mental health

Never Be Afraid of Who You Are

Carrie Fisher once said, “At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of. They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication.”

As you may have read in an earlier post, I was hospitalized in May for suicidal ideation. The past few months been really rough and I let my brain trick me into thinking that I’m a burden, that those I love would be better off without me, and that I am unworthy of love and belonging. While I was in the hospital, I finished reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle. I would like to share some quotes from it that really helped me gain some perspective.

“I am here to keep becoming truer, more beautiful versions of myself again and again forever. To be alive is to be in a perpetual state of revolution. Whether I like it or not, pain is the fuel of revolution. Everything I need to become the woman I’m meant to be next is inside my feelings of now. Life is alchemy, and emotions are the fire that turns me to gold. I will continue to become only if I resist extinguishing myself a million times a day. If I can sit in the fire of my own feelings, I will keep becoming.”

“Like Westley from The Princess Bride who said, ‘Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.’ “

“Pain is not tragic. Pain is magic. Suffering is tragic. Suffering is what happens when we avoid pain and consequently miss our becoming. That is what I can and must avoid; missing my own evolution because I am too afraid to surrender to the process. Having such little faith in myself that I numb or hide or consume my way out of my fiery feelings again and again. So my goal is to stop abandoning myself– and stay. To trust that I’m strong enough to handle the pain that is necessary to the process of becoming.”

These quotes (and many more from Untamed) helped me reframe things. Yes, I’ve been in a lot of pain lately. But I can either continue to try to fight that pain or give in, surrender, and trust myself. When I sat with it for a while, what my self told me is that I should go to a residential treatment center (RTC) for my mental health. It isn’t easy. It is brutal and painful and difficult. It will be roughly 80 days away from the family I love and the friends I count on for support. But if not now, when? Getting laid off sucked. It was sad and disappointing and it hurt. But it allowed me to stay on unemployment through the end of July. Which means I don’t have to look for a job right away while I figure stuff out. Which means I actually have the time to dedicate to myself and my mental health right now.

mental health

Copied and Pasted From My Facebook

TW: Suicidal Ideation

I used to sing Park Ridge/Advent Health’s Women’s Hope Unit’s praises loudly and frequently for everyone to hear. I can no longer do that in good conscience because they have a new doctor and he is terrible. I don’t think many people really know this yet, but I try to be as open as I can about my mental health, so: I was hospitalized from Friday to Tuesday for suicidal thoughts. I checked myself into the ER and they admitted me several hours later. As if going through that isn’t bad enough, Dr. Johnson at Advent Health believes that stimulant and benzodiazepine use in adults is wrong. So I got to experience withdrawal while being incredibly depressed. It’s not an experience I can recommend. He wanted me to stay for 5-7 more days and do their benzodiazepine detox treatment that involves phenobarbital. I don’t misuse my benzodiazepines and I don’t feel like it would be good for me to come off of them at this time. Neither does my actual mental health practitioner who has known me for three years instead of five minutes. Dr. Johnson stopped my stimulants cold turkey and refused to give me my ADHD medications while I was there. While I was able to get ativan the first night I was there (Friday), it was Monday night before they gave me an incredibly low dose of it again. On Sunday morning, the only mental health medication they gave me was my normal dosage of antidepressant. They refused to give me my antipsychotic that doubles as a mood stabilizer until that evening after I complained for a long time.

The nurses were, for the most part, incredible. There was one I had an issue with because I threw up my medicine (nausea from withdrawal) and she said she would give them to me again but never did. The others were all incredibly kind and compassionate.

I’m safe and am feeling much better now. I feel very loved and supported, but my brain was lying to me and telling me that I was a burden and that everyone I love would be better off without me. Bipolar Disorder is no joke. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I meant to make a post about it but was too depressed to do so, so this will be my post about it.

If/when you are feeling suicidal, your brain is LYING to you. You are not a burden. People would not be better off without you. This feeling won’t last forever. You are special and loved and whole and valued exactly as you already are. You are worthy of love and connection. You are worthy of hope and a future. You are worthy of compassion and compassionate care.

If you are ever in the hospital and feel like you aren’t being treated well, ask for a patient advocate. It’s not something most people know to do.

I want to thank my absolutely incredible brother, mom, and dad for being 1000% supportive, loving, and caring during this very difficult time. I want to thank the friends I told for holding onto the hope I couldn’t see for me and for encouraging me to get help. And I want to shout out my amazing therapist Alli Ramirez at Higgins Counseling + Consulting for being the best therapist I could possibly ask for. I’m not sure if she is accepting new patients, but if you ever need a therapist, I highly recommend her.

I’m sorry to the people I scared and worried. Thank you for supporting me in getting the help I needed.

Love you all!