I had, for many years, thought there was something very wrong. If you know what I mean you understand how one can feel “crazy,” and that no matter what they do they can’t seem to fix the issue.
I have memories of days or periods of time when I would feel amazing and be able to drink anything, do anything, and be anything. I would charge things to credit cards because it felt good to do things I couldn’t afford. I acted uncharacteristically wild, and although I do reflect on those times with a strange sort of fondness, I know they were horribly wrong.
Then there were the times when I would just lose the will and ability to push forward. I would become mentally and sometimes physically down to the point where I couldn’t finish my semesters in college. Fatigue and crushing sadness caused me to miss out on a lot of opportunities, and pushed my life goals farther and farther from reach. People might say you just didn’t try or study hard enough, or I am lazy. Let me correct you on this. I have had a 106.5 final grade in Anatomy, and I even held and instructed study sessions in my home. I have over a 3.0 GPA on my associates degree from my community college and most of my grades are all A’s and B’s if you were to look at my transcripts. I even worked 30+ hours at 2 jobs while taking 6 classes this past spring of 2013 ( in which I received all A’s and B’s).
Recently, this past fall, I had another episode of depression where I could barely get out of bed. It was right at the beginning of my second semester at yet another university. If you have not experienced it, I cannot explain to you how I just can’t do what I want and/or need to do. I get a strange sort of anxiety when it comes to doing schoolwork, so it is almost impossible for me to study, write papers, or get any homework done. It is inexplicably frustrating and the oncoming failure just piles guilt and embarrassment right on top of everything else. Luckily, I have a tremendously wonderful support group of doctors, friends, and family, who helped me to understand and recognize my symptoms.
I had been previously diagnosed with ADD. so I was on generic Adderall. Needless to say, the medication most likely only aggravated some of my symptoms. I ended up with tachycardia (fast heart beat) and palpitations due to the stress and anxiety, and was put on a beta blocker. I couldn’t remember things, I was extremely forgetful to the point where I overflowed the bathtub for 20 minutes while I was in the next room. (I was a mess!) I finally broke down and went to the doctor and was like “something is extremely wrong.” I wrote a summary of all of the things I felt were off that I had done/gone through in my life in a document and gave it to him. He read everything and suggested that he thought I might be bipolar. Now you might find this weird, but I was so relieved to finally get an answer/explanation to everything that had been going on. It is awful to feel like you cannot function properly, but have others telling you there is no reason why you can’t. It is very difficult for people who have not experienced mental illness personally to really grasp the concept of the symptoms and their repercussions. With knowledge comes understanding, and this is my goal in life. To learn more about myself, my symptoms, my illness, and the path to a better life. I don’t care if I am not specifically bipolar or not. I know I have anxiety, depression, and manic issues.
Never be afraid to admit you are weak and suffering. Say something. If one person dismisses you find another who will listen with an open mind. You are not crazy, you just have mental obstacles to overcome. You are not weak, your strength just lies somewhere else.
Remember most people struggle silently. Try to be courteous and nice to everyone you meet. A smile or wave just might brighten someone’s day, or even save a life. I am here for you. I usually don’t let people know when I am down, or anxious, until it is too late. People with mental illnesses are not going to run around saying ‘I’m DEPRESSED!!” to everyone. Really? No… They are more likely going to try to hide it.
We are normal people trying to live normal lives.
Live strong. Live beautifully.