On Thursday I went to meet with my psychiatrist for the first time in 2 weeks; the first time since going on Prozac. The Prozac probably hadn’t kicked in yet, but I was feeling GREAT from what I was learning and implementing and achieving so far. I excitedly rambled off how incredible I was feeling to the psych and her nurse and two students, listing off how I’ve cut out alcohol and coffee and dairy and picked up the ukulele and kept my house clean and was nicer and happier and slept better and my skin looks better and this and that and more and SO HAPPY!!!!!!! I couldn’t wait for them to say “Wow, that’s all magical and wonderful, why don’t you leave the program early and go on your way, you’re fixed!”
But they didn’t. Instead, the psychiatrist told me I was extremely worked up…..her team stared at me with wide eyes and nodded when I looked to them to deny it. I told her this is how I always am when I’m not depressed. If she knew me before it would all make sense! The tears were coming. I absolutely hate feeling judged for my personality. I was trying to convince her of how totally normal I was, but then she said it.
I’M SORRY WHAT??????????????????????????????????????????!
I sobbed, she told me about the new drug I’d be on, the super rare but life-threatening rash that may come with it that also convinces you to ignore it and let it fester (it’s seriously some x-files shit), blah blah blah I’m just crying and like wtf how did I get here. Luckily I got to go directly to group to process it. I texted Brian during the break and he said “Is there a cure for that?” LOL ummm nope….sorryyyyyyyy You’ve made it this far, we can only go up from here!
On my way home, after talking about it in group, I realized how excited I should be. Whether or not it had the name “bipolar II,” it had been happening to me (and those closest to me) for at least 3 years. NOW the only difference was that they could prescribe the correct med. That’s it! That’s all that changed! It was pretty interesting to dissect my own stigma like that. I spend all this time talking about how normal depression and anxiety are, yet a proper diagnosis still sets off alarm bells in my head. Like I’m afraid of myself. So I own up to that. This diagnosis definitely gave me some work to do. And actually, I had been researching bipolar II this fall, because I had a hunch. I wish I had been more adamant about that now.
Friday was a little bit harder. I started to feel really bad about my past behavior and I started over-analyzing every time I’ve been loud or rambunctious or too energetic (hint: it’s basically ALL THE TIME when I’m not depressed) and if I was being judged. Again, it’s my stigma. I felt bad for Brian for putting up with my mood swings. I felt very grateful for Brian, too.
I got resentful of my mother, for being so quick to diagnosis me with ADD but struggled to come to terms with the depression and anxiety until it was too late. Then I was sad, because of how many fights could have been prevented between her and I if I had been properly diagnosed earlier. I go against her advice, and I throw myself a pity party. A huge, elaborate pity party all of Saturday. Oh, did you not get your invitation? Yeah, no one was invited, it was just me and my bed. And sometimes Bertie, coming to snuggle or whine at me for pity-partying all day. Brian did get me out of bed eventually for pizza.
I’m so glad this all happened while I’m in my IOP. Having them to process with is priceless. I’m learning so much about the science of happiness and our brains, and challenging negative thoughts like those above. What I have learned in just these 2.5 weeks helped me overcome this weekend and all of those monster thoughts trying to get in. I know the what-ifs and should-haves and could-haves don’t matter and are a waste of my precious energy. I was really good at spending my energy on shit that doesn’t matter before. Not anymore!
This past weekend I shot our 30th wedding. Our 30th wedding in 18 months…..and for those 18 months, I was unmedicated with bipolar II. I cannot WAIT for these meds to kick in. Stay tuned, it’s going to be fun!
Now go take your meds!