I’m posting this update on my mental illness journey on the day of my third psych and therapy appointments. I’ve officially been in treatment for 3 months today and I’ve been sober for 5 months today.I’ve been very open in the struggles during the past year as I’ve dealt with my mental illnesses. I have always felt that people need to talk openly about mental health issues to help normalize them and remove the stigma surrounding the mentally ill and the treatments we receive to deal with them.

This time last year my life was in shambles. I was drinking heavily every day; my depression and anxiety were out of control and I was hearing voices. I would frequently fly into rages and end up throwing things while screaming and crying. Daily arguments were my normal. I was considering self-harm again even though I have 7 years clean. I was headed down a dark path and I knew I needed help.

I started the anti-psychotic Latuda in March by my PCP and began looking for a psych doctor in my town shortly after for specialized care. I was wait listed by several clinics so my only option was to suffer or go to the ER if I went into crisis- which I did several times over the summer. I sent the nights sitting up hallucinating and quickly cycling through bipolar highs and lows. My anxiety became crippling. I no longer found joy in anything.

My youngest baby was born in May and was brought home early June. By this point I was struggling to find a reason to keep going but when my god mom put that little ball of fluff in my arms that day I suddenly found a reason to hang on. Sometimes you don’t want to continue to fight for yourself. You need someone else to make you keep fighting. I went to the emergency room the next week and was evaluated. My Latuda was increased and after a few days I started to feel a bit of peace.

My peace was short lived however and I was quickly back in crisis and in desperate need of a permanent doctor. I called every clinic in a 50-mile radius. It took until November to find an opening for a doctor and therapist but the wait was well worth the wait.

My first appointment was November 2nd. I was started on a combination of 3 different medications: Lexapro, Buspirone and Abilify. when I went back for my second appointment a few weeks later, we started playing switch-a-pill. that’s the game you play with your psychiatrist when you are trying to get your medication cocktail just right. It can be a long game and full of so many wrong tries before you get to something that helps.

We ended up switching the Abilify for Seroquel and I spent an hour trying to not cry as I talked about my biological father who abused me and the family who disowned me for being gay.

I am not a fan of having to sit in that chair for an hour and talk to my therapist. I never have liked to be vulnerable to people and having to open myself up to a stranger feels so foreign. People keep telling me that it gets easier but I just don’t know if it ever will for me.

The differences between last year and this year are night and day: I’m finally sleeping again and I’ve noticed quite a difference in the number of manic episodes that I used to experience. I’ve stared exercising regularly and I’m sticking to a consistent writing schedule. I no longer have daily arguments with my family and I have even opened my mind up to the possibility of dating again if I were to find the right girl. I am outgoing and social with friends again and no longer blow off plans like I did in the past.

I still have bad days and my meds aren’t quite there yet but it’s a start. I know that I can’t cure my mental illnesses but I’m taking the necessary steps to better manage them. I’m so looking forward to finishing getting my mental illnesses under control and regaining my life again.

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