My Bipolar Life

Posted: November 21, 2015 in Life
Tags: , , , ,

I believe it all began when i was about thirteen. My parents were too busy caught up in their own mental illnesses to realize there was even a problem. Actually, maybe it started when I was even younger, because in elementary school, I excelled academically but never made the honor roll because of negative marks on the behavior portion of my report card. “N”-needs improvement or “U”-unsatisfactory in “shows self-control” with comments from teachers like “extremely talkative but very bright.” Yes, that’s where it probably began. Today I would’ve been sent to the child study team for evaluation and probably get a recommendation that I get put on Ritalin or Adderall for ADHD. This was the beginning, I suppose, of this rough road that I’ve been stumbling along for over 40 years.
I can’t exactly blame my parents for how my life is unfolding today. I can blame genetics and heredity. Mom is bipolar and Dad was major depression and alcoholism. Like I had a shot in hell to avoid mental illness. Mom and Dad’s illnesses fed off of one another for years, even after they divorced. Lucky me, being the oldest, I pretty much witnessed the dysfunction from its
inception. Granted, my father died from prostate cancer but I blame it on the depression and alcoholism first and foremost. He just didn’t give a shit about anything anymore and didn’t get treatment for his prostate cancer which IS treatable in the early stages. It’s so much easier to tell people he died from cancer rather than depression and alcoholism. He was quite a tortured soul. I know he’s at peace now-free from the physical pain of cancer, and most importantly, free from the emotional pain.
This bipolar thing I’ve been dealing with for the past six years, it’s not pretty. I was finally properly diagnosed in 2009. In retrospect, every fucked up thing that’s ever happened in my life, well, all “text book” bipolar disorder. I’ve pretty much lost every nursing job I’ve ever had for “misconduct” not related to my clinical skills, but for my behavior. Mostly my mouth when I’m on a “high”, there is no filter. Or when confronted or criticized, I go from 0-60 in a nano second, my emotions take over. What my brain thinks logically doesn’t come out of my mouth correctly. Not a clear thought, only fragments of jumbled words. I’ve never reacted violently towards anyone. I’m an imploder not an exploder. I cry when I’m sad, angry, or happy. I can’t have a successful relationship, the longest being a whole whopping five and a half years. A record for me. I blame my poor choices in partners for the relationship failure as well. I don’t see the potential red flags because I’m too manic and euphoric in the beginning of every relationship. I can also be very moody. not everyone is equipped to handle me and my disorder and because of my poor choices, my significant others had disorders of their own, too. Toxicity at it’s finest.
So, here I am, almost fifty years old. No house of my own, three months behind on my rent, a car that is dying a slow death, no power steering and the head gasket’s blown, looking for a nursing job, full time with health benefits so I can afford my medications and psychiatric visits, being turned down halfway through the hiring process four times because of a really dumb thing in 2006 when I was neither diagnosed with bipolar disorder nor properly treated with medications. I got a disciplinary action on my nursing license for “professional misconduct”. I took a picture of a resident on my cell phone and texted it to another employee who thought that the lady was “cute”. I’m in debt up to my eyeballs. I sometimes wonder why I haven’t given up yet. I have involuntary facial movements from my medication so now I’m taking another medication for that and it’s making me feel like shit. I’m going through menopause on top of everything else. I make art that collects dust. I write books of poetry no one buys or even reads. I’m never taken seriously. This disorder has totally dehumanized me. I’m stigmatized and my cries for help go unnoticed. Left to fend for myself. I don’t want to throw in the towel, so to speak, and collect disability. I’m not disabled, I’m misunderstood. Bipolar disorder does not define me. I don’t want to be a pariah because of this stupid diagnosis. I’ve been in denial since my proper diagnosis in 2009. So are my friends and family. It seems like it was easier to “come out” as a lesbian than to “come out” as bipolar. I hate to admit I can’t do this on my own. I hate that I always feel like a victim. I hate that I become immobilized and incapacitated at times. It IS a disease like any other disease, insidious as it may be. But it’s my reality and at times, my curse. Somehow, someway I’m going to gather up the strength I need to see my way out of this darkness and become human again.

  1. sharing2009 says:

    Reading your post makes me feel like I wrote it. Your strength in your real words really moved me. And you are right this does not define who we are. May your father rest in peace.

    • bettyroxx says:

      thank you, my idea was to reach out to others dealing with the same thing and giving them hope and insight. No one recognizes mental illness as being real. I wanted to bring some “realness” to people so they understand that it’s not “all in our heads”

      • sharing2009 says:

        I couldnt agree with you more. My son is bipolar as well and there isn’t enough awareness out there on these mental illnesses.. I hope we can change that! Thank you for the great read!

  2. My heart goes out to you…..I wanted to let you know, when you worked at genesis, you made my mom smile, laugh, and were there physically and emotionally for us both….you made beautiful art for my mom…which brightened up her days, and she loved it as if her own daughter made it for her….you told us great stories and we were excited to hear about your trip to be in a movie, things myself and my mom could’ve only dreamed of……I can’t thank you enough for the joy you brought to room 508…… Sadly, mom passed after being at my home for 11 days, in my arms. They sent her home in Mid March, she passed away from heart failure on March 30th….Just know if anything, you did touch the hearts of your patients and me, being the only family that bothered to be there for my mom….keeping you in my prayers, AND THANK YOU!

    • bettyroxx says:

      your comment is the reason I am a nurse. it is important to heal the soul as well as healing the body. or at least to make someone’s life a little brighter when they are sick and in pain. i’m sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. If I made her happy and smile during her illness, that is my reward. thank you for the kind and encouraging words. it means more to me than anything else.

  3. Hi Betty, My name is Laura. I have bipolar also. I blog about my life, as well…I am glad I found your blog….if you’re ever feeling alone….know that you aren’t. I’m in this too…IM proud of you for your candidness, we have to be frank about it, to convey the message mental illness is not equal to murder and mayhem, its giving up on it that sometimes results in that bad stuff…but I’m proud of you! Have a blessed day.


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