How I Achieved My Lifelong Dream of Becoming Bipolar-Part V

Reflecting Siddhartha

My house was in foreclosure, and I lost it.  It’s hard to portray exactly how disbelieving and destroyed I was.  How could this dream-come-true, this house of mine that I loved so much, that I had invested so much time, love, energy and money into, no longer be mine?  I just didn’t have a frame of reference for this kind of loss.  I was devastated.

There was no help for me from my family.  They were disgusted with me.  In their mind I deserved this.  I quit a perfectly good job, lived in this house without working, and this is what I got.  I think they thought I needed to hit some kind of bottom.  This was the most painful part of all, was the total alienation from my family, the lack of compassion or understanding.  Hell, even I didn’t understand what I had done or what had happened.  I felt like I was a victim of my own choices and behavior that I couldn’t control.  Nobody believed me about the job market being so bad, even though it was a known fact,  and how hard I had tried to bet back to work when I did.

I had one friend who lived about 120 miles northeast of Denver, near the Nebraska border, who took me under her wing, and helped me move some of my things (many treasured possessions had to be left behind) up to Akron, Colorado, a conservative farm town of about 1500.  She put me up in a small house with my one remaining Great Dane (her husband tried to make me give her up, but she was all I had left) and I was a sad, devastated and lost soul.

Eventually I found my way to the local mental health center.  I was assigned a therapist and given an appointment to see the psychiatric nurse practitioner.  Apparently way out in the sticks, mental health centers can’t actually get a real psychiatrist to see their patients, so they have to settle for a psychiatric nurse practitioner.  This particular one was not a star in the field.  She was profoundly bitchy and hostile and going to see her was a trial.  On my first visit after much  discussion and answering her rapid-fire questions shot like the crack of a rifle at me (me refusing the urge to duck and run), she told me that no, I did not have Attention Deficit Disorder, I had Bipolar II.  **Tinggggg**  My life-changing diagnosis.  She followed this up with a prescription for Topamax, the world’s most expensive drug for someone without health insurance.

Somehow the wonder-drug was procured, and within a day or two I felt different!  For one thing, the desire to drink alcohol, after getting drunk every day, left me.  And, after smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, I went down to about five a day.  Topamax just stripped the edges off of my addictions!  It also tamed my impulsivity.  The shoplifting, and the urge to shoplift, stopped dead in its tracks.  My life was still a wreck, nothing could change that instantly.  It would take time and a lot of therapy to be ready to return to life, and stability was long in returning.  But eventually, all that I lost was returned, including a move back to the Denver area, a job, and a home.  The greatest value now is the premium I place on my stability.  I NEVER want to go back to that dark place again, where suicide is a day-to-day proposition that must be fought against.  My family knows more now about Bipolar, and especially that tough-love is the WORST way to treat a Bipolar.  I still fight the whole work-thing, and wish to be home living my creative life.  That is my desire and goal.  Maybe someday I will achieve it.  But somehow I am eking out a life, and it’s mine.  My Bipolar life.

11 thoughts on “How I Achieved My Lifelong Dream of Becoming Bipolar-Part V

  1. You don’t have to be in the sticks to be unable to get more than a psych NP. I live in a city of 150K people in a metro area of 670K residents, and the only MD’s I’ve seen in the last 6 years since I moved here are OB/GYNs. Somehow it seems that they are the only ones for regular ongoing care that can’t be “replaced” with a Nurse Practitioner.

    Other than that, NPs are all that’s available unless you want to pay out of pocket for private practices that do not accept insurance of any kind. So that’s what I have for primary care and meds management.

  2. You are so lucky to have had something work so quickly. Though, side effects or not, all the mood stabilizers I’ve tried take the edge of the craziness to different degrees.

    I love your story! Probably because I relate so strongly, and I also lost my house due to foreclosure because of my addiction and mental health issues. It’s nice to have other voices out there that can relate to the difficulty being bipolar can bring, as well as the joy. Cheer Ms.Fire. Cheers to you.

  3. What an inspiring story! I was just in the hospital for 4 days and came out to an awesome read! I’m lucky that I have such a good support system from A to Z, but my meds definitely need changing. It took the depression away but I get too close to manic at times. We’ll see! Thanks for a great read!

    • Thank you so much. I’m glad that all of this pain and experience is helping me to regurgitate some sort of story that people can relate to – I always dreamed of being a writer. Jesus H. Christomatic I’ve got some material now 😛

      Sorry to hear about your hospitalization..so not fun but sometimes very very necessary. Remember to keep breathing 🙂

  4. I know about the family thing. Try being bisexual AND bipolar … AND having a very religious southern baptist family. Yeah, I can not be and will never be myself around my family because if I were to be me, I would then be an alone me for the rest of my life.

  5. Did you have any problems with hair loss on Topomax? I took it a few years ago and it worked very well, but I lost so much hair that I switched to something else. Yes, vanity prevailed although I did have a few other side effects so it was worth the switch. Are you still having luck with it?

    • I do have hair loss although I didn’t attribute it to Topamax. i have never switched because I never found anything else that really dealt with my impulse control issues. That’s my biggest problem.

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