Read my Essay on OC87 Recovery Diaries– Bipolar Disorder: Never Giving Up

On the rivers I used to float upon in western Alaska, I liked to just eat the peanut butter out of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. There was just too much chocolate in the whole thing for me. As I sat on the edge of the big rubber raft in my waders and wading jacket, I would fling each piece of extra chocolate into the ripples below. A velvety gift to whoever fancied it.



Ridiculous thoughts

I just recorded a video of myself on my computer talking about how I feel when I am well because I am well now. This is for me to play when I am cycling. This is primarily because when I am cycling, I have obsessive, depressing thoughts that:

  • I am a terrible person
  • My husband doesn’t love or want me anymore
  • My husband is not being honest with me
  • I am ugly both inside and out
  • I am a bad stepmother
  • I am a bad wife

I recorded a video called “When I am well.” I recorded it today, when I am feeling well. I told myself that I am a wonderful person, that when I am well I know that my thoughts when I am cycling are ridiculous, that my husband does love me, that he is faithful and honest with me, that everything is OK, that I am a great stepmom and wife and basically that I am a good, lovable person.

I haven’t tried watching this yet when I am cycling but it might be a good thing to try. I am headed into spring and even though everyone tells me “don’t worry about it,” I do worry about it.


Over the last year-and-a-half, I have slowly been tapering off of my medication cocktail. I had gotten up to maybe eight bipolar medications and now I’m down to about half that many. This process has worn me out, damaged my self-esteem, and almost wrecked me. I feel sorry sometimes for my husband, who comforted and loved his newlywed wife through the ups and downs and crazies of coming off the likes of Latuda and lithium.

It’s so easy to start a medication. The doctor just prescribes it, without thinking that you may have to get off it one day. As a result, I’m still on clonazepam, a benzodiapine, and, yes, I’m totally addicted.

Even though I’m getting older, I want to have a baby. It’s my only real regret in life– that I never had my own children. My young nieces have babies, and I am secretly envious– I am twice their age, and I’ve never given birth. I would be a very high-risk pregnancy, and I am worried about how my mental illness will react to not being on any medicine, but I am willing to try. The clock ticks away, but right now I am weaning off two more. I worry about weaning off of them and what it might do to me, but I am doing well so far.

My husband is wonderful. He takes care of me when I am ill. I try to make it up to him– although he says I don’t need to– by feeding him and providing for him in any way that I can. He puts up with the paranoia, my overwhelming fears, and the obsessive thoughts. He protects me when I have suicidal thoughts. He does have a limit though. He gets stressed out and short-tempered after a few weeks of cycling. I’ve learned that it takes about three weeks of withdrawal before it starts to affect him too. Even though it is sometimes hard, he loves me completely.



Fear and Avoidance

Of course. Anxiety is about fear. Fear that has no real cause. Fear of imaginary things– the what-ifs, the future possibilities, the bear that doesn’t exist but somehow stimulates that place in your brain that tells you to run or fight. I run and I fight. I’m not sure which is better, but sometimes I think I can’t live without doing both– all the time.

This blog is framed on complete and utter honesty. My skin will be transparent. You can see my heart pumping (too fast, the doctors say), my blood pressure in my veins (too high, they also say), my stomach full of the much-cliched butterflies, my feet cold and prickly. You can see it all.

My greatest fear is not death. It is not bankruptcy or becoming homeless. It is not even commitment to a psychiatric hospital. It is that I will lose my husband to bipolar. I love him more than anything, and because of this, I fear. My ex-husband told me he was leaving because of the bipolar (although that turned out not to be entirely true– he was a 40-year old man sleeping with a 19-year old girl). But those words wounded me, to the core.

I lost my first big love to bipolar when I was 25. His name was Dan. He dropped me off at a hospital when I was delusional and moved all my stuff out of his house.

I lost my first husband to something. I don’t know what it was. I still don’t.

Thus, my fear.

My husband loves me completely. He comforts me when I am cycling through a mixed episode or a panic attack. He takes care of me. He makes me cuddle with him when I can’t sit still, my hands gripping my head, tears leaking out. He settles the racing thoughts.

But the fear returns when I am away from him. When I see him again, I read his every move to see if he can’t take it any more. He sometimes realizes this. He sometimes doesn’t.

He wants to have a baby with me. We have gone through the withdrawal of several psychiatric medications, so that I can become healthier and closer to having a baby. I no longer take Latuda, or lithium. I still take the others, but we will work on that. Right now, I just need to be stable.

He thinks I’m wonderful. He thinks I’m beautiful and smart. He thinks I will publish my book. He thinks I am a great stepmom. I wish that I could really know those things about me, but the bipolar and anxiety tears them down.