For the past week I have sat starring at a blank white digital sheet of paper trying to come up with exactly what my first blog post would be about and how I would go about writing it. I have about 7 unfinished drafts sitting in my que, all not quite hitting the point I was aiming for. Then it hit me last night, I need to start from the beginning. I need to introduce myself and start my story with the basics. Which is precisely what I decided to do.
ME, MYSELF, AND I
My name is Kelsey. I am 24 years old and a Gemini through and through. I won the parent lottery and was born to 2 of the most loving, understanding people I have every known. I was also blessed (or cursed depending on the five year span you are looking at) with 2 older sisters.
So, given this 4 sentence intro, I really can’t start this story with a terrible tale of grief of a young girl orphaned at a young age or of 2 unloving parents who cared more about a score than my homework every night, and I definitely can’t describe ever being physically abused or ever wanting for the basic needs in life.
But, let’s keep moving along…
At the age of 12, I informed my mom while we were driving in the car one evening that I needed to speak to someone. A “professional” I clarified. Startled at my straightforward demand, she asked why. I explained to her that it was, in fact, not normal for a young girl to have thoughts of suicide and sadness every day of her life. She of course agreed and promised to find me someone.
The hunt for a person to help treat a young child for some type of mood disorder or depression was a long, tedious, and expensive one in the early 2000’s, but my parents went about it fiercely. The timeline and description of all the places and people they found and who all ultimately failed to be what I needed is a story within itself, so we can save that for another time…
I was finally with a therapist that I would work with for many years and would, in the end, have helped me very little. During this time with her, I was also referred to a psychologist to look into the possibility of medication as an option to assist me with dealing with my roller coaster of emotions and cries for help. Another long and difficult search landed me with a woman who I would ultimately see until I was 20 years old (even though she technically treats only adolescents).
I was never given a label and was always encouraged that I wouldn’t have to be on medication forever, that it was just to help me while I learned other ways to cope.
Fast forward a bit to the age of 21…
I began seeing a new therapist who started out by giving a written test to access my levels that would indicate any type of mood disorder or learning disability.
The results were added and analyzed and I was officially labeled as having bipolar II disorder. Along with the news of this diagnoses, I was also informed that I would have to be on medication for the rest of my life. It was no longer a temporary bandaid while I learned to cope. It would be the staple holding me together. This was the piece of news that hit me the hardest.
When you are on most psych drugs you have to be very careful about how you live your life. One stipulation that I am still trying to find peace with is that I cannot get pregnant while taking my medication because of the adverse affects it could have to the fetus. When the day does come that I would like to have kids and start a family, I will be required to have been off my pills for at least 3 months before even starting to try and I will, of course, have to stay off of them until I have given birth and am done with breastfeeding. To me, this is terrifying.
Luckily, I have finally found a combination of medication that works perfect for me. It took a lot of patience and many days of feeling lower than low, but now, I actually know what “happy” is for the first time since before I can remember. The downside is, going off of them makes me even that much more afraid and the thought is one that I struggle with often.
It has been a long, emotional, terrifying journey to where I am today. But, I have never in my life felt better. Sure, there are still hurtles I have to work out and I have bad days along with the good (who doesn’t?), but I can officially say, “I am happy.” And now, I hope to offer a friend, a confident, even just some understanding to those of you who are on your own leg of your personal journey. You are not alone.