Two years ago, many events occurred that changed the lives of many. Per the website On This Day (www.onthisday.com), the following events occurred:
- Mar 20
- Barack Obama becomes the first US President to visit Cuba since 1928, arriving for a 2-day tour
- Apr 22
- Paris Agreement on climate change signed in New York binding 195 nations to an increase in the global average temperature to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C
- Jun 23
- United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union in their “Brexit” referendum
- Nov 8
- Republican Donald Trump is elected President of the United States of America, defeating democrat Hillary Clinton, who received 2.9 million more votes
Quite frankly, I don’t remember any of these events. I was coming off what I now know as an extreme manic high. An episode where I spent more money than I had on a week of elaborate celebrating of my 31st birthday. Towards the end of the month, I crashed, and I crashed hard (I now know I was experiencing a Mixed Episode).
Daily, I’d call my mom crying. She would ask “Bella, what is wrong?” And sobbing I would say that I had no idea what was going on. My head was racing with thoughts, zooming by so fast that I couldn’t concentrate. I was either crying or yelling, wide awake or out cold, ravenous or without an appetite, full of emotions or completely numb.
I met with my psychologist the week before my birthday where I was happy, positive, excitable and chatty. The week following my birthday I was in tears, talking about how I could not handle it and how I wanted to escape from my body. This is when it became clear to my therapist that I was dealing with more than just anxiety. She speculated that I was Bipolar, but not certain if it was one or two. I pleaded with her to get me help, stating that I was done suffering and needed something else to get my brain to calm down.
By the grace of God, I was able to get an appointment to see the psychiatrist the middle of February. It was a few weeks off, but I was on the cancellation list. I would just have to tough this out for a few more weeks and then I would get the relief that I was so desperate to receive. The weeks of waiting were agony. The psychiatrist diagnosed me with Bipolar One, with a mixed episode and I started my seven-month sabbatical of medical leave. It was the beginning of a very, very long journey.
2016 was the hardest year of my life to date. I remember much of it, but in the same regard much of it is a blur. Although I am struggling with anxiety currently, it does not compare to how I have struggled in the past. Today I can sit here and look back and see how far I have come. It has been a hard, rugged terrain that I have traversed, but I did it and I am proud of myself for all I have done.
Life is hard. It puts us in trying positions and places and forces us to use all the strength that we have and then some that we didn’t know that we had. When I saw Markiplier earlier this month with my son, he ended the show stating something to the effect of “If someone tells you that you can’t do something, prove them wrong.” I think this also applies to when our brains tell us we can’t do something, that we need to tell ourselves that we CAN do it and persevere.
Press on my friends, towards the goals that you have and towards the life that you aspire to behold.
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