It’s been over a year since I was admitted to the hospital, in a full on Manic Episode mode. Several days later, I was diagnosed for the second time with Bipolar Disorder. I say for the second time, because I had been diagnosed 10 years earlier, in a similar, but less severe state of manic episode. However, when all was said and done, I couldn’t accept the diagnosis. I told myself and everyone else that it was a stress related reaction. And I convinced my doctor to believe that theory. She knew my history… it was stress, or depression, or just overdoing it, (or maybe she just wanted to believe that theory too). I didn’t want to admit that I was broken. I didn’t want to admit that I wasn’t normal (whatever that is). And so I lived with this silent monster in my life for all those years, on the wrong medication. A medication that would finally take me to the brink, with my second and more severe manic episode, which would then lead to a second diagnosis and to me finally admitting that yes, I am Bipolar. And yes, I do have a mental illness.
It’s taken over a year (plus 10 years) for me to be able to talk about this openly. But I know that there are so many people that suffer silently. So many people that may not even know that BiPolar Disorder is what they have. Or like me, maybe they are just lying to themselves about the reality of it in their life. Nobody wants to be broken. Nobody wants to admit that they need medication to make them “normal”. But the reality is that we need to start talking about it. We need to share our experiences with mental illness, so that we can help each other and our loved ones understand these horrible disorders. And that there is hope. There is a path to wholeness again. We must not be afraid to take it. The Lord said…“I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” Ether 12:26
It’s taken over a year (plus 10 years) to find the right medications, and it’s still a work in progress because our bodies are ever changing. But I feel so blessed to have found a Dr. who from the get-go, understood what a hard diagnosis this is to accept, and wouldn’t let me NOT accept it. A doctor who has helped me work through it, and listened to me and really knows about mental illness and how to treat it. I feel like that was divine intervention and I’ll have to share the story about how I found him, sometime, but not today. Today I just wanted to say, this is where I am in my life right now. This is why I have not been as active on social media over the past several months. But it’s time! It’s time for me to put myself out there… even though it’s scary and I risk having to undergo the judgement of imperfect people. But this is not for those people. This is for the people like myself, who suffer in silence. The people who feel broken or not “normal”. This is for them and their loved ones. Hopefully we can help each other. Give each other a voice. Russell M. Nelson said in the 2015 October conference in his address “A Plea to my sisters“, “… we need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith and who are courageous…. women who teach fearlessly.”
It’s been over a year, and today I am speaking from my heart and mind, full of faith, hoping that the breadth of my influence can help others who are going through what I have been through or a similar mental illness. I will try to post a couple times a month to talk about this disorder and how I am learning to live with it. I even have videos of myself (that my husband took as a documentary of that time), that I could possibly share at some point. I watched them before I sat down to write this and I cried, because some days… many days, I still feel broken. But I’ve realized, it’s ok to feel broken.