I recently told my husband that I’d never have to worry about him having side chicks because all his side chicks are my other personalities.
We both laughed at that and I was completely joking about the side chick thing – that’s not who he is. But I have been full of different personalities lately, and I realized I had gone too long without doing anything about it.
Before I go any further, I’d like to place a possibly unnecessary trigger warning for my fellow friends and readers suffering from mental illnesses. But at the same time, I hope that the only way this triggers you is by making you realize that there’s no shame in seeking help. And as always, this is a judgement-free zone. Assholes can leave right now.
I have been getting progressively worse in the mental health department. My mania was really high and then I’d plunge into the low of depression and my blood would boil with anger in what seemed like a split second, and it had been slowly getting more and more extreme since around November of last year. I started screaming more, throwing more things, slamming my fists or items on surfaces more often, and worst of all, I started doing it in front of the girls. Rick and I had been arguing almost every day, I was constantly hurting his feelings, and it unfortunately got to the point where I pulled the emergency brakes on myself and realized I was completely out of control.
Three days after having the worst, most intense meltdown I have ever had in my life, I went in and saw my primary care doctor. I told him what medication I had been taking and how long it had been since I had actually talked to a psychiatrist (mine moved away about two years ago), and I felt embarrassed. Not because I was asking for help, but because I let it get to this point. My doctor was a little confused as to why I had been placed on medication that didn’t actually treat my bipolar disorder. Yes. You read that correctly. The same doctor who diagnosed me as bipolar type I didn’t put me on something that would treat the whole thing, only the depressive state, and it never got changed to something that would actually help me. Looking back to the last few years, I absolutely see that I had been constantly manic and impulsive even during depressive episodes (that is exhausting), and I found myself relieved to know that it wasn’t anything I had done wrong. Just, you know, someone who was supposed to know what would help me get better. As I told my doctor everything about how I had been feeling and losing my temper, he consistently reassured me that “this is treatable” and commended me on being so aware of my mental state. He completely changed my medication, putting me on something that is actually used to treat bipolar twice a day, and I see him again this coming Friday.
The first two days of taking the new pill regimen, it was impossible for me to get angry. Impossible. Now, two and a half weeks into it, I see that it only fixes 1/3 of my issues: the depression (issue 1) and anger (issue 2) still linger but the mania (issue 3) is gone. It feels weird. I had been so used to the mania aspect of it that I now feel like my personality is slowly being drained from me. I’m also constantly hungry and tired. And yes, before you ask me “so, Camila, you’re gonna talk to your doc about this, right?” – yes. I totally am. I am also asking him to refer me to a new, competent psychiatrist.
The good thing about all of this is that I feel in control, as contradicting as it may seem. Here I am, losing my shit every time the girls won’t sleep or stop crying, and yet I say I’m on top of this. But I am. As I sat on the floor of my living room, raging at my husband and poor babies who will thankfully never remember it, I saw myself as in an out-of-body experience. I didn’t feel like it was me doing it. Half of me was condemning what was being said and done, serious, shocked, frozen in disbelief, while the other half had no filter or care in the world. The half of me that was aware and thinking straight grabbed the other half of me by the shoulder and shook it. It said this was enough. It said I would be doing something about this the next day. And so I did – I made the call to my doctor and saw him two days later. I am helping myself help myself. I am making sure I am doing what I can to fix what I naturally can’t – this goddamn chemical imbalance.
I am truly hoping to not go through tons of different medication for a while just to get to one or two that work alone or together. I want to find relief so badly that I sometimes think I’m imagining that 1/3 of my issues is being taken care of. I just want to be normal. But, in today’s obnoxious and toxic world, what the fuck is normal?
At least I throw some interesting curveballs.
I can’t wait until Friday.
*** If there’s anyone reading this who needs help, I can’t reiterate enough how important it is to make the call, or take the drive to your doctor. You’re important. You matter. There’s no shame in seeking help.***