A lot of people have asked me how I was diagnosed and how I felt about it. Well the truth is I don’t remember it very well, I can remember I was not in a good place at all when it happened and I had no choice in going to the doctors.
Tom and me had been together about 6 years and Skie was 4 and Jack was about 2. We had already had lots of ups and downs, we had split shortly before each of the kids were born and both were a result of us getting back together (no they weren’t planned but we didn’t regret them either) so things changed a lot especially with Skie which I suppose was when the signs really started to appear but when she was born I was diagnosed with post natal depression, given anti depressants and sent on my way with a repeat perscription. We thought things would get back to normal, we knew P.N.D was common especially in young first time mums so I wasn’t overly bothered about it, I just wanted to get back to being me but just the opposite happened. I have never really lost my temper or screamed and shouted at people or been violent, in fact I am the opposite, confrontation terrifies me so i do everything to avoid it. If I think someone is likely to argue or shout at me I avoid them which is why I don’t go out but I started to get increasingly angry with Tom. I blamed him for everything that had happened; moving out of my parents, not having money, having to leave me job to stay with Skie and even trivial things like me loosing something or something breaking. I become hostile and hateful but only towards him so everything other people did that upset me I would take out on him, the drs say its because I feel safe enough round him to let him see it and behave like it but that is no excuse. I remember one incident just before he made me go to the doctors which I think tipped it for him. It was late and me and him hadn’t eaten so he decided to go to the kebab, I remember getting in a grump cos I didn’t really fancy it but it was all that was open. When he got back I didn’t talk much even though he was being polite, had offered to make me a cup of tea to have with my dinner etc and I just sat there unresponsive. He gave me my drink and food, I opened up the carton and flipped out. I had asked for no onions and there were onions on it, wasn’t Toms fault as he did tell them but they didn’t do it. I was screaming at him about how useless he was and how he couldn’t get anything right and when he didn’t react I lost it even more and threw my cup of tea at him. Yes I threw a cup of tea at him that was only made 10/15 minutes before, to which, he did start shouting at me calling me an idiot etc. It was during this rant he said something that hit me like a house falling on me ‘who are you, where’s the Anne I fell in love with gone?’ I stood there staring then just collapsed in a pile of kebab that had fallen on the floor when I kicked off and sobbed uncontrollably. Tom sat down next to me (still covered in Tea) and suggested I go to the doctors again and ask for new tablets as these had made me worse and I was becoming unbearable to live with. He told me that one day I would be fine, house was spotless, I was full of life and pleased to see him when he got home then out the blue the next day I would spend the day in my pj’s and stare at him like I hated him. He said it couldn’t go on and for the sake of him and the kids I needed to get help. We spent the night talking and I was listening to him explaining and describing what i was like to live with. At first I tried blaming him, that he didn’t help enough, spent too much and earnt to little but the bank statements showing what money had been spent on told a different story. I didn’t even remember spending most of it or some of the arguments he described but I do remember we argued but that was it, no details, no conversations afterwards, there is just this blank space where they should be. I agreed to see the doctor the next day.
I don’t remember the entire conversation with the doctor but I remember filling out another depression questionnaire and the doctor asking me to explain what I remember of good days and how long they would last. After I finished talking he told me he suspected I actually have bipolar disorder and he thought that the anti depressants had increased my rate of cycling so it was becoming more aparant to other people, but to be sure he wanted to send me for an evaluation with the mental health team and also stopped my anti depressants.
There was a big of a gap between the doctors and the evaluation due to waiting times but things did get better, my moods weren’t changing as often and wouldn’t last as long but they were still just as extreme. Tom would try and tell me when I was in a bad mood but I would just fly off at him so in the end we were barely speaking and if I was in a bad mood or depressed Tom would do everything I was ment to do, put the kids to bed then go out. Looking back I don’t blame him. I was so full of hatrid and anger. I was so angry that I was left like this for so long and nobody had noticed including me for so long. I saw a doctor regularly for other things, how did they not pick up on it? I was also scared. The only time I had ever heard of bipolar was on eastenders and that women was going through hell, was that going to happen to me? Would everyone think I was the local looney that everyone has a funny nickname for and laughs at? I hadn’t told anyone about what the doctors thought, I was scared of being an outcast and noone wanting to know me. This is when I first noticed the paranoia and little did I know it would get worse before it got better and yet again Tom got the brunt of it.
I went to my evaluation and the doctor agreed I did indeed have bipolar disorder and recommended some different treatment to help stabilise my moods and stop me getting so depressed when I do go down hill. She tried explaining that once I took the meds that I could live a normal life, I just had to be aware of triggers. If I knew something or someone is likely to trigger either depression or mania to stay away or remove myself from the situation (tad hard to run out of a crowded playground when waiting to pick ur kids up though). I felt such a mix of emotions, I relieved it wasn’t really me saying and doing all those things and hopeful as the doctor said things would get better but was petrified about the future. Would the meds stop working after a while? What if something really bad happens and it tips me over the edge? What if Tom splits with me or no one wants to know me? What about the kids, have I passed it on to them? I spoke it all through with Tom and he reassured me he wasn’t going anywhere and would stand by me whatever happened and that my family would stand by me no matter what and if friends didn’t then they weren’t really friends. I started taking the meds and things got better, we argued less, I felt more ‘human’ and I started to be more aware of my moods, I know if things are getting to me more than usual, I am about to go down so I warn Tom and if I’m unusally energetic or starting to have big ideas and plans I am becoming manic so Tom takes the bank cards away (and after a half painted bedroom in red and purple, now hides the decorating stuff too lol).
It has by no means gone away and it taken me a long time to be able to say confidently ‘I am bipolar and proud’ but I can and we deal with each day as it comes. I am not perfect and still go overboard in arguements, say mean things and on the odd occassion shoved or tried to hurt Tom but when that happens we both realise thats the time for a trip to the doctor and a med shake up and things ease up.
Living with me isn’t easy and I don’t know how anyone does it because I don’t know if I could but I suppose it just proves that what Tom said about people sticking by me was true, people have been very accepting of it and I don’t think I actually lost a single person out my life because of it and I know I have been lucky in that respect and none of them know just how truly grateful I am for them sticking around xxxxxxx