Perhaps I should not have blogged about my drug using days. It was not to glorify or insult or make anyone feel uncomfortable.
I shared that particular blog to show 2 things that are important for me to help others see:
The first reason was to show how far I went (any may people often go) when bipolar or any other mental illness is undiagnosed/ untreated.
After my first psychosis incident and hospitalization, I was diagnosed and treated with the use of prescribed medication. Although I was attending psychotherapy sessions, I was not taking advantage of the treatment. I went back to using drugs as soon as they told me my insurance ran out and I kept using for a while, until I felt like I was taking my last breath after doing drugs all night. That night was the last time I did drugs.
The second reason was to show how Russian roulette was similar to me regarding my drug and alcohol abuse. To me, any time I used drugs, could have been the last time, especially since there were instances where I was hallucinating, speeding and just being wreck-less with my life.
Once I decided I wanted to live, I got clean, started taking medication only as prescribed ( I was also a pill popper) and on time. I also started attending therapy more frequently and was honest with the therapist, finally admitting to her I had been using drugs (it was almost the same as not even being treated).
The therapist recommended I attend an outpatient hospitalization program 5 days a week, all day. This proved to be of tremendous value. In the program, I was with others in group sessions, who were also living with bipolar. We learned valuable lessons from each other as well as the facilitator and our individual sessions with the psychiatrist. It was there I became totally vulnerable as a person with a mental illness by letting my guard down. I shared the things I had done, my fears for the present and for the future, such as what kind of future could I have being bipolar. Others had that same concern/ fear. Together we worked through issues that come with the territory of mental illness and together we learned about the dark hole mental illness can take you into. We became a second family to each. We were supportive, encouraging and caring to each other. I believe this saved my life. I no longer felt alone, ashamed or frightened of having a mental illness. I knew there were so many other people with the same struggles I had before being diagnosed and since being diagnosed.
By the end of my time in the program, I had learned that this would be a life long struggle but that I was a lot stronger than I had ever believed.
It is not uncommon for people living with bipolar who are not in treatment to start using drugs/ or abusing alcohol or even to be promiscuous. Some even get to the point of having multiple arrests, although not everyone does.
Mental illness has taught me not to judge others who are on drugs, alcoholics, or who do things that do not seem correct. I almost never know at first glance is someone has a mental illness. It is not always for me to know. What is important, is to treat everyone with the same respect and dignity.
love to all,
pb aka peanut butter
We are all a lot stronger than we could every imagine.