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.