Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The diagnosis

Being diagnosed is a rough thing to handle. I knew something about me was different, but knowing that it was in my brain was hard to wrap my head around - no pun intended. 

For me, the diagnosis came after a full mental breakdown followed by months of suffering and suicide attempts. Medicines were tried, hospitalizations came one attempt after another. Minimal psychiatric testing was done until they finally consulted a specialist. I created stories based on single pictures and filled in hundreds of circles on questionnaires. I told the specialist about my history, he reviewed my chart and finally we had answers - Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, severe depression and severe anxiety. 

My medications changed but the symptoms didn't. Eventually, I was sent to a residential facility for 3 months to work on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) while trying to find the right medicine combination in a controlled environment. The medical aspect of the stay was horrible. The doctor prescribed so much lithium and seroquel that I could barely walk, talk or write. My therapist finally stepped in and I was sent to a different facility to detox. Once that issue was handled, I was able to better focus on learning coping skills. 

After it was all said and done, I can say I walked away with three things: 

1. I was never going to blindly trust doctors like I did before. I needed to start strongly advocating for myself when things didn't feel right. 
2. There were coping skills out there that I could use. The biggest being writing, something I had been away from for quite awhile. 
3. There are AMAZING people out there who "get it" in a way no one else can. Some of my dearest friends came from this stay. People who I can reach out to when I am struggling and need to find a way back to my wise mind. 

Now, over three years later, I'm finally on a good medicine combo, I recognize when I'm starting to slide and I can see all of the reasons I have to live. I can see all of the love from my amazing support system. 

This is a lifetime battle, but I feel as though I'm on the right track. There will be regressions, I'm sure. Maybe even a few more inpatient stays. Continuing on my current path would be wonderful, but I am also realistic in knowing that things aren't perfect, medications will change over time and that I have many hills and valleys in my future. Though the diagnosis will always be there, I have the tools and support to beat it every time.

Have questions, comments or just want to connect? Email me here or head on over to the community on my Facebook Page!

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