Mental Health Day’s

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I apologize for the lack of posts some weeks, it is not that I am not thinking or care about you all. It is my mental health calling and messing up my days when it was going all so great. One of the most frustrating traits of having bi-polar1. Some days I am so manic, I can not even try to put words together, let alone a thoughtful and educational post. Other days, I can’t get my mind to wake up enough to write, sleep is all my body craves and that is what I give it, along with my daily yoga. So in between these days I write, express myself and do my best to help myself and others.

The days I do post when manic, I apologize if my posts aren’t up to my own standard or aren’t always clear. My mind and raw emotions are at their finest.As I learn to handle my anxiety and bi-polar, I hope to be on a bi- weekly posting schedule. On these days I am reachable on Twitter at @bipolarbree1.

As I learn to handle my anxiety and bipolar, I hope to be on a bi- weekly posting schedule. All days I am reachable on Twitter at @bipolarbree1. Thank you for your understanding in advance.

 

 

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Finding out you have Bipolar​

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.

 

 

The Mental Health Tag.. About me Q&A

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This is a little fun Q&A to allow you to get to know me better,
Q) When were you diagnosed, and what lead up to it 

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.

Q)  What Therapy and medications have you tried, and have any of them worked?
  A)  I have tried, and still attend many forms of therapy, including group, trauma, weekly therapy sessions. I am on an anti- psychotic antidepressant, both are working great, but only in conjunction with therapy, CBT, Trauma, and Rapid Resolution Therapy. RRT has worked the best for me, and I have seen the most progress with myself going for RRT.
Q)  Do my Family and Friends know about my mental illness and addictions.
 A) Of course, my family knows, mental illness cannot be fought alone, or talked about enough. My parents and longtime partner are both heavily involved with my well-being, I could not survive each day without them.
Q) Does it affect your daily life and work?
 A) My bipolar and anxiety disorder affect my life in ways I not have imagined but turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  I now focus my energy on my blog and my wellness.
Q) What makes me feel calm? 
 A) To feel calm I have always had this very soft object in my hand to play with, and take my attention away from the stressor.  I will be speaking about this in a post, and have it being offered to you all.
Q) What makes me smile?
 A)  There are so many things that make me smile, but one thing for sure to make me smile is my puppy Bailey and Dog Quincy.
Q) What advice could I give others suffering?
  A)  I would say speak up, this is not something we can be silent about, we already suffer enough because we have a disorder of our minds, that is not apparent on the outside, most of the time.
 Please Share, and Answer these questions yourself, then tag yourself. xoxo

Rapid Resolution Therapy​.

Make it stop, does it ever take a break, that little voice that never shut-up in my head. Replaying and becoming stuck on every real, and futuristic situation you have ever faced. RRT which is a form of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy. This therapy is so awesome for that you do not have to relive, or even recall details of the traumatic event.  It is called a bottom-up process and just focuses on relocating and detaching the physical pain from the mental pain.
 I was introduced to Rapid Resolution Therapy during my stay in a local rehab felicity. During this time all of the horrible events came rushing back, with having nothing to quiet them down. The counselors were not interested in my past, or what even lead up to alcohol abuse, they just wanted to make my life drug free.  Being drug-free was just a holding place for me, I knew that if these trauma’s and anxieties were not treated, my life would be full of alcohol abuse, destruction and no real relationships or future.
 The room was silent, filled with patients and concerned loved ones. A tall, nicely dressed gentleman walked into the room and introduced himself. “ Hi, I’m Dr. Q, A trauma therapist, and I am here today to talk about trauma’s and anxieties related to drug addiction.”  I was hooked and latched onto every word he said. After the lecture was over, I promptly went up to him and introduced myself as his newest patient. I am sure he gets this all the time, but there was a look of seriousness and desperation in my eyes.  He talked with me briefly and handed me his card, which I put in a safe place, so I could call my mom later, and tell her all about this treatment I really wanted to look into.
 That evening when everything has settled down from that day, I made a call to my mom, and she called and made me an appointment. Patients in rehab get top priority, so I was able to get in that following week.  The week leading up to that day was torturous, with many restless nights, sleepy days with panic and fear just pouring out of me.  My fellow rehabbers helped me through each situation the best they could, mainly just listening.
Appointment day arrived, filled with joy, anxieties, and curiosity my mom pulled up to the treatment center, and signed me out for the day. In the first session with Dr. Q all  I knew was that it was video taped, and it lasted up to 5 hours, but no shorter than 2.5.
 The tape started, Dr. Q started asking me questions.
“ So Bree, what pleasure do I have of treating with you?
   “ I can not get my mind to shut-up, I am having, and have had these vivid flashbacks.I am unable to fully put my head underwater, whether it is in a pool, or shower, in fear it brings back such hard emotions, and physical pain.”
“ My sleep is anything but restless, although I do not know what is going on, I thrash, kick, yell,  and scream, most of the time it is for help, and or fear, of what is going on within my subconscious mind.”
“ I always feel somebody is trying to harm me, I have kept a huge secret my whole life, “ That I was a victim of a sexual assault at the age of 13 and again at 23.”
“ I also want to understand why I choose alcohol as my go to, and that when I do drink, 9 out of 10 times it would trigger horrible, vivid and real flash backs, to the point where I am unable to move from fear.”
“ I shower at least 4 times a day, but never felt clean, and or even relaxed.” This started in early childhood, I would say around age 4.”
“ I worry and stress about literally everything, in my control and not in my control, but should be. Control gives me the power that was taken away from me at such a young age.” There becomes a point in which I want control so bad, that I start to gain control in other ways, such a not eating, working out, art, and the worst but most often drinking.”
“ I have no cried actual tears since childhood, crying was embedded in me that it was a sign of weakness, and not allowed.”  NOTE My parents have never told me crying was bad, or a sign of weakness, we think one of my babysitters might of.”
 After expressing all of this he said to me “ What would a life without all this pain look like to me”.
  This was something so unimaginable to me, I just teared up, bit my lip hard and said wonderful!  He then asked me to pick an object that represents something meaningful and strong to me. My choice  The Lotus Flower, so from this point on I am to imagine the Lotus Flower, as my end result. To be unharmed by all that is around me, and to flourish beautifully even though I have been to the depths of darkness and back.
 As the season contained I grew more and more skeptical about RRT, It did not feel like anything was going on expect a series of the same questions asked different ways. Then once my guard was completely down he asked me to close my eyes and imagine myself in a body of water. “ I imminently opened my eyes, and said no way!”  He told me he would be here the whole time, and he just needed that panic, and fear to happen so he could get my brain back on track.
So I closed my eyes once again, gripping the pillow tight I imagined myself in a body of water.” I felt my heart starting to beat uncontrollably, my hands became shaky and sweating, and my breathing became labored. He had me right where he needed me.  Just as I was about to freak out he had me think of the lotus flower, take a deep breath and open my eyes.
 I looked around the room with blurred vision,  I did not know what just happened. It took all of few moments to get a panic, terrified and real emotion out of me. The worst part is over. Having and showing these raw emotions was a golden opportunity for both myself and Dr.Q. He now broke down the event, making me close my eyes again at each stressful moment and to focus on my Lotus Flower, and his voice. As the hours passed by I became more and more tired.
  The Break
We took a nice lunch break and went out to get food. As conversation started, doing our best to not talk about the session but more about my family, how they took to me being a lesbian, my girlfriend who I see as my wife one day.  It felt so great to talk with a professional, as an adult and for them not to just jump to labeling me this or that. He wanted to make sure that coming out wasn’t a traumatizing or troubling situation, which he discovered that it had been. Setting that aside for our next visit, we already had so much to cover, and we both knew it couldn’t be completed by today. As lunch finished up we headed back to his office, and into the room, turning on the camera as we walked in.
 It took Dr. Q a little bit to get me back into the mind frame where he needed me. In this part of the session, he wanted to focus on detaching my physical response to the troubling event, so that when  I think of the event, those physiological responses won’t happen.  Than as he was talking to me, the response happened tears started to fill my eyes, and my body started to shake a little, the moment he saw this he asked me what was going through my mind, and for me to shut my eyes and think of that Lotus flower, I dug my nails deep into my thighs, He imminently  asked me to open my eyes, and to stop. Something deeper was going on, he wanted to know what.  He kept asking me “ What just happened.”, “ What made you grip so tightly to,” I told him I was too scared to move forward, and that I really wanted to be done for the day. As we closed the session, he told me that he was looking forward to helping me more, and to call him if I am having any problems.
 Back to rehab
As I make my way back to the rehab felicity I notice that my body is so weak, and my mind can’t even form a sentence.  I see a group of my friends waiting to greet me by a door, all asking questions about my sessions. Seeing Dr.Q was a luxury, one that many rehabbers didn’t have, my heart breaks for them, but this is my time to just focus on me, and because I am privileged I am able to seek the best care possible.  The advice I gave everybody, who would be attending a  Dr. Q session, is to be open, and expect to be talked raw by the end of it, and have really no idea of what or how you all of a sudden feel lighter but mentally drained. Dr. Q is still in my treatment plan today, we meet every 2-3 weeks after I graduated rehab. Today I only see him every other month, unless a crisis strikes me. He says my progress is outstanding, but he wants me in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy two to three times a week.
  Out of rehab and to this day
 I have been out of rehab for over two years now,  and see great improvement even with setbacks. Today I am able to put my whole face underwater, and shower without any triggers for flashbacks, or self-harm.  My alcohol abuse is limited to a few days to a week at a time. I know that sounds like a lot, but when this happens we know it is time for me to go for RRT again.  It is so important for me always stay in check with my mind, body, and to listen to that noise in my head, whether it is conscious or sub conscious.  My sleep’s are still restless, and many nights are spent awake and or waking up in a complete panic, and can not go back to sleep for hours, but I am happy to say that my last session got my drinking under control, and we had a break through with me opening up and talking about what was really hurting me even if it was so painful to face, I would come out stronger overall.  Getting help in any form of therapy is a great idea, there is help within every budget, and or insurance plan. Wellness does not happen over night, but with one foot forward and just the hint of willingness you can be on the path to peace and recovery.
Dr. Quintal’s Website