Learning To Accept My Bipolar Disorder And Addiction

I am one in five million.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 5.7 million American adults have bipolar disorder. That’s about 2.6 percent of the population. Odds are, two out of every 100 people you meet will have this disorder. Bipolar disorder is a mental condition characterized by alternating cycles of mania and depression.

When I first found out that I had bipolar disorder, I didn’t want to believe it. I was 21 years old, living on my own for the first time as a college student at Arizona State University. It was my first time away from home and I thought this was just sod2r.bipolarblog.crazyhead.3-31-16mething that every kid goes through. So what if I was staying up all night, wearing weird clothes, not doing homework. Wasn’t I just having the college experience?

What started as not doing any homework turned into flunking classes; what started as staying up all night, turned into staying up all week; what started as dressing a little weird, turned into posting over 50 times in a single day on Facebook. One post in particular involved me eating a fetus, the next tried to cover racism in America. I was all over the place.

People began to worry. I started getting messages and calls from people I cared about asking if I was okay. Due to their concern, I decided to seek out a psychiatrist to address my issues and take medication. The first medication cocktail my psychiatrist suggested was Depakote and Abilify.

My New Friends: Abilify and Depakote

I remember going home to my uncle’s house, where I was staying for the summer, and listening to him read me the various side effects of the pills. Depakote’s side effects were: nausea, vomiting, extreme drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, rash, tremor, headache, d2r.bipolarblog.pillfriends.3-31-16fever, and hair loss among other things. Abilify’s side effects were pretty much the same.

Naturally I was a bit paranoid about taking these medications. However, spurred by the love and support of my family who was worried about me, I obliged. An hour after taking them, I woke up on my uncle’s bathroom floor. I had passed out while attempting to use the restroom. This was marked the beginning of a long and painful journey with bipolar medication.

During the summer, I was a zombie. The pills made me drowsy and seemingly slowed my brain. I went from thinking a mile a minute, to feeling like my thoughts were coming out like molasses. I felt dumb. I felt boring. I felt like I wasn’t myself.

After taking my medication for three months straight, I quit near the beginning of the next school year. The original plan was to have me take a year off, but I shamed myself into going back in the fall.

It was a mistake.

Resisting Medication and Embracing the Mania

I stopped taking my meds and spent $4,000 dollars of my $5,000 loan for school in less than a month. I was manic. And I was having fun. I was feeling the full spectrum of my emotions. My thoughts were faster than a bullet train. And I was what I considered myself again. However, that didn’t last ld2r.bipolarblog.manic.3-31-16ong.

I was running out of money, burning bridges and flunking my classes again. I was back where I
started. I want to say that it was during that semester that I decided to get back on medication for good, but that’s not my story. It took me four additional years to finish college. I took a couple semesters off, failed some and barely passed others. Throughout my college experience, until the very end at least, I was on and off my medications. There were periods where I was stable and I didn’t feel like a zombie, but I craved the manic highs, so I would get off the medication.

Awash in Acceptance

There wasn’t a real big epiphany that led me to get back on my medications for good. I simply realized that I wanted to graduate and decided to get my act together as best I could. I was sick of the monotony of impulse. Living in the moment was becoming boring for me. So I took my meds more regularly. I wasn’t experiencing the soaring highs, but I was being productive. And that felt good.

It’s been a real challenge to come around to the idea that I need my medication. There were times where I fought it and it only led to disaster. One thing that has helped me is changing how I view my disorder. I began viewing it as a gift.

d2r.bipolarblog.acceptance.3-31-16Bipolar disorder is a unique disposition that allows people to feel on multiple levels and layers. Under the right medication regiment, which I have found, you can still experience the textures of emotions and thoughts without falling into the depths of depression or the self-aggrandizing highs of mania.

In my experience, I’ve seen people suffer through bipolar disorder and try to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. According to the American Journal of Managed Care, approximately 56 percent of people with bipolar disorder went through drug or alcohol addiction in their lifetime. Mental health issues and drug abuse go hand-in-hand. In my experience, I’ve attempted to use alcohol to self-medicate. During the semester where I spent almost $4,000 in a month, I probably spent a quarter of that on alcohol.

That being said, alcohol only amplifies the pre-existing problems, offering a sheen of tranquility for the moment, while sending you down a road of pain. Everybody has their own process of healing. For me, I realized that I needed medication and to realize that bipolar disorder wasn’t something to run away from, but to embrace. It is a gift and I’m learning to receive it.

I am one in five million. And now, I am proud.

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I have GAD, depression, and some other things so it was really interesting for me to kind of peer into your mind a little bit and see how we think similarly. I’m so glad that you’re in a better place now and feel comfortable where you are. Medicine isn’t for everyone and sometimes there is stigma associated with it so its great that you were able to recognized it was something you needed.

  2. This is a new disease which I don’t think I have come across. The necessary precaution must be taken so as not to be a victim.

  3. Drug addicts is a means of spending unnecessarily in life time. This is an educative experience. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. Drug addicts is means of spending unnecessarily in life time. You will want to spend to be high. This is an educative information. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. Definitely, it isn’t something to run away from when once you know you are bipolar the best bet is to seek help it better that way.

  6. Thank you Detax to rehab for sharing these type of stories with all of us.These stories are really very much inspirational for many people.

  7. Two out of every 100 people you meet will have this disorder. Bipolar disorder is a mental condition characterized by alternating cycles of mania and depression. If not well managed, you will spend unnecessarily with this bipolar. Thanks for sharing this.

  8. This is the first time I heard that someone has addiction and Bipolar combined. that being said his situation is no joke. I hope he gets all the help he deserves.

  9. These are ailments that destroy lives. Once we noticed any strange thing as touching our health, it better to contact the practitioners for attention.

  10. This isn’t a good experience but it will help others to watch their actions and inactions. Thanks for this piece of information.

  11. The story is really touching. We go through many phases in our lives. We pass through a lot. May God see us through

  12. This is an informative post. It is educative. It helps one to be active and it is good for health. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Bipolar disorder can be frustrating and resource wasting too. It’s only the person who God helps that can survive eventually.

  14. Bipolar disorder is a serious problem which can be tiring and frustrating, especially when one has no financial support. Detox, you’re appreciated for sharing this.

  15. The first way to acknowledged that you have a problem is by accepting you have the problem in the first place. Doing this will help you walk through the problem in a better way same is applicable to bipolar disorder and addictions.

  16. Many people in the world go through bipolar disorder at one point in their life. The effects can be detrimental to health if not handled properly to guarantee recovery.

  17. These are two great ailment. Learning you have both can make you do something worse but it can be controlled thanks for the heads up.

  18. Thank you for sharing your story, it was quite emotional now I know what bipolar disorder is the symptoms and side effects. Detox to rehab thank you for sharing this informative and educative post.

  19. Having this both disorder isn’t good health wise but with the help of Detox it can be overcame. Thanks for sharing this.

  20. Bipolar disorder is very serious disorder, and I fell for those living with it. I do hope they have the strength to balance this ailment with their everyday life.

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