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Been Down that Road

by Patty Fleener M.S.W.

Today I am writing directly to those of you who have bipolar disorder and/or borderline personality disorder, and/or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I am writing to those of you who are struggling today. Maybe you have been struggling for weeks or even months. 

The suicide rate for these two disorders is very high. The BP includes a very nasty depression that leaves many of us feeling suicidal because we feel so bad. Not to mention full-blown mania or mixed episodes from hell. The BPD includes it's own depression as well, however I have read that the major reason for suicide is impulsivity. 

PTSD includes a mixed bag of depression, flashbacks, nightmares, agoraphobia, etc. It seems that many of us who have the BPD or the BP have PTSD. Some of us simply because we lived such hard lives before we were finally diagnosed and treated. 

Some of us are still suffering and are endlessly searching for the right "cocktail" of meds. 

If you are at that place right now, suffering endlessly, this section is for you today. This section is written by someone who has "Been Down That Road" - me. 

I didn't get diagnosed with bipolar disorder until I was 40 years old. I'm 46 now. I suffered a strong suicidal depression for a long time before I found that right med cocktail. A LONG time. Seemed like forever. 

I fantasized about what to write on my tombstone or what to say in my suicide note. No, I did NOT want to die. I just wanted the enormous pain to stop. 

Having both legs, both arms and rib cages broken would have felt like heaven to me at the time if I could have traded maladies. 

For a time I had a very hard time leaving the house. During the worst days, the blinds and curtains all had to be closed. The world was not a safe place and I wanted to hide from it as best I could. 

I couldn't answer the phone for a long while either. That's the outside world coming in! At times I would wake up exhausted from repetitive dreams that went on for years. 

There were times that I worked on my websites for over 36 hours straight, only to catch a quick bite and some fast trips to the restroom. I could not even walk to the creek that was a house or two down from me. 

In fact I stayed so isolated so long that my back began to hurt from not being used and I had to rebuild it by working out later on. 

Some of the meds put me into kind of a dream world where I was not fully alert. Mostly I gained 70 pounds due to medication and inactivity. The pounds went up fast while taking these meds. 

I felt that my candle inside of me was barely lit and I lost all zest for life. I kept saying that I was in the last chapter of my book, called my life, and there were no more chapters to write. 

That was approximately 2 or more years ago. Today I am happily single and glad to be out of a very controlling relationship. I live alone with my 2 cats and though I feel occasionally lonely, I am super happy! I enjoy making my little meals at night, watching television and picking whatever channel I want. My ex controlled everything when I was with him. I was not even allowed to carry money in my wallet. 

Today I lay in the middle of my king-sized bed and put my arms way out to the side and say "I'm free, free, free to be me!" I want to take up the whole bed with just me.

Basically I am a happy camper and look forward to a bright future. 

WHAT BROUGHT ME FROM POINT A TO NOW??

The main reason I am where I am now is medication. I'm on the right meds. 

My PTSD seemed to work it's way through. I just quit having those recurring dreams, no flashbacks, had no problem leaving the house and lived in today. When PTSD had me in it's grips I lived in yesterday, in the past. 

My past and my desire to "hole in" faded away and was replaced by an interest in life. I began to want to go places. I even enjoyed spending money. Had I to do that over again, I would have known now what I didn't know then - I worked all the time on the Net with my sites to the point that I was a workaholic. Unconsciously I was doing everything I could not to experience feelings. 

I really thought I was happy then because I wasn't in emotional pain and all my adult life I had lived that way. 

Today I don't stress about much really. I have experienced so much emotional pain in my life that regular stressors don't wig me out anymore. 

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