Roller Coaster

Throughout my adolescent years, I was fine; there was no indicator of any emotional issues. I was an A-student, I had a lot of friends and a loving family; it wasn’t perfect, but I had a great life. I never suspected that I would become mentally ill, but I did. After several misdiagnoses, I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

It all started in my first year of college. I was having the time of my life. Everything was perfect. I was doing well in my classes, and I was in a great relationship. Little did I realize that this was the beginning of something that would change my life forever. Something in me changed; I did not recognize it, and I started to lash out at my boyfriend. In retrospect, he wasn’t the greatest guy, but I did care for him a lot. I made up lies to get him to break up with me; I told him I was cheating on him with a female friend of mine. He refused to let me go, but I cut him completely out of my life. I then went into a deep depression, even though I was happy to finally be rid of him. I still went to classes, but I wasn’t eating or sleeping. I didn’t eat for a week, and only did just after I had almost passed out in the middle of class. I began to have severe panic attacks, and sought help through the college counsellor.

My highs were amazing. I was the greatest person alive. I was hot, smart, and all around awesome. I spent money like there was no tomorrow. I barely slept. I wrote immense amounts of poetry and talked to friends at a very high speed. I went out and drank and danced until the morning (even though I don’t like to do that typically) I even, once, believed I had found the cure for autism and wanted to pursue a grant to study my proposed treatment. When coming down, I became very irritable and anxious. I would have panic attacks during this time, and would cut myself to relax and concentrate (as my concentration was shot from being hypomanic).

My lows were terrible. I skipped feeling tired and sad and went straight to suicidal. Every time. I could still go to classes, but I was barely functioning and my mind was overrun by thoughts of how I would kill myself and what relief it would bring me. It felt like I was constantly on a roller coaster, going up and down, and I couldn’t get off the ride. I was told, through mental health, that I would be referred to a psychiatrist. They lied, and I became suicidal, thinking that my pain would never go away. After being convinced to hold off on ending my life, I ended up going to a doctor and being put on an antidepressant. I was a bit worried, because I had a feeling I had bipolar disorder, and these particular antidepressants can cause mania; I took them anyway. For a little while, I felt better, but it did not last long. Those wild ups and downs came back and became more severe and more frequent. I kept trying to tell my psychiatrist that I was having hypomanic episodes, but he didn’t believe me. He thought I was suffering from situational depression as well as agoraphobia (I know the criteria for agoraphobia, and I was nowhere near it).

I ended up dropping out of a class, meaning I would have to take an extra year to get my diploma. This was a major blow, as I had always been a great student. The disorder was impacting every aspect of my life. I alienated myself from friends, I let my schoolwork fall to the wayside; I didn’t care, and I just wanted to die.

Late February of this year (2011), I devised a plan to kill myself. I had gotten enough medication to overdose, and I had planned to do it. I wanted to say goodbye to a few friends, so I messaged them and told them what I was going to do. This was a big mistake (at the time). One of the friends I had told about my plan told a mutual friend of ours who is legally required to call the police if he hears about anyone having a plan to commit suicide. He did not call the police, but he did call campus security (as I was living on campus). The college counsellor and campus security came to check on me. I had taken some of the pills and had passed out, but I was awoken by them. The counsellor took my pills and left me with one day’s supply, instructing me to come to her office the next day.
I did go to her office the next morning. I was still extremely suicidal, but I was also enraged that my plan had been stopped. I told her that I still wanted to kill myself, and demanded that she give me my pills back. She refused. I was barely resisting the urge to beat her to a pulp, take my pills and run. She looked frightened by my change in personality. I’m by no means a violent person, but I could not control the state I was in. I shouted “Give me my f***ing pills!” She still refused, and I broke down crying, begging for the pills and for death. I kept saying that I wanted the roller coaster to stop. The mental health crisis team was called, and I was hospitalized that afternoon.

At first I hated the hospital, but after a few days, I realized it was necessary. I was immediately put on a mood stabilizer and underwent psychological testing. This was when my diagnosis was changed to bipolar disorder. I met some amazing people in the hospital. Some were even worse off than I was. I’m still friends with a few people I met there. Since my hospitalization, I’ve worked towards getting better. It’s been very difficult, but I feel better with each increase of the mood stabilizer. I went to the hospital once more this November for suicidal thoughts, but I was not hospitalized this time. I’ve been improving ever since, and I hope it continues to improve.

I am so lucky to have had the support of my friends and mentors. They have stayed with me and supported me in my journey towards recovery. I cannot thank them enough for saving my life multiple times. I love them with all my heart. Even though I still am riding the roller coaster, it’s getting better every day. I’ve found hope again, and the future is, once again, bright.

by Oddity, age 20