I was diagnosed with Bipolar Two earlier in the year. Despite my history with mental health issues, this came as quite a surprise. I was tired. So so so tired. I had every blood test going for thyroid, iron levels, kidney and liver function etc etc. They all came back clear. Seemingly there was nothing wrong with me. But I literally could not keep my eyes open. I would take the boys to school, come home and sleep until nursery pick up. Then I would make J his lunch and fall asleep with him on the sofa watching TV. Waking up only to pick up D, make the dinner and fall asleep as soon as the boys were back in bed. This went on for weeks; months even. My ever so supportive husband would comment about how lazy I was. He didn’t understand that I literally couldn’t help it and just making it through each day took every inch of effort.
I have been taking various different kinds, brands and strengths of anti-depressants for the last 13 years. Yes. It took THIRTEEN years for me to get the right diagnosis and the right medication. This is why I was so tired all the time. I was having a “low” and my anti-depressants weren’t enough to keep me functioning.
When I started researching Bipolar Two it made so much sense. I had had every single symptom over the years… yes I do hear voices and yes I have hallucinated. I have also not slept properly for days on end as I have felt “wired”. Or I have driven somewhere and not even remembered anything about getting there. I used to like the hypomania. It means that shit gets done. Of course back then before my diagnosis I mistook it for “being happy”. This mania coupled with alcohol or drugs was a lethal cocktail and it meant I would engage in risky behaviour. I would stay out all night; go back to strangers’ houses; buy drugs from people I barely knew; lie; cheat; steal.
It wasn’t always about sex. Sex is meaningless to me. In a sense that it’s just a physiological act between two (or more) people. I’ve never understood the whole “making love” thing. Sex for me was and is purely physical. I used it to make people want me. I wanted someone, anyone to want me and to love me. But each time it was never enough.
The Bipolar symptoms are hard to live with. But nobody tells you about the toll the medication takes on your body. I now take an antipsychotic drug alongside my anti-depressants. If I thought I was tired before it was nothing to how I felt in the first week or so of the new meds. Now after several months, I have bad skin and I’ve gained well over a stone in weight. I take the meds at night so I fall asleep quickly.
And for the first time in my life I am starting to feel “normal” in my head. The voices are few and far between. My mood is stable. I no longer have severe episodes of hypomania. The depression is still there and there are days that I feel like I cannot get out of bed. But these days I have to. I have two boys that depend on me and I can honestly say that having children literally saved my life.