We’re all in the same game – just different levels. Dealing with the same hell – just different devils. – Jadakiss
In honor of World Bipolar Day which is recognized on March 30th each year, I have a very personal reason for writing this article.
My name is Ashley and I have a dual diagnosis. Meaning, I am an addict and I also live with Bipolar II Disorder. I was diagnosed as bipolar nearly 15 years ago, but since I didn’t want to be dependent on medication, I stopped taking it when I found out I was pregnant with my eldest. I wish I knew then what I know now; I would have done things very differently. I spent far too many years living in a dark depression because I was actively managing my addiction recovery but not doing anything to heal my mental illness. Since addiction and mental illness are two separate conditions, they both require their own treatment and healing plans in order to live a healthy life.
Unfortunately, I was only halfway there.
Addiction recovery delivers many promises and although I removed the toxic substances from the scenario years ago, I still wasn’t reaching my full potential due to depression. My quality of life was bleak. My lows were so low and my highs were fueled by anger and irritability. Even doing day to day tasks took everything out of me. I had fallen behind with work and my household duties, my friendships and relationships were suffering, and I was barely getting by.
This was my life for several years.
A little over a month ago, I was talking with my psychiatrist about the lack in my quality of life. “Maybe you should give medication another chance,” he said, as I stared out the window of his office while pondering my shitty life on that shitty, gloomy day. “I am an addict doc, I don’t want to be on another substance,” I replied. The truth was, doing it my way for so long had only gotten me into his office in tears, so it only made sense to try something different. So, that is what I did.
I have been on medication to treat my Bipolar II Disorder ever since that day and although everything isn’t completely perfect, my life has taken a drastic change for the better in a multitude of ways.
For the first time in years, I can finally see the light and I feel hopeful today.
If you are like I was, living a life of hell, please give yourself a break and reach out for help. It doesn’t mean you’re weak, exactly the opposite. You’re stronger for not only becoming aware that there is a problem but also for seeking out help. Maybe that help will come from medicine or perhaps it will come from an all-natural, holistic remedy? Whatever route you choose, own it with a sense of dignity because you are doing what you need to do in order to get better. For that, I am proud of you.
On this World Bipolar Day, let’s all be mindful to be kind to others. We have no idea what kind of internal battle they’re fighting.
The vision of World Bipolar Day is to bring world-awareness to bipolar disorders and to eliminate social stigma. For more information on Bipolar Disorder or World Bipolar Day, please visit: http://www.worldbipolarday.org