my sleeves over the self-inflicted cuts on my arm and said, “I’m not doing good.”

He motioned to the chair and I sat.

“I think we need to change our plans Kim. I’m going to put you on a mood stabilizer and an anti-psychotic, ones that we use to treat people with bipolar disorder.”

“What?”

“Kim, you are bipolar.”

The magnitude of the diagnosis forcefully shook the smooth path of life that I was desperately trying to get back on.

I watched as it bent and curved and crumbled.

It grew hills and jagged mountains.

The path, once full of promise, now looked vapid; felt hauntingly uninviting.

It was too loud and too quiet.

It was too bright and too dark.

It felt too euphoric and too depressed and too angry.

It was too peaceful and too whimsical.

All at the same time.

And that light I’d been trying to reach for with all of my being, the end of my battle against postpartum depression and anxiety, was thrown so far at the end of the confusion.

I let my hope drop over the ledge of the path.

*******

Bipolar 2 disorder was devastating diagnosis and at times, I refused to believe it.

I remember walking into Dr. B’s office numerous times and asking him if I was still bipolar.

Each time he nodded his head yes.

Each time I said “damn” under my breath.

For days and weeks I kept the diagnosis a secret.

I felt very ashamed of it. So much so that I dissociated myself from the people I needed most at the time.

Even my friends from a postpartum depression support group.

I felt that I just didn’t belong there.

I felt like a freak.

Through Dr. B, I’ve learned, and now believe, that there is nothing wrong about being bipolar.

There is nothing to be ashamed of.

You have cancer.

You have diabetes.

I have bipolar 2 disorder.

So what?

I’m not my illness.

My illness isn’t me.

My name is Kimberly.

I am somebody’s sister, aunt, daughter, and granddaughter.

I am a friend.

I am a Mother.

I am a wife.

I am a nurse.

I am creative.

I am sassy.

I am ridiculously funny.

I am smart.

I am compassionate.

I am in love with Chuck Norris.

I am me.

And that is beautiful.

Just like anyone with any type of medical condition, I still struggle with my illness.  I have bumps and bruises and scars from navigating this bipolar road to prove it.

But it gets better.

And I have hopes that I can live a normal life just like the rest of ‘em.

I know I can.

I just have to keep fighting every day to get there.

And I will.

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54 thoughts on “Manic Monday: From Diagnosis to Acceptance

  1. Kimberly, as someone who was just diagnosed a few weeks ago with some form of Bi-polar (my psych is still figuring it out), your words comfort me. I felt like a freak too, even though I have friends who have it. I just felt out of control and afraid of my own mind. Thank you so much for being so open and honest. It makes the difference. You’re right, having a disorder doesn’t define you. It ISN’T who you are.

    • Hapless, I am so sorry that you too have this. But I assure you that you can live a normal life. It’s just the start of this journey is a massive beeyotch.
      You are still you no matter what.
      And that is beautiful.
      Much love and strength.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story here and removing some of the stigma that is often associated with BiPolar. Also you are definitely ridiculously funny!

  3. The two of you in one place..I love it!
    Being Bipolar sounds scary, and it’s not a walk in the park, but it is definitely not what defines you. It’s just something you have to deal with.
    You forgot ridiculously gifted!
    xoxo

    • It is scary…but the more I learn about it…the more I reach out in times of distress…the more I am responsible with taking my medications…it gets better. Sure there are hiccups and giant burps…but ultimately we kick it in the taco meat.
      xoxo

  4. Kim is an amazing woman. She constantly leaves me in awe with her fight and her sheer love for that sweet boy. She inspires me always. I’m so proud to call her a friend.

  5. I am able to breathe easier every day knowing others are in the same club….I wrote a story prior to having my twins about my trip to Nut Camp for alcoholism that turned into a diagnosis for BP2. It was published in the journal of Psychiatric Services.
    (http://ps.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleid=97393) “Hold on Tight”
    The email and job noted are not updated….but, who really cares. The events of the story happened years ago and remain relevent today.
    Thank you for having the courage to share…the reality is that so many suffer in fear and silence. xo Alicia G.

  6. I will say it again. You are so courageous and have such strength. I admire you and respect you.

    And I know you have helped many people by continuing to share your story with the world, including me!

  7. Kimberly, You’re very lovable. It takes courage to talk about this – it is easier for people to attract sympathy with cancer and other stuff. People never understand BiPolar the way it should be. Heck, many people don’t understand anything beyond what they want to see. And then, I am thinking of the snooty, unkind people who see anything less than perfect as a shortcoming and that includes trivial stuff.

    Yes, you seriously kick some stigma ass. And hard. 😀 Love yas! You’re so beautiful, you know?

  8. Thanks for sharing Kimberly. Although I do not have BP, I knew what I was going through was postpartum ocd but didn’t tell a soul for years. I was finally brave enough to speak out a few months ago and was properly diagnosed with anxiety and ocd. I refused to believe it also but now I have begun to accept it for what it is. It isn’t always easy but you are right, the diagnosis doesn’t define us at all. Great post 🙂

    • It was so hard to tell people. I think it was because I worried how they would see me.
      I am so proud of you for asking for help. Even though it was years, you still made that step. So many people don’t.
      It is so hard to accept it. But once you do you can move forward.
      xoox

  9. This was beautiful, Kim! I loved how you described it all. I love that you give us a window into your world. We learn so much there! And we laugh. You make us laugh. I heart you!

  10. Wonderful Kim, you write so honestly. The bipolar road certainly is a bumpy one, but you approach it with such strength and a great sense of humour! Big hugs xx

  11. I just spent an obscene amount of time reading about the difference between bipolar 1 and 2. I can only imagine how difficult it is for you :: you are so strong.
    You forgot one descriptive line on your post btw ~~ “I am stunning”. Hello!!!

  12. Thank you for being bold and brave and writing the real and raw. Thank you for being easy to talk to and relate to. And for busting stigma every single day with your fighting spirit.

    Kim and AddyeB, love you both SO much. *HUG*

  13. I know you as YOU. A loving, strong, brave, compassionate, and funny person. I love you for you. I know you won’t give up. You’re determined and you can do this.

  14. Kimberly great post!! I do not have BP but non the less my brain injury causes many similar challenges. It (this post) was I needed to read today to keep me on track to not being my brain injury or my limitations from the accident. Thank You!! Blessings, xo HHL

  15. Kim, I was diagnosed in the early 90s after YEARS of thinking I was a total pyscho! Just having someone put a NAME to my indecisions, my crazy ‘ups’ and my crashing ‘downs’ was such an incredible relief. I have been on meds (FAITHFULLY) since then. No. They do NOT make me ‘not bipolar’. They do not STOP the mood swings, but they are SO much less pronounced. Yes. I am grateful & relieved. I readily tell people I am bipolar & let them know it’s a chemical imbalance in the brain, often present from a VERY early age but not always turned into full-fledged bipolar unless we suffer a traumatic experence. I was literally beaten, demeaned, and raped for my entire childhood, and I say THAT qualifies as traumatic, right? I am NOT ashamed of being who & what I am. I survived (I’m 61) I’m treated so my disorder is controlled, and – most of all – I’m fully functional & HAPPY. YOU ARE AWESOME and I’m so pleased to ‘meet’ you!

    • Thank you so so SO much for sharing your story here. I am so glad that medications are helping you. You’re right, it’ll never go away but it can be controlled and you can live life.
      IT doesn’t define us. We are just like anyone else with an illness.
      xoox

  16. Pingback: Relationships and Admitting Your Have Bipolar « Bipolar: Writing for Therapy & My Life

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