I see many blogs and websites that talk about “Recovery” when it comes to Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, or Schizophrenia. I would really like to know how they have accomplished this. Did they really recover or do they just think they did? I’m not certain. I can only go by my own experiences.
I always knew I was different. When you are born a twin you always have someone to compare yourself to. I spent most of my time watching her as if I was on the other side of window. I never participated in group activities, I hated sleep overs and birthday parties, I could only go if my twin was going too. She hated me clinging to her so much but I felt like she was my life jacket.
I remember all of the little things from when we were little. She doesn’t. Memories would and still do pop in to my head and stay there circling round and round. They are never good memories.
Socially I was incredibly shy and awkward. School was damaging. I was overweight and picked on often. My twin was not. I didn’t hold it against her I just wanted her to defend me or tell me it would be okay. She didn’t. It was my mom who always did. My mom knew I was different from an early age too. She had discussed it with my dad but they decided not to take me to a Doctor. It was the early 80’s and most people didn’t do that then.
When I was 16/17 I found that alcohol made life tolerable. I could be whoever I wanted to be when I drank. There was just one problem, when you drank as much as I did you couldn’t do it around everyday people or they would think you had problem. So I drank with people I would not normally be around. My behavior became more unstable as I had more manic episodes. I would think it was a good idea to do things that were not a good idea. I was also promiscuous and didn’t care. During depressive episodes and drinking I didn’t even hesitate to swallow a bottle of pills, slit my wrists or jump from the roof of a building. (The building was a lot closer to the ground than I thought so I only got a sprained ankle and chipped bone in my foot). I continued to drink for 20 years or more. In between I was court ordered to see several Psychiatrists and Therapists who never diagnosed me with anything except that I abused alcohol and I might be depressed. There was one who said I had Social Phobia. If I totaled all of the Therapy hours together it would be 4,375 hours of no diagnosis, no CBT that helped or DBT that helped. I think that’s a lot of hours over at least 10 years of my drinking to not receive help that actually worked or a diagnosis.
So it wasn’t until after my mom died and I was arrested for a DUI that I finally quit drinking and my Primary Care Doctor said “I think you might be Bipolar, does it run in your family?”. I told her what I told all of the other Doctors “YES”. But this time she sent me to someone who actually knew a little more.
I wish I could say I’m better but I’m not. The best I ever felt was after a round of ECT. Unfortunately the experience of it was so unpleasant I couldn’t go back. Now, being in Stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease with only one kidney, doctors are concerned about doing it again. I also am having too much anesthesia. I have to go under every 4 to 5 months to have the stents changed that are keeping my kidney working. That’s for the rest of my life. It appears I like anesthesia because they have a hard time bringing me out of it. It’s becoming an issue. I know because they contacted my Psychiatrist who told them it’s possible my brain could choose to not wake up because of the Conversion Disorder.
So what’s recovery like? What is it like to have a support system? What’s it like to have someone who loves you, hold you and tell it’s going to be okay and you’re fine the way you are? The only way I would ever get that again is to see my mom. When I’m under anesthesia she’s there and it’s sunny and some of my past dogs are there too running around. She hugs me so much it’s why I don’t want to leave.