Hi, I’m Bree, and traditional talk therapy is not my thing. I placed my bag down, and made myself comfortable, as my therapist said, “this isn’t therapy we are just going to talk.” If this isn’t therapy than what is it? I said nervously. I know you have been seeing our trauma therapist, and he has gotten you to release some of your pain and show any emotion. I am here for you, to talk, to help you make daily choices, and to improve your quality of life with Bi-polar. This therapy session was so different than any one I have been to. It was different in that she did not have to pray to get information out of me, I did not hold back, even the darkest, and most painful events. I just kind of trusted in her, and really opened up to accept help. We talked, laughed, and started to form a plan for me to start working on. As the session went on I really felt that I was the most open and honest I have ever been. Starting to form this new medical-professional relationship, was scary, but exciting. I even received her personal E-mail, If I never needed to talk, vent or just scream. I have never had any therapist, be that willing, and to go that extreme for me. I felt much more like a person, than just another appointment in their day. As the session came to an end, we invited my mom back, my mom is my best friend and biggest supporter through all of this. We told her our plan and just chatted. Leaving the office I felt relaxed, and a lot less anxious. I look forward to our next appointment. It has taken me about 5 years to find the right therapist, I always had to have some form of therapy weekly, but noting really worked, or clicked like I felt this appointment went today. So if you are struggling to find the right therapist do not stop looking, ask your primary doctors if there is somebody they could recommend, this is how I came across my therapist, and it is awesome that both doctors work in the same office, so there will be no mis information or delayed flies between them, which is a huge plus for me. Therapy does not have to be expensive, but make sure your doctor has had the right training in your area of help. For example, when I first came out to my family and moved back from NYC. I looked for a one who specializes in LBGT, Anxieties, PTSD and Addiction.
The diagnosis of bipolar was some of the best news I have heard in a long time. It completely made sense to my recent actions and rapid changes in my mood. It was only when I started to get sober, while in rehab I noticed something with my moods. I would be so happy for a few days, then so depressed and just sleeping all day, which was not allowed so I would try to have my room mate look out for me, when counselors where around campus. I got caught about a week later for not socializing and just sleeping. I got caught many times after that, and it got to the point where my consular would knock on my room door, and just walk in just to make sure I wasn’t sleeping. Beyond annoyed, angry and not knowing what was going on with me, I exploded on my consular, who just kept telling me “I was an addict, that is why I was having these mood changes,” I knew that was completely wrong, and that comes to be proven correct by my amazing doctor. Dr. Matt.
Dr. Matt is unlike any medical doctor today, his unconventional medical training has led him to be the best of the best. He has obtained an undergrad in psychology and became a board certified medical psychology and psychopharmacology. Having him as my primary doctor is nothing short of a blessing and miracle.
It was appointment day, I was so nervous and shaking, I did not know what to expect, I really didn’t know what was going on with me mentally, but I was losing it, I wasn’t me anymore. Dr. Matt and I talked, I told him everything my alcohol use, my traumas, he met my mom and girlfriend. The family is very important when dealing with and recovering from a mental illness. After talking for while he decided to give me a personality test, this took about 90 mins and was about 300 questions long. I was skeptical about this test, what could it tell me that I haven’t already been told. A few days later the results were in Bi-polar type 1. Shocked, Happy, and relieve, I was on the way to getting better, but not before it gets worse, and depression kicks in. The next few months, were dark and strange, only having the energy to sleep, and sleep and sleep. Sleep seemed to be my safe place
The first thirty days of my diagnosis, and on my new medications, an anti- anxiety, depression, and a mood stabilizer, nothing short of crazy. I was not yet in tuned with my body, one manic day, I got the dumb idea to start drinking as I usually do then, All of a sudden I wanted to go shopping, since I lived five mins from a great outlet mall. This time was different, I got arrested for shop lifting, and even ran from the cops, something I couldn’t ever think of doing today. Waiting for these medications to become built up in my system, was too long to keep me safe. I started to think being Bi-polar was going to lead me to a life of crime, something I was far from use too. As time went on, the medications started to work. My mind became clearer, and my heart didn’t crave as much thrill, positive or negative as it did before. I started to see the benefits of having bipolar, such as having endless creative energy.
To this day I have learned and practiced listening to my body, to know when I have had enough mentally and physically. To know when all I need to do is sleep, to understand when I can not handle being around other people, including my best friends, and parents.
To this day, I am seen by him monthly for medical check up’s and in depth, conversations talk about my moods and over all well being. He has put me in weekly therapy, and monthly trauma therapy. The main reason why I love having Dr. Matt is that he doesn’t believe in just trying all different medication combinations, constantly switching dosages, and so on. He believes in lifestyle changes, a schedule, art therapy and daily exercise.
For those with a mental illness, I can not stress enough how important it is to get help, in any form speak up, this is not something we can be silent about. Going to a weekly Bi polar group has also helped me greatly, it allows me to hear other peoples struggles, and learn from and support them. Take baby steps, face each challenge as it presents itself, and do not let feelings build up.
A) I was first diagnosed with General Anxiety disorder back in 2007, then things go more serious, in 2012-20-14. I started to self-medicate with alcohol and prescription drugs. In 2016 I was hospitalized and put in rehab for alcoholism and or alcohol abuse. From rehab, I saw a trauma therapist and Board Certified Medical Psychologist Psychopharmacologist who diagnosed me with PTSD, and Bipolar1 disorder, along with Anxiety, and OCD.
I am literally speechless when I received the news that I was up for a Liebster Award. It is such an honor to be recognized at such an early stage of BipolarBree1.
Asking for help can be one of the bravest and best things we can do to save our lives. The disease of addiction is not a solo problem, nor does it happen overnight. My unknown addiction started at a very young age when I was diagnosed with ADHD and put on Ritalin medication at age five. Even at that young age, I realized how different the medication made me feel. I liked this feeling better, it made me less sensitive to the world around me and I was able to make friends and be in social situations for a much longer time. As I grew older, I started to understand how the medication actually worked. By reducing sensory overload it allowed me to focus on just one or two tasks through to completion. I fell in love with the feeling of not feeling in addition to being able to keep my weight under 100lbs and knowing I could achieve anything without being tired. This went on through my college years from 2009-2012.
The darkest memories I have of coming home were the many night’s iv spent in my room, with a bottle or two and some stimulants. These nights were dark, and long, filled with shame and frustration. it was just a few months after I came out to my family, that I was a lesbian, life was awkward, I needed mental peace, and out of this strong addition. So I got up the courage, to make a friend online and ask for help. I know asking a stranger, but it was the only way to get help, without being judged, or questioned. She was a guardian angel, I felt. So we arranged to meet at my house so she could get me these detox and withdrawal medication. The day she showed up at my house, I got so nervous, i had to tell my mom, about my addiction, and why I was getting medication from a stranger. Fear and sadness were the only emotions in the room, I was looking down at the floor as tears flowed down my face. I was excited to kill this demon inside me. It took me about 4months to be completely okay without the drugs, but I was drinking massive amounts of red bull, just to feel ok, since the drugs were gone, and I was so happy to start to be free from the demon.
Telling my parents about my addiction, took more courage than coming out. I knew they would blame themselves, especially my mom. None of this was their fault, nor mine really. It got to the point where the only time I used the bathroom, was to do my drug of choice. I started to grow more ashamed with myself, and was so broken, and confused on how to get unaddicted. I was never told about the N/A program and kept it a secret that I had a problem, to this day I am 3+ years clean of perscription stimulants. I am ok with being over 100lbs, but also it is my first time in my life that I am weighted every month, so my weight is closely monitored and each time I am not completely stressed out.