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Living with Bipolar Disorder

My Journey So Far

By Kristina HedleyPublished 5 years ago 6 min read
My dog Casey

My dog has been my comfort ever since I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder about 3 years ago. She always knows when something's up with me, and she'll come lie on my bed with me, sit with me like she's doing in the picture.

In 2014, my life spiraled down to the lowest point, it was before the bipolar diagnosis was made, I knew I was in trouble. I'd done something truly unforgivable by most standards.

I cheated on my husband. I was in a hypersexual state of mind as I came to find out years later, it was why I did what I did. I was lacking impulse control as well.

Did I feel bad about it? I did, in fact this is where my spiraling hit rock bottom. I felt such overwhelming guilt that I told him. He took it better than I could have hoped for, but I still felt bad.

My low came shortly after telling him. I was taking medication for chronic pain and to help me sleep. I had pill bottles at the time, took one look at them, and downed quite a few pills in a suicide attempt.

I had posted on social media about doing this, thankfully my neighbor saw my post and called for help. I was scared and confused about everything, I guess it was anxiety mostly that ultimately led me to do this.

I wound up in the inpatient mental health ward at my local hospital for 10 days. During my time there, no diagnosis was made, no medication prescribed. After 10 days, I went home with less answers than before.

I contacted my Doctor and told him what happened, and told him that I needed help. He was going to refer me to a psychiatrist, but not at that hospital, another one.

I saw the psychiatrist about 2 months later, and we talked about what had led up to my suicide attempt. We talked about my highs and lows, and before the end of the session, she had me diagnosed and started me on medication.

It was trial and error to find the right combination of medications, I would have side effects and have to start on new meds.

Fast forward into 2015 when life started to take me on a roller coaster ride of stress, physical problems and major emotions.

In January I was told I needed surgery on my left shoulder due to abnormal bone growth. I had the surgery the following month, and besides sleeping for two straight days and developing a blood clot, my recovery was fast and uncomplicated.

In April, my life would end up in the beginnings of a two and a half year nightmare that's still going.

I was out walking Casey and our other dog, both weigh about the same, but I'd been able to walk them before with no trouble.

They wound up pulling me up on the grass of someone's front yard and I lost my balance. I didn't go down hard, but I'd twisted my ankle to the point that I heard something crack.

I was told it was a simple fracture, which I found out recently was a lie, and was referred to an orthopedic surgeon for followup in 6 weeks, and placed in a walking cast.

6 weeks goes by, the ankle did not feel healed, but according to the surgeon, pain and swelling was normal. I found out, rather painfully that he was wrong.

Two days later, I'm walking down to the basement, when with no warning, my ankle gave out and I crashed down the stairs. Nothing broken, but the damage was already done.

By August, a new surgeon was concerned and referred me to an ankle surgeon and ordered an MRI.

The new surgeon said he wouldn't operate until the following year, I never understood that, all I know is that it was a big mistake. And he would never admit to any wrongdoing.

I wound up requiring surgery on my right shoulder the following February due to a vicious assault that left my shoulder partially dislocated and torn up.

In April 2016, my life spiralled out of control again. My shoulder was full of scar tissue and was causing a lot of pain. The ankle surgeon finally admitted that he had to do surgery. And my callous neurologist told me I had a herniated disc in my neck pressing against my spinal cord, but not to worry.

I got home and suffered a breakdown so bad that I wound up in the same hospital with the same psychiatrist. He didn't touch my medications, didn't help me at all. I resorted to self harm one night, and when they found out, I got put into a locked, monitored room for the night.

Upon discharge, I was told that someone would call me from the outpatient department so I could start in a day treatment program. That call never came, not that it mattered.

My pre surgical visit with the surgeon had me having to disclose my mental illness, he wondered if I'd be able to follow discharge instructions. I told him I'd be fine.

Surgery was last August, and instead of spending one night in hospital, I spent 22 days there. Pain management and problems with my shoulder, not being safe to go home were reasons why I was there so long.

I wound up spending ten weeks in convalescent care, recovering further from this surgery. It was not without setbacks that the surgeon ignored.

I went for a second opinion in December, my concerns were valid, and my new surgeon, same one who did my shoulders, sent me to specialists. An MRI was ordered.

Followup in May brought the bad news that a revision surgery was required for the ligament and tendon damage caused by those setbacks.

Surgery was 3 weeks later. It was supposed to be day surgery, but I stayed for 3 days with complications the nursing staff said nothing to my surgeon about.

The day after I got home, I found myself in emergency with collapsing lungs. I had fluid buildup that was ignored.

I was so stressed from that, while I was still non weight bearing, I wound up back in hospital due to suicidal thoughts. This time I was at another hospital.

I spent two weeks there, part of it was spent going through withdrawal from pain meds, and I think the psychiatrist I had knew I needed some R and R for a little while, so I could recover in peace.

Things have been up and down since then, I filed for divorce in August and will be free and clear in the coming weeks.

I'm going to pain management due to the fact that the revision surgery was a partial failure. He couldn't fix the tendon.

I wouldn't wish bipolar on anyone, it makes life really difficult. I have lost friends because of it. I don't feel normal anymore. I have a hard time dealing with my emotions and don't have help in figuring things out.

If a loved one, or someone you know is bipolar, I encourage you to do some research on the disease, it will help you understand them and what they go through.


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