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Lurker says hi--with a lot of words.

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Hmmm. Part of me can't believe I am actually posting here. I have been lurking since about August of 2013 when I stumbled upon this site looking for some information on lamictal for bipolar.


In a nutshell, I've been in therapy on and off since I was a teenager, when my parents found out I was abusing laxatives--their suspicions confirmed by a 20 pound weightloss on an already small frame and a blister pack of Senna found in the trash. I didn't like the "expert" they found because she jumped very quickly onto blaming my parents and i got very defensive. I also saw therapists throughout college. I struggled with anxiety, TMJ, and on and off bulimia through college--though I graduated in 4 years from a prestigious school and with an almost perfect gpa. I binge drank quite a bit, but for the most part I was able to maintain my "perfectionist" image.


I had my first "breakdown" at 24. I was in a PhD program and desperately wanted out. It wasn't what I thought it would be. I couldn't sleep. I was petrified of everything out of no where--I became convinced I was bankrupt and would check my bank account multiple times a day. I dropped a TON of weight without trying--couldn't eat and lived on coffee and cigarerttes). I thought my then-husband was a drug dealer--and though he was many things (an alcoholic, a binge drinker, and heavy pot smoker) he was not a drug dealer. I fell into a deep depression during which I became psychotic--seeing connections in license plates (oh the journal entries I wrote...looking back on these after the fact...oh man, the shame). I was under an outpatient pdoc's care, though a severe panic attack resulted in my panicked mom calling 911, which led to an EXTREMELY traumatic hospitalization involving being transported in the back of a cop car. . I can still remember the exact pajamas I was wearing at the time, strange because I don;t remember much else. At this time I was dx with anxiety and depression with psychotic features, one time episode. I have often reflected on how my relative priveledge affected my dx and the course of my illness at that time.


I eventually made it through the episode and everyone around me, friends, professionals, family members and myself mostly chocked it up to stress, anxiety, and an unhealthy marriage (with physical abuse on his part and emotional on both of us). I got a divorce. At the time I had absolutely no doubts. I wanted out. I'd wanted out for years, the end. During this time, I held down a professional job and moved up the ranks. I exercised. I made good money. I supported myself. My ED was in complete remission (though I did worry about my weight). I dated some. I began a new serious relationship with the person who is now my spouse.


I decided to go to graduate school in a mental health related field. I got engaged. I was in therapy during this time, and felt good. I started seeing a pdoc for some anxiety and was put back on antidepressants, which REALLY helped me through. I felt like things were going in a good direction. I was pursuing my calling. I got married--and I felt WONDERFUL. I began working as a therapist in two different jobs.


And then. Full blown mania, with psychosis, an inpatient hospitalization (again, somewhat traumatic, being transferred to three different programs and finally settling on the one that my SO and parents thought was the best setting.  [ASIDE: Oh my god. I couldn't figure out how to use the phone system (heavily drugged and probably still somewhat psychotic) and when I mentioned that I was expecting a call and ran whenever the phone rang, the staff stated "that is magical thinking, you can't predict who will call." I had some grandiose thinking at the time and remember being outraged at the "peons" who thought they knew MI more than I did. (I realize now that those people were doing their job in a very chaotic situation...and everyone makes mistakes)]. I left both my jobs. I became DEEPLY depressed. Since then I've gotten better with a combination of meds and therapy--but I'm still not operating on all cylinders. My self-esteem is not great, but it's gotten steadily better.


I have been struggling in a number of ways...with the monotony of every day life. Applying for jobs. To accept my dx. I've looked back on a number of experiences during my twenties and I can see that i was hypomanic and self-medicating with binge drinking. I used to be social and extroverted. Not working has really affected that...I feel lonely and like I've lost touch with a lot of friends--I try to keep in touch, but people are busy, either working, in grad school, or with young children--just generally living life. For a while I felt like I was standing still and very much NOT living life (as a comparison), but I don't feel that anymore--so I see that as progress.


My SO is supportive, but this has taken a toll. My sex drive is NIL, which is the opposite of how it has always been. (Pretty sure it's the meds--currently 300 mg effexor, 50mg lamictal (titrating up) and 50 mg seroquel at night (been working to come off it for MONTHS).


I am applying to jobs and trying to stay positive, but it's hard. I miss feeling like myself--I still feel like my brain doesn't work quite right. I'm not as witty or "quick" as I used to be. I rarely have social interactions outside of my SO and family. I struggle with comparing myself to others who I judge to be "more successful." I get irritated with my spouse. Like, a LOT and I judge him for not being more successful. I'm embarassed by the way my forray into the mental health field crashed and burned...and now I have a LOT of debt to show for it. Luckily, I was able to maintain relationships with a few key coworkers and have pretty decent references.


I remember a time when I thought of myself as unique and smart and interesting and was PROUD of that. At my darkest moments I would plead to God, just let me be a BORING NORMAL. I'm back to not valuing "normal" as THE goal. I want to be myself.


Anyway, HI. I am here and I am no longer lurking. I have been so comforted by some of the posts and individuals over the past several months...so thank you all for that. I don't know how often I will contribute, but I really needed to connect tonight. Alone at home and just decided what the hell.

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Hi and welcome to CB (although I think you've technically been here longer than I have ;) ). Connecting with people who understand what I'm going through when times are tough really helps me. Glad you found some like minded souls and I look forward to seeing you around the boards or in chat :)

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Sometimes virtually is the best way :) You can put your real self out there amongst others who understand. I love this place. It's like my haven to be the me I really am instead of the me who pretends that life is okay around my extended family and others in my "real" life.

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