My Story

Ever since I was a young child I had experienced abnormal amounts of anxiety. I suffered with obsessive, anxious thoughts as well as separation anxiety. It was terrifying to experience as a young child, but it was all I had ever known.  At night, I would almost never sleep. I had an over-active imagination, racing thoughts, and fears of going to school. There were many times that I just did not attend school due to the extreme bouts of anxiety, discomfort, and depression. Around age 8, my parents took me to see a psychiatrist and therapist because they knew that something just wasn’t right. The first psychiatrist I had seen wasn’t helpful and didn’t see anything wrong with the behaviors that I had been exhibiting. When my parents took me to see another psychiatrist for a second opinion, he determined a diagnosis after learning more about my family’s history, observing and analyzing my behaviors, and through a couple of years of trying different medications. I was then diagnosed at age 12 with bipolar NOS (with rapid-cycling) and an anxiety disorder (general and social).

It seemed like after the diagnosis is when my life took a turn for the worst. My teen years were a living hell and I felt as though they were wasted with appointments, consuming dozens of medications, hospitalizations, and feelings of emptiness and worthlessness. It seemed like those years of pain and torture would last forever. It wasn’t until after high school, which was a huge struggle for me, that I began to mellow out some and tried to take control over my life. It took a long while to do so and I still struggled for a long while post high school too. My psychiatrist was still trying to find the right medications to help ease my symptoms. After running low on options of what type of treatment to try next, it had come to the conclusion that my illness may be treatment-resistant or just difficult to treat in general. My body has never tolerated psychiatric medications well to begin with. I would almost always develop the most rare side-effects or the medications seemed to worsen my mental health overall.  Since then, my psychiatrist has been cautious in what he will prescribe and even has suggested some natural remedies to try. Sometimes it just comes down to coping with the disorder through therapy which seems to help a great deal because as many know, medications alone cannot magically cure this condition or make things perfectly well again.

Today, I haven’t done this well in a very long while or ever. I am living independently with my husband, our two cats, and two ferrets. I am also back in college and working towards my bachelors degree so that I can have a chance at a rewarding career and life. I feel as though I can finally start to live and enjoy my life which was very difficult for me to do previously. I think most of the success I’m experiencing now is more due to personal growth and time versus the treatments/medications. It must be noted though that I do still experience some incredibly difficult days and times where I won’t feel like or can’t do much at all. I will sometimes miss work and classes due to the agonizing depression or lack of sleep. One thing I try to always keep in mind is that the low moments won’t last forever and that I can always attempt to try again if I “fail”. I will keep trying and keep pushing forward for as long as I can and that is my goal and plan for the future.

45 Comments

  1. Bipolar is hard to live with. people just assume that we get super happy or super low but manic is never really as straight forward. Thank you for the follow- will enjoy stoppng by. love your quotes x

  2. Thank you so much for the follow. I look forward to reading more of your posts

  3. Hi, I am hansome, young and clever guys, currently in university persuing study in engineering course, but due to some unlogical reasons I start to sniff out that I am not okay, In fact its like I had wave of emotion eruptions in my heart since I was 9 until now, 22 years old. My father during my early ages often treat my naughty and bad behaviors by forces a.k.a. he beat me around mercilessly in order to educate and instill good manners in me and I sort of experience deja-vu when I see something that sort of to be like that; People being beaten. I never get along with my father and that seem to go on until now. I also experience rapid exchange in emotion and slightly to consider every possibility by jumping to critical conclusion, negative one, I dont know, its always like that.. Other than that, since I was young I never get along very well with my fellow friends of the same age as they will tease me and bully me around, I am all alone and far from normal child social development Until I was in high school where people can accept me as I am, a stammered and vengeful guy but very intelligent. I cant control my emotion and what I believes had permanently traumatized me is the way my father treat me when I was child, bashing and Screwing me around. I even have a feeling to end his life all of sudden when I experience rage due to unexplainable waves of emotions. Recently (3 years ago) I become much worst after I discover that my Girlfriend cheat on me.. I cant explain, The negative thought mix with vengeance and feeling of hopeless keep on coming like tides in the sea.. It has been 3 years my life is miserable and people complaining about my attitude, I like to work alone.. That not all, I must work alone because just all of sudden I become easily irritated to even small things like giggles and bright colours.. People never seem to understand me and me neither. Randomly Situation may become much worst and I feel like I am want to do physical harm to everyone, its like I am holding a monster inside which I cant control. I feel confused with myself infact.. And then an idea pop-up into my mind; Am I mentally right? I search every resource that I can lay my hand on from peoples to books.. And I feel like I am actually a mad guy since long time ago which now become worst even with a slight emotional pressure.. My happiness is rapidly rise and drop, so do my motivation, I rarely eat.. All I am doing is keep myself together from inside so that I wont run amok and inflict hurt to peoples. I never happy with my life. I feel like I am a crazy mad man, while my father condemn me as the blacksheep of the family and state that my behaviour is bad which must be rooted to my discipline problem. He never has any Idea that I still remember how he shape me up during my childhood and my fear of witnessing any any action of inflicting to other people and he never know how I want to end his life with my own hand. I believe I need help.

  4. Hi Kait, your story made me feel less alone. I don’t have BP but I have another mental disorder. You have such good insight and it is so brave of you to share your story with others. I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with BP but is still feeling ashamed about it and doesn’t want anyone to know 🙁

  5. Kait, I’m really glad to hear that you’ve found better stability living with your fiance. I’m a rapid cycler as well and, surprisingly, I had a much easier time dealing with the symptoms once I moved out of my parents’ house (a very chaotic and high-stress environment). Like you, I’ve experienced less extreme mania (so far) every since I’ve been on a mood stabilizer, but the depression seems more drawn out (luckily though, no suicidal ideation). It takes courage to share your story, which is not only a benefit to your readers but to the cause of destroying this sigma surrounding bipolar. Keep up the progress and pushing through. You’re truly an inspiration.

  6. Hi my fiance and I both suffer w bipolar disorder. Unfortunately he made a very bad decision and left me for another woman. So as devistating as its been this is ultimately due to his manic and agitated state at the time. I understand how it happened. I know that I very well could have made the same mistake if the tables were turned. Ofcourse he is remorseful and wants to reconcile. What do I do? Its not acceptable what he did but if he had his mental health in check it probably wouldn’t have happened. I’m not making excuses it part of the bipolar package. Do you have any thoughts on this?

  7. Thank you for providing your insight Kait, but I have to ask you this; was it all these experiences that you decided to start taking a mood stabilizer? If not, what got you on track (so to speak) in finding a balance in your life?

    I have observed a handful of people living with Bipolar who like the highs (but not the lows) and yet they don’t want the middleground a mood stabilizer can provide. No amount of discussing with them seems to steer them in the direction of getting on one, or it’s met with reluctance to treat their Bipolar in this way. Any tips or strategies I could utilize to help “win” someone over to recognizing the importance of taking a mood stabilizer?

    • You’re welcome and thank you. I actually had been on mood stabilizers as an adolescent and before I found balance in life. I feel I got on track when I found the right anti-depressant and mood stabilizer mix. It has taken many trials and errors, but it has worked fairly well.

      I think it is important to stress to them that not all mood stabilizers will take away the mania. I would also tell them that it would ease their depression so they wouldn’t end up feeling so low. It can be dangerous when the moods aren’t balanced. I think that is the the most important role for a mood stabilizer is to feel stable and not swing back and forth so often.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing. It is so important to have a community of support. I just recently started my own blog http://www.hidinginthespotlight.wordpress.com with the hope in reaching others, specifically bipolar mothers and/or career-oriented people recently diagnosed. If anyone is struggling with these specific issues, please contact me on my blog to encourage each other in this difficult journey.

  9. Thank you for sharing your story. It is so important to have connections with people who suffer from the same diagnosis. If anyone reading this post is a mother or a career-oriented person who was recently diagnosed with bipolar and is struggling with new limitations, please post on my blog http://www.hidinginthe spotlight.com
    so we can connect and support each other with those specific struggles.

  10. Thank you for sharing your story here, and for following my blog as well. I have a family history of Bipolar Disorder, and you have helped me to understand. We all struggle, and understanding is the key to quality of life.

  11. Hey, it’s great to meet you! You know, I relate 100% to your life story. The differences between us, however, is that you went “the traditional route” (doctors, medicine, therapists, etc. in your youth) and I withdrew into my own little “fantasy world”- always singing, making up songs- I sang sometimes for 10 hours per day. It was how I coped with my abuse and trauma growing up. I understand the OCD-like thoughts and thought processes well (rapid-cycling, which is a tell-tale trademark OCD behavior) though and I think you were misdiagnosed, as I was.

    I’m 44 now, and believe me, it has NOT been an easy ride. Rather than go when I was a child, I spent my 20’s in doctor’s appointments, meds, therapy- you know the drill! But what has helped me more than anything else, has been choosing to go to college for Behavioral Sciences and certification in Substance Abuse. Coming from my background, Behavioral Sciences scared the crap out of me, because it meant that I would have nothing to hide behind anymore. All of the doors that I’d nailed shut decades before would have to be examined. Not only that, I’d have to actually walk through them! I wasn’t sure if I had the courage or the strength to do that.

    It hasn’t been an easy four years (and I thought the algebra and calculus would destroy me) but I’ve just graduated with my degree in Behavioral Sciences and certification in Substance Abuse. I got tired of being “the sick one”. Now I’m the one who has become educated on mental health, psychology, sociology, homelessness, substance abuse (self-medicating), etc.

    Don’t ever let anybody tell you that you’re “sick”. That’s garbage. We can only do what we can do with the tools we’re given. I no longer agree with the term “mentally ill”- I just think we all have our own stories to tell and some of us have more colourful stories than others. ;0) Some of us are programmed differently, so when we try to live in the world “normally” as others do, we feel broken.

    Anyway, I hope to encourage you to embrace ALL of the colours in your rainbow (as I like to put it) and understand that because of your struggles, you’ve been given more opportunities than others to reach out- relate- and truly “understand” others. And that’s a gift. xo

  12. Kait – Excellent introduction and overall view of your experience with bipolar disorder. My husband was diagnosed at 40.

  13. hi, thanks for putting my blog on your to read list

    it seems like there can never be enough infomation out there.

    Hopo has an Anchor (the traditional symbol of Hope)

  14. I enjoyed reading your story and thank you for writing and sharing it with us. I now know that awareness is the key for help and stories like your will help the next person. God bless you.

  15. I have nominated you for A Liebster Award. Please go to http://bipolarline.wordpress.com/
    and then to the LIEBSTER NOMINATION page…

  16. Really nice blog, kait. It isnt easy to get all the visual thoughts on paper. How does the hand keep up with the creativity? You are doing it and greatly showing everyone that it is do-able!

  17. Thanks for taking an interest in my new blog. As I explored your blog in turn I was impressed that such an attractive young person had your outlook. They say what doesn’t kill us strengthens us. It’s obvious your struggle has made you strong. It hasn’t overcome you. Instead it even made you want to help others. That’s pretty amazing. Recently I watched a conference about overweight. One of the interviews was with a Russian physician Natasha Campbell-McBride. Although this was a program on weight loss, food and health, what she had to say about autism and mental illness was riveting. It is an alternative view and perhaps not for everyone but I want to share it with you in case you haven’t run across this viewpoint before. It might prove helpful. That conference is over now but I did a quick search and found this link for you. http://www.gaps.me/?page_id=20

  18. Thank you for following my blog emotionalclimate. I’m a novice blogger but your blog shows me what can be achieved. Much of what you have shared here resonates with me very clearly. Thanks Again!

  19. Kait, I’m very curious to learn what role faith plays in your life… and if you are willing to share, what types of trauma or disasters you experienced growing up. I wish you well on your journey… each of us has a unique purpose in life and it is simply our obligation to pursue learning what it is. Be well.

  20. thank you so much for your honesty and willingness to be transparent. I work in the mental health world and there is still so much stigma attached to mental health issues which is of course ridiculous but society will always stigmatise what it does not understand and is therefore afraid of. It is courageous people like you who speak out and “normalise” the everyday experiences of your life that enable others to learn to accept themselves too and then be able to more honest with those in their own lives. This of course is the way stigma truly gets eradicated – one person at a time.
    As someone who has suffered with mental health issues I understand the daily struggle.
    I look forward to reading your blog

  21. Kait,
    Thank you for the follow. Your story touched my heart. You are a very courageous young lady, and with God’s help, I have no doubt that you are going to do great things with your life. Keep doing what you are doing, and serving others along the way, and God will continue to bless you.

    In Christian love,
    Bob’s boy

  22. Thank you for sharing your story to encourage others. May you continue to live a life that is peaceful and calm!

    Thanks for following Lessons by Heart, too. It’s a pleasure to meet you. 🙂

    Love in Christ,
    Tami
    \o/
    Praising Jesus who comes to give us life to the full!

  23. Thank you so much for visiting and following me at Engaging. You are so courageous. I find your site and your message so neccessary and very inspiring. I am proud to be considered one of your followers!
    Much Aloha until we “meet” again!
    Sabrina

    • You’re welcome and thank you for your kind words and for following!

      • This is an issue close to my heart, both as a yoga teacher who has been asked to help someone struggling with bipolar and as family to someone with the illness. I hope to see the day when our society is ready to release its judgements and fears around mental illness! You are bringing light to this much needed shift in consciousness. Much aloha, S!

  24. Sounds like you should be very proud of yourself, regardless of whether you suffer from bi-polar or not. MM

  25. Wow! You & I have quite a bit in common.

  26. Hey Kait,

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your world and your experience. Always good to meet others who walk this weird little path of ours.

    Birdie In Beijing

  27. I love to read other people’s experiences and relationship. I am a very high functioning person with bipolar just like Amelia. I am 30 years old and recently broke up with my boyfriend because he wanted me to stop taking my medication. He said I had no quality-of-life- was tired all the time. He refused to go to the doctor with me and basically did not believe that I even had bipolar – it was like he was a Scientologist and didn’t believe in modern medicine. My therapist believes he would’ve found something else wrong with me had not been the illness. I am just worried I will never find someone who will be able to handle it. But you all give me hope.

  28. Hi Kait, you are so beautiful, and you are so right about mental illness. I’ve tried to live by the idea that I don’t wear my anxiety/OCD on my sleeve, but I won’t hide it either. Awareness and understanding are the biggest obstacles, and you’re a breath of fresh air. I look forward to joining you on your journey

    • Aww, thank you so much. I love your comments and you are so right. Awareness and understanding is hard to come by, but I feel we are getting closer each day. Thanks again for your lovely feedback. <3 🙂

      • Every time it’s mentioned, I think there’s a little more understanding in the world. I’ve said this before; I don’t wear a sign proclaiming my mental illness, but I don’t hide it. if it comes up in conversation, I talk about it. Although I do notice my voice tends to lower a little bit, which is probably residual shame.

  29. Kait, you have a magnificent blog. Thank you for stopping by at mine. I really look forward to following your posts. Thank you for bringing your story and insight to people.

  30. My illness has presented very much like yours until I found myself toward the end of early menopause and struggling to deal with my husband becoming physically disabled, my oldest son suffering from addison’s disease, losing our home and having to leave my job and move out of state to a rural (read “isolated” area). I entered into a never ending horrible depression that is only changed by mixed states that feel worse. I stopped taking care of myself, barely left my room and only leaving my home in urgent situations or emergencies. I feel I am at a do or die crossroad and your blog feels like a life preserver thrown to me by the Universe. Thanks for sharing your story and resources.

    • I’m so sorry to hear that. That sounds like a very difficult and stressful situation. I can’t imagine, but I can relate in the ways you felt. I am glad you stopped by here and I thank you <3

  31. I, too, deal with mixed episodes and rapid cycling. You are *SO* ahead of the curve to relax into the reality of those moments, to rest and wait, to hold the truth that they will pass. That level of awareness is hard-fought and vital to survival.

  32. This is an inspirational story, Kait, and makes a point that I hope your readers can hear loud and clear: people with bipolar can go on to leave healthy, meaningful, love-filled lives. The disorder does not define you. Wishing you only continued health, Candida

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