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.