I was very excited when my friend Martin Baker, co-author of Gum On My Shoe, asked me to write a piece for Gum’s blog site. His knowledge and constant encouragement have both been invaluable to me as I’m writing my autobiography.
I’m a 44yr old mother of three, and grandmother of one. Writing has always come naturally to me, and I’ve had the idea of my book in my “head” for years before actually starting it. I’ve been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder for seventeen years, and spent fourteen of those years educating myself about the illness.
At the time I was diagnosed, the illness wasn’t as widespread and as easily diagnosed as it is these days. Patients that were diagnosed didn’t really talk about it. I’m quite positive that the term “crazy” wasn’t as accepted as it is now. I consider it a pet name, and am not offended by it at all. We didn’t have websites, facebook pages, etc to read about it in private. What we knew was what our doctors told us, normally in the form of 15 minute visits.
Having this illness has definitely changed my life drastically, as it does with everybody. I have had the same running psychiatrist for seventeen years, and for that I am grateful. I knew I needed help, and I got it. I have a long history of simply “taking meds”, hoping I would be cured. Medication is extremely necessary, but not alone. Medication, consistent medical care, and education about the illness and learning the tools for which to help yourself during whatever “episode” you are going through, is the key. Even with using these steps, Bipolar isn’t going away, but can be managed. You CAN live a functionable, normal life.
Beautiful Disaster begins with describing myself and my life, in my early teen years. Before I was even diagnosed. My life began with a more depressive side, rather than a manic side. One of the most informative ways a physician can diagnose bipolar, is through life-patterns. The book goes through different stages of my life, ie marrying five times, having three children, and the good and bad in between. As you near the end of the book, you will see the pattern of a bipolar life. Thankfully, the latter part of my life, is spent taking care of myself, writing my autobiography, and helping others through the Facebook community page, and website.
My passion is this book, because not only am I helping myself (greatest therapy of all!), I’m helping others, and most importantly, I’m able to show my children, family and friends how the illness affected my life and decisions I’ve made and why. In my mind, it’s leaving an explanation, if you will. The greatest feeling for me is helping others, and if I was born with this illness, for the reason of helping others through it, then I accept God’s plan for me. Something good can come out of something not-so-good.
Where am I now? I still see the same psychiatrist who diagnosed me seventeen years ago. Through him I have been on just about every med there is. Knowing now that I never needed antipsychotics, and antidepressants never did anything for me. I’d like to say to patients just starting out on medication, when a physician prescribes more than one new drug at a time, it’s very hard to tell which medicine is doing what. Ask your physician if he’s comfortable with introducing one at a time. After that you will more clearly be able to tell what interactions, symptoms or effects whether good or bad they have on you. After all the meds I’ve been on, I’m happy to say I’m only currently taking an anti-seizure/mood stabilizer Lamictal, 100 mg twice a day, and Ativan 2 mg four times a day.
This diagnosis is serious, as it changes every spectrum of your life. However, it does NOT have to be a life sentence. My opinion of the best you can do?
- Keep psychiatric care, whether clinical or private
- Never stop trying with meds
You can contact Kim at the following links:
- email: email@example.com