which came first?

i’ve been unpacking a lot of the perverbial emotional baggage doing this blog.  sitting and writing and reflecting on life has been really good.  i’m proud of myself for sticking with the blogging process.  i tend to get into a new activity, burn through it quickly and start another just as fast.  painting, pottery, canning, dancing, meetups, crafting…i hoped blogging wasn’t going to end up in the pile of hobbies past.  but so far so good.  hopefully there are people out there reading this and I’m not alone…

so as i was thinking of a topic for today i realized i’ve been diagnosed as bipolar for over a year now.  where has the time gone?  i’m not sure if i feel better about my diagnosis but i think things are clicking for me and make more sense.  but i can’t help but wonder – have i always been bipolar or was this disorder brought on by some things that have happened in my life?

i feel comfortable saying that I’ve always had a certain amount of depression in my life.  but i think things became harder and more erratic for me when i met my ex-husband.  in the beginning of our relationship it was fun, romantic, i dare say idyllic.  we dated, we moved in together, we bought a house, we got married.  a typical boy meets girl scenario.

things changed drastically as soon as we were married.  he became controlling, questioning where i was going, who was i with, how much did i spend.  i really only saw friends on my lunch hour and relationships really suffered.  he didn’t like my best friend, he didn’t want to go to my parents’ house.  the list goes on and on.  he got really aggressively physically too.  if i did something to set him off he would put holes in doors, break furniture, scream, yell, throw things at me.  if things were strained and i didn’t want to sleep with him he would rape me.

i tried to escape anyway i could.  i worked a lot.  i volunteered with the junior league.  i worked hard to keep up the façade that everything was fine.  i was happy.  i had a great life.  but there were cracks.  friendships didn’t last.  the control tightened.  i tried to control anything i could for autonomy – my work, my volunteerism, my weight.

i lost 140 pounds while i was married.  yes, i was a big girl.  but i think the weight for me took the role of the self-control i felt i desperately needed.  but my body and my mind wanted control too.  in January 2012 i developed a seizure disorder.  i lost myself in the seizures, often having no control of my body and little memory of the episode.  the seizures were worse with stress.  i think i was bipolar by then.  the stress made me depressed and manic.  i’d go for days on no sleep, washing my floors at 3am.  but the stress and lack of sleep only made the seizures worse.

it took 3 years and a divorce to get a diagnosis on the seizures – conversion disorder.

  • Conversion disorder, also called functional neurological symptom disorder, is a condition in which you show psychological stress in physical ways. The condition was so named to describe a health problem that starts as a mental or emotional crisis — a scary or stressful incident of some kind — and converts to a physical problem.

once i knew what was happening i could finally say out loud what my ex-husband had done to me – he was emotionally, physically and sexually abusive.  he raped me.  now I’m a survivor.

it’s been more than a year since i’ve had a seizure but i know my triggers.  i’m being treated for my bipolar disorder.  i’m on medication.  i feel better.  i’m hopeful.  i’m happy.  although this didn’t happen overnight, i’ve been unpacking my emotional baggage and the crap in contains to let it go.  i just wanted to share, in case someone out there has had an similar experience.  you are not alone.

until tomorrow…

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