Last Thursday, I decided to take a leave of absence from work. I have a number of stressful things occurring in my life at the moment and I reached a point that I needed to take a break. It is not a secret that I have Bipolar I and Panic Disorder. I talk openly about both with anyone who asks and if relevant with my clients. I haven’t had a Bipolar episode since July 2013 because I am careful about avoiding triggers. Recently though I have experienced stressful life changes, sleep deprivation, family distress, and… I will be honest, inconsistent medication usage. The primary reason for the inconsistent medication usage is because I forgot to put my medication in the pill caddy and I would just forget. My memory is another story.
Last week I could feel something shifting inside of me. I thank previous psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors for the ability to be self-aware regarding my emotional state. I could feel that something was wrong, and I needed to take care of myself. I need to sleep, I need to find ways to relax, and I need to find ways to heal. I did put my medication in the caddy so that is covered.
I often talk to my clients about how it is possible to live a normal life with Bipolar Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, and Schizophrenia. I also talk about how it isn’t a failure if they have a setback, and that we all have setbacks. Right now, I am taking some time to take care of myself because I don’t want to get sicker. I don’t want to go to a mental health facility for a stay. I don’t want to scare my children. I want to be well.
For those looking for information:
National Alliance on Mental Illness: Bipolar Disorder
An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness: This book is a first person narrative of a psychiatrist and her struggle with diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.
Touched by Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament: Because it’s only fair that we get something out of all of this.