Prince Edward Island
My name is Katie.
I was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Now that I realize what I’m dealing with I would say I have since I was about fifteen years old; I’m thirty three now; so eighteen years at least. I guess it kind of started a couple years ago. I broke up with my boyfriend at the time or he broke up with me and then I started partying a lot and just kind of spiraling out of control. Eventually, when I was living in Montreal, I just had to move home, as I knew I wasn’t going to be okay if I stayed there any longer. So I came home and I was good for a few months and then I kind of started up again and I started drinking and partying and doing a lot of self destructive behaviour and my best friend actually came to me one day and said you’re going to die. She’s like if you don’t stop this, you’re going to die. And she was so firm about it and she was so insistent. And I trust her so much cause she deals with mental health issues as well. I trusted her over anybody else. And that’s when it came time for her to say that to me, I knew I had to get help.
After Christmas, I guess maybe in February again, I just kind of crashed. Totally crashed, I just was literally at the end of my rope. I didn’t think I could go on. I didn’t know where to look out for help and I was really frustrated. I have a friend who’s in counselling and I really respect her approach to things. So I knew that there must be someone else out there with that similar approach or open mindedness. So I contacted another mental health place here and the minute she told me on the phone “We can help you Katie,” I broke down and I was so relieved. So I got to see the psychiatrist. I had to go through my family doctor and get a referral, so then I went and I met with a psychiatrist and he diagnosed me in the first session. And he put me on Lithium and kept me on the Zoloft. I’ve been pretty good, you know, I’ve definitely had some slips. It’s hard to stay on track. Sometimes, I think that’s the hardest part is just following a regiment because I’m very chaotic. So that’s kind of where I am at right now.
I think I may be an exception not the rule because I kept seeking it out and I kept looking for better because I wasn’t satisfied before. And instead of just giving up which I did do for a long time. When I hit rock bottom again, I was just out of control partying, I was doing drugs and I was just like this has to stop. I won’t live if this is how it was going to keep up and I had to keep looking. But once I did, the counselors have been amazing, and I’ve actually talked about the bad reputation they get with one of them and she’s just kind of frustrated with it too because the means that they have they work well with. But there are not enough resources here and there’s not enough awareness here. This island (P.E.I.,) there’s high suicide rates, there’s high depression, and high addiction rates and it all stems back to mental health issues. Or just not having the outreach, not having the therapy or being told that it’s okay to seek therapy and seek help and to see doctors. Because for a long time I really thought it was shameful that anyone would have to do that and then I started doing that and I was like I was an idiot. There’s no other way around it, I was stubborn and arrogant and ignorant about it.
Journalists now are a younger generation and I feel like they’re tackling it a lot better but it’s just sad that it takes suicides to become something that’s presented in the media, but I mean it’s like there’s some silver lining coming out of these horrible things is that it is getting talked about more. And I feel there’s been more of a push on mental health and on bringing in resources here. I mean they’re heaps and bounds away, a long road away, but I think that the topic is being discussed now a lot more than it ever has been. There’s definitely some room for improvement but it’s in the right direction, it is going in the right direction.
My rage is very manic driven state because I’m like it is high octane, it’s so much energy. It’s like probably my heart rate and everything is the same way as it would be if I were just flying happy. It’s very high intensity and then the opposite is however high I
get, I crash just as low and those low points are very scary. I don’t trust myself in those situations; I don’t know what to do when I’m in those situations. I know I can lean on my support. I just thought it was how everybody felt. I just assumed everybody went through really awesome highs and just really shitty low lows and all day long. Like up and down, like a yo-yo. I would look around and no one else really seemed to be that way. And then I just thought, I think maybe too, they don’t feel emotions as intensely as I do. Which is a good or bad thing I guess because I felt like when I was started being medicated that I wasn’t feeling anything. And then, my doctors were like well it is that you’re experiencing normal, quote on quote, typical range of emotion. Not so extreme, not so high, not so low. I do miss the manic but sometimes I just stop taking my meds and I’ll go manic. I don’t know why I do it. I guess I’m addicted to that high. But then it’s like inevitably I’m going to crash so it is not worth it in the end. Well I can’t really always pinpoint what’s going to trigger me but sometimes it just does and I get set off. If I can catch it early enough, if I can catch it right away, and I smoke some weed it tends to kind of put me into, like it kind of makes me see the forest from the trees. Just kind of step back, and be like alright Katie relax, it’s not a big deal, just calm down. Or if I go for a run or if I do some physical activity, it’ll help too. But I oftentimes know that those things will help me and I just don’t let them help me so I just go into a full-blown rage or oppression or whichever.
My advice would just be if you know something’s off, cause you know something’s off, just go talk to somebody. And if you don’t find the right person, keep looking because there is somebody out there who can help you and who can make you feel, quote on quote, normal.