On the outside, my life seemed perfect. . I had no reason to complain. I lived a pretty successful life compared to where I had come from. I had a loving husband, beautiful smart talented daughters and the opportunity to pursue my dream as a writer.
On the inside, everything was hanging by an incredibly thin thread. The slightest breeze would send everything crumbling down. One false move and everyone would see it was all a facade and inside I was a mess.
I had come to terms with the fact that deep down I was a fraud and unfit for these people I called my family and friends. I lived knowing that if I let anyone get too close or see too much they would know and I would be alone. It was one of the reason I didn’t feel I had close friends. My husband had friends from kindergarten, friends that have stuck by him since he had memories but I was stuck envying him.
Outside, I seemed to have it all together. On the inside I was spiraling down and had no way of pulling myself back again. I did a good job of hiding what I was going through. At least I thought I was doing a good job.
I went in to talk to my psychologists. I was telling her about the pills and the effects they had on me when something told me to just mention about my shopping issue. I began to just casually talk about my problem with shopping.
“So, it is just getting out of control.” I said. Not thinking that anything could be done about it.
She seemed concerned. My admission seemed to give her pause.
“Do you find yourself shopping even when you know that you can’t afford to or when you know you don’t have the money to?”
“Does it happen after bouts of depression?”
“Hmmm…” she said.
Now I was anxious and wondering when I could leave so I could take my Xanax medication.
“I’m looking at all your other symptoms and other issues you are having and I am thinking you may have bipolar II disorder.”
I knew my eyes were as round as saucers. Bipolar II? What the hell does that mean? I remember in college I had a roommate that was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. She was a very sweet girl and I loved having her as a roommate but there were times when she would sleep all day. She would fall asleep at night and would not wake until about 6 pm or 7 pm the next evening. I would poke her to make sure she had not died in her sleep. When she was awake she would be extra bubbly and full of energy. Sometimes she would go home for the weekend and just not come back on Monday. By Tuesday I would call her mom to make sure she was alright.
Wednesday she would sneak in our room while I was in class and leave me notes apologizing and telling me she was so sorry that she made me worry.
I remembered her and it was strange how much I missed her as a friend when she eventually dropped out of school and never came back. I don’t really like a lot of people but I really liked her. Maybe our connection was because we were both going through the same tough depression and being away from home for the first time was particularly hard.
I remember when I came home and told my oldest daughter that I was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. I thought they were going to freak out or be as shocked as I was. She kind of nodded and said “I figured that was what they were going to say.”
I was even more shocked. It seemed my family thought that I was Bipolar before my doctors even discovered it. They could see my downward spiral, my mood swings, my sudden urges to rearrange the entire house and then my depressions where I would just sit on the couch for weeks and not shower. Then I would decide to go and buy fabric and sew things all over the house and start making the kids clothes.
They were already figuring out what could be driving me before I was told by professionals.
It was because of them and my husband that I got the help I needed. On the inside my world was falling apart and though a bipolar II disorder diagnosis was not what I was expecting or what I needed…it was a relief to know what was wrong with me.