I Have a Mental Illness
Let’s talk about mental health for a second. It’s not something I talk about enough in my everyday life, and yet I struggle severely with mental illness. (I guess I talk about it in therapy, but that is a space designed to address it, the outside world is not.) I’ll admit it—I struggle with a mental illness that comes attached with a scary stereotype. My recent diagnosis has me preparing for a rollercoaster of medications.
Moving into my senior year of college, (plus one part time fall semester) I'm already full of stressful classes and the daunting GRE looming in the distance. A mood disorder diagnosis was not something I expected to happen. I had already been told I had a Major Depressive Disorder. It turns out, that's not it. And the medication I have been taking for the last eight months aren't working --it's making this worse. It seems like another chapter in my life is over, the post brain injury chapter is closed, and now I move into the aftermath section.
I’m coming off antidepressant and moving onto a mood stabilizer. I attend weekly therapy sessions, and visit my prescriber every two weeks to ensure the meds are working, and that I’m becoming stable. I experience normal feelings, sadness, happiness, pride, etc. But I also expertise very, very bad lows. Deep depression with no sense of end, leading me down a path that puts me at a 4 on the SI scale. I crawl out, only to become normal, then a bit above normal. I am extremely motivated, I feel like I can achieve anything, and try to. Only to collapse if something goes wrong, and shoot straight down to depressed again. And yet, I am very sensitive. I feel emotions so deeply, to the point it does more damage than good. I am in tune with my feelings and others as well. I can cry and laugh in the same day.
So here I am. Keeping a daily gratitude journal, mood journals, reminders to take my medications at exact times. I’m finally able to talk to my family about what I’m going through. I’m able open up and declare that I am not just my mental illness. I'll be living with bipolar II for the rest of my life.
If you want resources, or are curious about this mental illness, you can go to National Alliance on Mental Illiness here, or The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance here. If you are experiencing depression, anxiety, or any other mental crisis, please reach out for help and resources. If your are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please seek help immediately. For resources you can go to SAVE or LIFELINE, or call 1-800-273-8255 if you live in the USA.