My sophomore year of high school was spent being treated for anorexia in a specialized Eating Disorder psych ward. It was one of the hardest years of my life.
Medication was used as part of the treatment offered. While finding out what worked best for me, the guess and test method was used. I am very sensitive to side effects and this caused me to try numorous medications.
During my third (and last) inpatient stay, the doctors put me on a combination of medication including birth control to balance out my hormones, Zyprexa and Luvox. Zyprexa is classified as an Antipsychotic, used to treat mental disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and Luvox, a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). When I was on this regime I functioned more normally and progressed in treatment towards full recovery. It was not known at this point in my life that I was actually Bipolar. It angers me to think that I was under the care of Psychologists, Psychiatrists and nursing staff 24/7 for nearly a year and no one identified that I was Bipolar. However, this is something that I need to let go. Perhaps I would not have accomplished all that I have if I had the Bipolar diagnosis hanging over my head.
In 2009 after suffering from widespread pain since 1999, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. The medication regime that I was on consisted of Cymbalta, a Nerve pain medication and antidepressant, used to treat depression, anxiety, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and chronic muscle or bone pain. I also started Lyrica, a nerve pain medication used to treat seizures, nerve and muscle pain, including fibromyalgia. Yet again, I was on medication that can be used to help people with Bipolar. The antidepressant benefits of Cymbalta helped to stave off depression. And the Lyrica and other antiseizure medications have been found to help control the stability of mood for people who are Bipolar. Birth control rounded out the cocktail and like before it helped to balance out my hormones alleviating the PMDD symptoms that I suffered from. Nine years later, I was again receiving medication that helped to treat the Bipolar, the disorder I didn’t know I had.
When I was diagnosed with Bipolar I in February of 2016, I was angry that it had taken so many years for me to receive the proper diagnosis. All I could think of is that if I had been diagnosed earlier I would have not lived in such hell and caused so many problems for my family and friends. But now, nearly two years later, I realize that by golly, I am so lucky ot have received the treatment that I did because throughout my life I was receiving care similar to what I would have received had I been diagnosed earlier.
I am a firm believer that all things happen for a reason. There is a silver lining in everything. Sometimes we just need to take a few steps back and look at things with a wider angle. When we step back, and look at the whole picture, we get a better idea why things happened as they did. When you are more slightly removed from the situation, it is much easier to see the positives. We should be thankful for our journey. Had any one event happened differently, we would not be the people we are today or where we are today.
If all that happened in my life had no happened, I would not have moved across the country, met the man of my dreams and be blessed with a family I thought I would never have. At this point in my life, I am thankful for my past. What is your silver lining?