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Things have been rough

Things have been changing so much. Everyday is so tiring. I've been making so much progress with my diagnosis journey yet everytime I have a small set back I doubt everything. Like what if I never have a positive test result you know. I just want this to end especially since others things in my life keep going sour.

Does anyone have any advice on how to manage my diagnosed depression during this journey for a diagnosis.
#MentalHealth #Depression #Diagnosis #physicalhealth

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Went in for a crisis, walked out with a diagnosis...finally

October 29, 2023

My mental health has always been an issue for me, even as a young girl. But, in my home, if we didn't speak of such things, they didn't exist.

Nothing could have been further from the truth.

I am now almost 41 years old. This past October, I suffered one of the worst mental health crises that has ever happened to me. I ended up in the local ICU for two days, and from there I was transferred to a behavioral health unit about 45 minutes away.

I was terrified; actually, that's an understatement. When I came to in the ER, I was angry to still be alive. I was disgusted that I had failed, yet again, at something in my life. That sick and warped feeling of not wanting to speak to anyone for fear of being physically restrained was ever so present. It took me 3-4 days to mentally come to terms with what had happened, and feel some semblance of remorse for my failed attempt to no longer be present; for my family, my children, and my fiancé.

My fiancé. He saved my life that evening. He was terrified when I opened my eyes and saw his face first. I was angry at him for being my savior, yet again. My mental health had declined so rapidly in two years' time that our relationship was very much strained. For months we both went back and forth on whether it was healthy to remain together, and little did I know, he was scared enough that night that he went home from the hospital to pack his bags and leave.

Don't judge him too harshly. He has his own issues he admittedly needs to work on, and he has been. To leave me in my darkest hour would not have been a healthy thing for me, nor would it have allowed me the space to want to get better.

I met with so many doctors, nurses, and staff between both hospitals. Somehow I was able to remember those that impacted me for the better. The ones who gently validated my anger, sadness, and despair will forever hold a place in my heart. They are precious humans to me now, and without experiencing what I did, I would have most likely never crossed paths with them. I have tried to find the silver lining in all of this trauma, and I feel I have come such a long way in a matter of weeks through therapy, honesty with my own self and emotions, and of course medications.

Because I had tried so many antidepressants throughout my adult life, I had started to feel like a lost cause one year prior to this event. Little did I know, an antidepressant would not be enough, as I was suffering from undiagnosed, and therefore untreated, Bipolar 1 Disorder.

Hearing those words come out of the hospital psychiatrist's mouth was comforting to me, odd as it may sound. I finally had a direction to move in, and, for the first time in years, I had hope.

I was started on an antipsychotic immediately upon my arrival to the behavioral health unit. It scared me slightly to hear the words "anti-psychotic" hit my ear drums, but, I put a lot of faith in the doctor and I happily and willingly rolled with it. My current dose of antidepressant was upped, my meds for my severe anxiety were tripled, and I was started immediately on gentle meds to help with my severe insomnia.

My entire life, sleep has evaded me. I have gone from dead asleep, to wide awake, after just 2 hours, and then never fell back asleep. Because of the lack of restful REM, my anxiety hit an all time high and led up to the events of October 29. Now I am proud to admit that most nights I am hitting at least 7-9 hours of sleep. It's been life changing for me. My anxiety is still present, but more of a background noise versus all encompassing intrusive nonstop thoughts. I feel, almost, normal.

Know that there is hope to be had, hope to be shared with those who love you, and most of all, hope for yourself. Don't stop seeking answers. My biggest piece of advice, that I wish I had taken myself, is to find a psychiatrist who can delve deeper into the things you may or may not be dealing with. People love you, need you, and you ARE important to this world.

#Bipolar #MentalHealth #Diagnosis

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The Long Road to Diagnosis

How many here wrestled for years, maybe decades, before getting a diagnosis that helped?

I was 22 when I got married to the most wonderful person I'll ever know. I'm 49 now, and we separated 6 months ago. For the vast majority of that time, to friends, family, and my dear partner and child, I was simply "the grumpy one." I would get annoyed at the slightest things, and let the huge problems of the world overwhelm me and influence my behaviour for days, weeks, months. When I would ask my doctor, whom I'd been seeing since I was 11, he'd tell me that I "just need to relax."


About a decade ago, I went on an antidepressant because we thought maybe that was the problem. And, as with many meds, it helped for a little while, or it mitigated enough of the symptoms that I thought maybe I'd found a fix.

A few years later, as things were getting worse and I was being very verbally abusive to my spouse and child, I had it suggested to me that I should look into ADHD. Which I did, and was medicated for without any kind of diagnosis. I was over-medicated and I ended up in the hospital, beaten and restrained by security and police.

I was diagnosed with BPD, the first diagnosis in my life that has made any sense of the chaos, 5 months ago, after my separation and a suicide attempt, well after I'd done what looks like irreparable damage to the vast majority of the important relationships in my life.

I am nearly 50 now and finally have a set of tools that put the disparate parts of my life in some kind of order. I despair that I didn't have them decades ago, that I wasn't handed this little cheat sheet so that I could avoid the damage I've caused both to others and myself. I despair that the time left to me is not going to be enough to fix what I've damaged or to build something new.

I took me so long to get here, so long to figure out how to be a human being in my own inimitable fashion. I just want to be able to share the real me, the one not overwhelmed by the monster, with the people I love, without them fearing me.

#BorderlinePersonalityDisorder #BPD #Diagnosis

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The Double-Edged Sword of Diagnosis

It's tough, right? You don't want to be told that there's something going wrong in your brain or your body, but when you find out, things just kind of click into place.

A diagnosis can be crushing. When I discovered BPD, and then was diagnosed, there was something of the feeling of a death sentence. The prognosis, from the look of extant writing, is not great. The treatment is ridiculously expensive. We are destined to be alone with the weight of feelings we can't even begin to describe. I'm a trained writer and I still can't.

But diagnosis can also be liberating, enlightening. When I first saw the list of symptoms, the diagnostic criteria for BPD, it was like a biography. Well, except for the lying and manipulation stuff. That's not me. But literally everything else. And in that moment, I was able to slot all the behaviours into the right places, understand why I reacted to things the way I did, understand what the clawing, hungry maw in my chest was.

Diagnosis outlines the difficulties we're going to have to deal with. That's why we don't like getting diagnosed: we worry about the additional energy we're going to have to find simply for the stuff of everyday life. We worry that we'll lose ability, that we'll lose friends, that we'll lose, as I did, work and home. In some difficult cases, I have to imagine that people avoid going and getting diagnoses precisely because they're not sure how much more they can manage.

But that, too, is why diagnosis is a liberating experience. It explains, on a surface level, yourself to yourself. It gives us perspective and tools to manage the energy requirements of day to day life. It helps us know ourselves, physically and mentally. It helps us navigate difficulty with grace and, if we're fortunate, a minimum of damage to our lives and loved ones.

I was crushed when I got my diagnosis for BPD. It meant that it was real and that I would have to work that much harder for the rest of my life just to get to a place that is a less difficult journey for many other people. But it also meant that I knew why I'd been acting the way I had for so long, why I felt the way that I felt. I began to recognize the challenges before they became abuse and vitriol. I started to understand how to navigate my condition in a culturally-appropriate way, and I started to find places in my life that either benefited, or benefited from, the way my brain is wired. Being lead singer for a band is one of the few places I don't feel I have to mask my condition.

Sorry, long post. Writer and all that. Diagnosis is not the end. It's not a beginning, either. I'm not going to claim that. It is the introduction of a new perspective, a very broad one that requires refinement and nuance before it becomes a useful life tool. But without it, our lives can be a nightmare of guesswork and frustration.

I wish I'd talked to someone about it sooner. An earlier diagnosis would have saved me an immense amount of pain.

#BorderlinePersonalityDisorder #BPD #Diagnosis

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