Menu
SNW-Website-Recovery-I-Needed-2000x1005

The recovery I needed

Guest Author: Nic

This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.

I grew up watching my mother battle Bipolar (I) Disorder.

 It was a scary and confusing experience when she would cycle into a manic moment and then plummet into a deep depression.  She was in and out of hospital several times during my youth.  I was always fearful that one day the disease would get me too.  I carried this worry with me constantly. In spite of my concern, my life seemed to be going quite well; I graduated secondary school (as class Valedictorian) and left home to attend University where I studied Kinesiology and played Varsity football (’98-’02).  

 I felt angry and ashamed that I was so ‘weak’

Unfortunately, during my athletic career I suffered several concussions.  Upon graduating university (as Valedictorian of the Faculty), my childhood fears were realized when I had my ‘first episode’… likely a result of heredity and my head injury.  I was officially diagnosed with Bipolar (II) Disorder.  I felt angry and ashamed that I was so ‘weak,’ that I couldn’t just ‘shake it off,’ or ‘deal with it and move on.’  

It was hard to hear that I would likely need medication (and therapy) for the rest of my life.  I reluctantly started treatment and several months later, began to stabilize.  Years rolled by and I was, thankfully, managing my mental illness.  I got married, and my wife and I had a couple of children (a girl, now 4, and a boy, now 2).  In the back of my mind, I wondered and worried if my children would ever have to suffer from the sickness.   After the birth of our son, my mind began to unravel.  I entered a depression that was so horrific I was contemplating suicide; I even had a specific plan to kill myself.   

Thankfully, my wife took action before I did anything drastic, and got me to the Psychiatric ER at a local hospital.  I was an absolute wreck… crying hysterically and craving for it all to end.  I was immediately admitted to the Mood Disorders Program.  Over the next few months in hospital, I experienced great pain; however, I also gained new perspective.  I began to internalize that I was ‘sick not weak,’ that needing medication was not an attack on my manhood, and that the shame and stigma I carried was senseless.  

Mental Health is a continuous ‘work-in-progress’

Thanks to the excellent care of my psychiatrist (who actually pinpointed a misdiagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, and noted I had Unipolar Depression with a Generalized Anxiety Disorder… shifting medications that were effective), as well as, the nursing and support staff, I recovered.  After being discharged, I went almost a whole year before my mental state started to go south again.  In turn, I was admitted to the hospital for a second time, where I, once again, received the respect and achieved the recovery I needed.  

My experience has made me realize that Mental Health is a continuous ‘work-in-progress’ and a battle that so many people face daily.  It is now my goal to educate my children and many others about the intricacies of Mental Health, so that if/when they are afflicted with a related illness, they will seek the help they need and experience stigma-free recovery.

Thank you so much for running this campaign.

Comments

Tanya
Report

Was wondering if you were on medication all the time, but would still relapse at times?

Tonia
Report

I completely understand you. I too have Bipolar 2 and and a mother. I completely understand how you feel. I know it may be weird to say this but I am happy I found others whom I can relate to. It shows that I am not alone.

Ned
Report

Thank you for sharing this. I was recently diagnosed with Bipolar 2 and BPD. Much like you, this runs back generations in my family and I’ve sustained several concussions. Throughout my 4 year career as an NCAA student-athlete I spiraled nd finally hit rock bottom. Knowing I’m not alone helps.

Add Comment