Friday, November 28, 2014

Change is a'Comin!

**I composed this post over a month ago. I'm just now getting to post it because I just finally got my laptop today.**

I had started writing my "comeback post" about two weeks ago. I've been considering getting back to being more actively involved in the blog for a while, but can honestly admit that I can't post on a set schedule. I can't post every day, or even every other day. Some weeks, you might see me post two or three times. Other weeks, I may only post once. There may even be times that I go an entire week without posting a thing. So, that's when I would convince myself that the blog "wouldn't be successful because I can't commit to posting as proficiently as many successful bloggers do, so why waste the effort? Nobody would probably even read it, anyway." But I still couldn't stop poking at the idea. Finally, while stuck in a deep depression and feeling the loneliest I probably ever have, I made the decision to bring it back anyway. Even if nobody follows or even reads one post, it gives me a sounding board. But, I felt the need to explain to you guys why I haven't been around for so long.

So, I started writing the post out, explaining that I suffer from Bipolar Disorder and have been for 20+ years; unexpected life changes had happened when I stopped posting; major bouts of depression; yadda yadda yadda. Soon, Mommy Duties called, so I saved the post with the intention of coming back later to finish it. I still had the blog on my mind; new ideas, new goals, new challenges.

The very next morning, after being severely depressed for almost two weeks straight, going four days straight on a combined total of six hours of sleep, and not eating for two days, I finally decided that I couldn't handle things on my own any longer. I drove myself to the local, county-run mental health/addiction clinic and tearfully told the receptionist that, "I have no money, no job, no insurance; but I really need some help." 

Mind you, I have not been in any treatment for bipolar since BB was born three & a half years ago; and even then, it was only medications from my OB; no therapy, whatsoever. The last time I was in therapy was during a self-admitted hospital stay two & a half years ago. That was when I was told that I had "Major Depressive Disorder," "Social Anxiety Disorder," and that I (doctor's exact words) "certainly had some Bipolar Disorder associated with those." Being without health insurance, the only outpatient treatment that I could afford was with government-run mental health services. After several unpleasant experiences with the facility in the past, I chose to end treatment altogether. If I only would have known what I know now....

Fast forward back to me sitting across the desk from social worker/clinician. I'm telling her my history, and she is looking through my file on her computer. I explained to her what I was told that my diagnosis had been during that hospital stay, when she says, "It says here that you were diagnosed as having Major Depressive Disorder, Severe Anxiety Disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder [BPD]."

I look at her, a little dumbfounded. I had heard of BPD, but didn't know much about it. Even after reading & researching Bipolar Disorder thousands, if not millions, of times. I would skip the parts talking about Borderline Personality Disorder. I didn't need to read about it; it didn't pertain to me. I've never had a health care professional say anything to me about the possibility of Borderline Personality Disorder. I'm bipolar.

Twenty-two years. Dozens of psychiatrists/therapists. Hundreds of therapy hours. Four hospital stays. Twenty-two years of so. much. pain. Not only for myself, but my family, and anyone who had ever cared about me. 

I was diagnosed with BPD how long ago? Why didn't they tell me? Knowing what I've learned since then about BPD, I do consider the fact that I quite possibly could have just not heard it when they told me, or even forgotten. But with a name like "Borderline Personality Disorder," I'd like to think that I would remember being told that I suffered from it. (I think a lot of people confuse it with "Multiple Personality Disorder," being as the only difference in the names is the first word.)

All of this time, and all of these years, I have been training myself as being bipolar. BPD is a totally different diagnosis. Only I didn't realize exactly how different the two disorders are until I got back home & began googling it. 

The more I read, the more enlightened I become. My God. This explains so much! I have never felt such clarity in my entire life! I never thought I could be so downright jubilant over a mental illness diagnosis. For the first time in over twenty years, I feel like I finally have hope for the future. Proper diagnosis = proper treatment.

Then comes the anger. Anger for my improper diagnosis, as well as for the doctor at the hospital for "not telling me." Next, is guilt. Guilt for what my family, my husband, my kids, and even good friends have had to tolerate from me for so long. Guilt for how susceptible my children are to this disorder, simply because I have it. Now, sadness. Sad for all three of my babies, and sad because after learning about BPD, I strongly feel like my younger brother also suffered from Borderline Disorder. But because of some of his other "mannerisms," (we'll call them) he was never given the proper care or attention in order to address it. This lack of care ultimately resulted in him taking his own life in 2009, which was, and still continues to be, devastating for me. **I will tell more about that particular chapter of my life in a future post.**

Back to the present. Right now. I am overwhelmed, sleep-deprived, and my thoughts are [pretty much] constantly racing. It's difficult for me to find motivation to do much of anything, since I can't concentrate most of the time. I go back on Tuesday to establish treatment (and boy, am I ready), but for now, I'm just trying to get from one minute to the next.

That's why I have decided to make some changes:

This blog will no longer be limited to nail polish & nail art. Don't worry; It won't be focused on mental illness & awareness (although I will reference it from time to time). Nail polish isn't as much of a part of my life [anymore] as being a mom & wife are. Therefore, my goal is for this blog to be a place for sharing ideas & starting discussions about things such as parenting a child with ADHD, activities & ideas for kids/families, marriage & co-parenting, household management, as well as ways to save money & conserve. I have also had some wonderful opportunities to try some amazing products recently (children's products, mommy products, household products, even books & educational resources), and I look forward to sharing them with y'all. I guess I can safely call it a "mommy blog." Who knows? I may even be able to throw in a giveaway here & there...😘

With my recent diagnosis, it's also safe to say that mental illness is a dominating force in my life, and has been for quite some time. So, after much consideration and careful thought, I've decided to build a completely new & separate blog to discuss mental illness & suicide. My wish is that it will not only benefit my own management & recovery, but be a resource for others as well. If sharing my story can benefit one person, then it will be worth it. And after the recent, shocking loss of Robin Williams, I think we can all agree that there's a desperate need for awareness and understanding regarding mental illness & suicide. So, if you suffer from a mental illness or have known or lived with a loved one who does, please follow my new blog, Rapid Cycle Mama. It might not be much, but I will be an advocate and do my part to #BustTheStigma. I hope that you will, too.

Way to stick in there, guys! Not only are y'all still here after my extended absence, but some of you even made it through this entire post! And for that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. 😘

So, what do you think? Will you be sticking around for "The Change?" Will you be joining me in raising awareness and helping to put an end to the stigma surrounding mental illness? Or are you a bit disappointed that there won't be as much nail polish/nail art postings? I welcome your honest thoughts! 💖
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