The Adventures Of Medication And The Little Mermaid

Hey Guys 🙂

Today I am going to share the tug of war I have sometimes with taking medication for bipolar disorder.

For the purpose of this post and basically all of my posts past and future, I say bipolar disorder because honestly, it’s easier to say that than give you my official diagnoses which happens to be…

Bipolar 2 Disorder with Rapid Cycling, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and “Borderline Tendencies”…

Tell me if that mouthful makes for good small talk haha…

I haven’t been receiving medical treatment all that long but in the close to 4 years that I have been receiving medical treatment, I have been on 6 different medications (a fraction compared to some) in an attempt to find the right combination/dose.

There is a lot of trial and error in trying to find the balance and I am not going to candy coat it…it’s not a fun process…at all… to the point you start to regret your diagnoses even though there is a sense of relief that you finally know what’s going on with you.

Once you find the right medication and dose however, life starts to get easier and you are more eager to commit to the routine.

It has only been in the last year that I have truly started living my life in a healthy, predictable way and part of that is because of  the right medication…right so far anyway.

At the time, accepting the fact I would have to go on medication for the rest of my life was like admitting huge defeat.

I was that person who barely touched an Advil unless I was having a massive headache. I have never liked taking medications of any kind for as long as I can remember.

Now I basically have no choice…well technically I do, but remember the official diagnoses back there? Tell me if you want that version of me walking around with no medication…

Didn’t think so.

I do my best to keep a sense of humor about the whole thing because honestly, I don’t want people to feel like they have to walk on eggshells around me and I for one don’t want to feel like I have to hide my mental illness like some big ugly secret all the time.

Having a sense of humor in this regard is not to downplay mental illness but it certainly helps me to cope with it…medication in this case is not a cure all .

For example, medication can’t fix the times when I start to convince myself that I don’t need to take medication anymore.

This phenomenon seems to occur during times when I feel stable. This is when things have the potential to get dangerous believe it or not because when you feel stable for a long enough period of time, you simply feel “normal” and you start to believe that perhaps you are past all that bipolar/medication crap…you’re not…so not… but the mind is indeed a powerful thing and in some cases people make the mistake of foregoing their medication altogether which opens up a whole other can of ugly worms that trust me when I say…you don’t want to deal with.

Thankfully, at this point I know better but the urge is still there sometimes. It’s not always easy to come to terms with the fact that I have to take medication basically for the rest of my life in order to function properly…like everyone else.

It’s interesting because I feel like if I was taking medication for heart disease, diabetes etc, I would not feel any shame in that or even question it but when the illness is in your brain…well…your identity is wrapped up in that so it’s not like oh there is something wrong with my heart or my pancreas…no…there is something wrong with my brain…aka me.

For 30 years, I thought the life I was living was “normal”. I knew in my gut things were messed up but regardless I built my identity around what now feels like one big giant lie.

Who was that person? Who am I now?  I’m 33 and just starting to find out what life is like when it’s relatively stable.

Believe it or not, having stability in my life has been the most difficult of all to accept. All I have known is a life that consists mainly of words like chaos, abuse, survival, depression, anger, drama… the list could go on but I think you get the idea.

When you live a life with an untreated mental illness, chaos is all you know and then suddenly with the help of medication…

The noise stops…

That is “expletive” scary.

If I could make a comparison, it’s like when Ariel goes from having a mermaid tail to having legs.

From having a beautiful voice to having none at all.

That’s where I am on this journey right now.

Medication has given me the chance to see what life is like on land but I have these new legs and barely know how to use them…I still think a fork is a comb and now I am being told it’s an eating utensil!?…you don’t just simply accept that when all you have known is otherwise. I can safely say without the help of medication, I would not even have the remote chance of knowing a better life for myself.

I know there are some who slam medications like the ones I take. That “Big Pharma” is just trying to numb the world and eat your paycheck in the process.

I will admit, to a certain extent I agree and before my diagnoses I would have been at a protest rally for that belief but when I look back, my life before medication was a giant mess…when you don’t want to live anymore…I don’t know…medication doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.

Suicide from my personal experience is not about wanting to literally die. You just don’t want to live the way you are anymore. You’re exhausted and feel like you have no options left. You just want someone or something to make it all go away.

So yeah, the day I went to my doctor and told them about my obsession with suicide they prescribed me an anti anxiety medication and I took it no questions asked. From there I finally started seeing a psychiatrist who diagnosed me first and then ultimately a second one who concurred.

From there, Google became my best friend while navigating the medication highway.

We joke about the laundry list of side effects that scroll through the entire commercial of some lady riding a bike while smiling on a sunny day and we wonder why on earth would anyone take such a thing when the side effects seem worse than the condition itself?

I could never figure that out either.

But now I think I get it.

When I read about the side effects both short and long term regarding the medications I take, I have come to realize that statistically, I am more at risk by not taking these risky medications than I am for taking them.

Statistically speaking, I am more likely to die by my own hands sans medication.

Morbid but true.

So yeah, I have more or less accepted medication as a necessary evil in my life because I would like to experience my life with a little bit of peace for a change and like every good thing that comes our way in life…it comes with a price.

Medication will not fix everything but it’s instrumental in making sure I stay on the straight and narrow.

God of course plays a huge role in all of this and sometimes I wonder if taking medication for something like this is “ungodly” in some way but I like to think that God works through all of us including the people who created the medication that keeps me sane. Some may disagree but personally, I thank God I have medication in my life.

In closing, I do my best to take things day by day. With each day that passes I learn something new and I grow. It’s new and exciting but also unfamiliar and scary. I will stumble and fall in the process but just like Ariel, I will eventually learn to walk, use a fork properly and in the end, get my voice back. ❤

 

Take Care & God Bless ❤

Cavelle

 

 

 

 

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Mental Break – In Progress Update

Hey guys! 🙂

I know it has been some time since I have written anything here. The main reason being, I have reached a crossroads in which direction I would like to take Mental Break – In Progress.

Technically, I have had this blog for over two years now. The original premise was to create awareness about mental illness in order to combat the stigma associated with it and also to have an outlet and connect with others through something I have always loved and that is writing.

About eight months ago now, I went through some serious life changes and in the process I felt it necessary to delete my blog entirely. In hindsight, I wish I had given it some more thought before hitting the delete button. Two years of written work gone. Just like that!

After considering my actions, I decided no, I don’t truly want to give up my blog so I resurrected it and made an attempt to carry out the original blueprint but something changed…

I changed.

The blog and it’s current format does not speak to me like it once did and therefore I have struggled to write on the topic of mental illness that once came so easily to me.

After much deliberation, I feel I now know the new direction I would like to take Mental Break – In Progress and although I am not looking to turn my back on the original concept, it’s time for that concept to align with where I am in my life today.

As mentioned earlier, about eight months ago my life changed, in the best way possible. On July 1st, 2016 I turned to God to help me for the first time since I was a child.

I was raised to believe in God and went to church from an early age. I said my prayers every night before bed and my father would read the Bible to me and my brothers every night after supper. This would go on until I was around ten years old when my parents ultimately divorced. You see, even though God was present in our home, so was the devil. My home life for much of my childhood was surrounded with mental illness and abuse.

My father was technically diagnosed with bipolar disorder but did not follow through with therapy or treatment. He did not believe that he needed it. My father was also abusive.

Before I go any further, I need to make it clear that I am not trying to say all people with a mental illness are abusive because that is simply not true. The abuse in my family’s case was primarily from my father, whose father and mother were abusive to him and most likely my grandparents parents were abusive to them and so on and so forth.

My mother also comes from a line of family abuse and found herself in a marriage with more abuse. Needless to say, this took a toll on my mother and did not bring out the best in her.

As I entered into adulthood, I would end up finding myself in abusive relationships and I would retaliate with abuse…not my finest hour to say the least but the biggest form of abuse I endured was self abuse.

My entire 20’s was spent in a downward spiral to nowhere and during that time, I lost my way with God. I turned my back on Him. I doubted the word of the Bible, that God was truly watching over me and I scoffed at Christians and organized religion assuming that every church going person, despite their choice of religion, was feeding into a fraudulent, flawed and political agenda.

Now in some cases, that is true and there has been more than one church over the course of time that fits that bill but there are also many that don’t but at that point I just lumped it all together.

Like I said, I turned away from God and I started to focus on things like astrology, tarot cards, numerology…New Age philosophy and the list goes on. I was extremely interested in those subjects and I practiced them. They were my new found spirituality yet at the pit of my gut, God still lingered (although He was a faint light at the time). The thought of a Higher Power still existed in my mind but I attempted to call it everything but God.

Needless to say, during this time, nothing in my life was going right and the self abuse continued to get worse and worse.

When I hit my 30th birthday, something started to change. Perhaps it goes along with starting a new decade of your life. When I turned 30, I cried and I am not entirely sure why. Perhaps it was because I was so far removed from where I thought I should be in life and really had no direction that is until I started this blog.

Oddly enough, being diagnosed with bipolar disorder is when I feel my life truly started to take shape. Many people use their mental illness as a crutch but for some reason, I felt liberated by the experience.

As I started receiving therapy and treatment, I started to notice something. I was changing in a positive way and the people I surrounded myself with were not.

Two years later I would call out to God to help me after finally having enough of the self abuse and the toxic environment I insisted on putting myself in over and over again. It turns out God was waiting for this moment because as soon as I called out to Him, my life changed more than it had in 32 years.

That same day, I left a six year relationship that was not serving either party well and I hopped a plane and moved back to my home town to be closer to my family who had recently in the last year moved back home as well. This would be the first time in nearly a decade that our entire family would be together in person and not spread over long distances and Facebook messaging.

I was prepared to live alone and find myself. I had jumped from relationship to relationship with mild success at best and I was tired of it. I wanted to find me and felt the only way to accomplish that was to avoid romantic relationships entirely.

God on the other hand had other plans for me. When I arrived home my brother introduced me to his friend “D”. D and I discovered we had lots in common and in a short amount of time we found ourselves in love and are currently engaged.

Now on paper it could be argued that I was about to repeat the same mistakes but because I had asked God for help, he not only helped me but blessed me with my soulmate and to be honest, I was beginning to think the idea of a soulmate was foolish and a bunch of fluff.

D and I were on a similar path when we met. We had experienced much of the same hardships in life and self abuse and we both were trying to rekindle our relationship with God and so we took each others hand and started that journey together.

Eight months ago, I would not have fathomed this was possible. I would have told you to save it for fairytales.

So why am I telling you all of this? What does this story have to do with my blog?

Well, it explains the new direction I want to take my blog and that is the direction of God. Just as medication and therapy treats mental illnesses, so too does the word of God. God knows we are suffering and He wants to help you. He didn’t have to help me after everything I had done (or not done for that matter) but He did.

God cannot help us if we do not ask but when we do ask – Wow! He responds in kind. You help yourself by admitting you need help and as soon as you do that, God is so excited to help you.

I want to continue down my new found path with God through this blog and it is my hope that not only can I spread the awareness of mental illness but also the spiritual awakening I am currently navigating. It’s not always going to be pretty. I will stumble and fall. We all do and it may feel like no one has your back but I am here to tell you, God does. You don’t have to agree and I can only speak for myself but I can’t hide anymore and I don’t want to. I want to explore my faith openly.

I hope you will join me on my journey and I look forward to seeing where Mental Break- In Progress 2.0 will take me. I plan to revamp the blog over time to reflect this new path I am on so if you would like, stay tuned for more updates. 🙂 ❤

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Take Care & God Bless ❤

Cavelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Checking In

So in my last two posts I have mentioned going through a medication change/withdrawal. It’s been a bit of a bumpy ride but that being said I see the dust starting to settle and today I am feeling especially grateful.

When I moved home back in July, I started looking for a place to live and a place to work. I have a place to live – check…I did have a job… check?

The thing is, the first job was not for me…I knew this in my gut but I decided to give things a chance anyway…my gut was right. My gut is always right and in this particular instance I was not too thrilled about it but I bit the bullet and left before it became too much.

Turns out call center work is not my calling.

The whole time I’ve been home I have been thinking about applying for a job at a restaurant just up the road from where I live but I put it on the backburner to go for the call center job because it seemed like the better deal. When that didn’t pan out I thought of the restaurant again except this time I was worried I had shot myself in the foot by not going for it the first time.

I bit the bullet again and… it paid off. I start my shift at the restaurant today for some training. I’m going to be a cook there. I am excited. I love working hands on and moving around. It doesn’t hurt I also have restaurant experience under my belt so this is not my first rodeo.

Did I mention I can walk to work in under 10 mins? As someone who has yet to acquire a drivers license this is a huge relief.

I have prayed a lot since my move home. As mentioned in my last post, prayer is powerful. I feel my prayers were answered today and I pray I continue my journey with a steady paycheck.

For those of you feeling the struggle. Pray. Even if you don’t believe in anything or anyone at least believe in yourself…and pray. I don’t care if you pray to a rock. At the very least give it a chance. You may be pleasantly surprised by what transpires when you do. If you don’t want to pray, no worries I will pray for you 🙂

Anyhoooo, that wraps up today’s post. I will keep you in the loop as things evolve. I am just taking things one day at a time.

Take Care ❤

Cavelle

 

 

I only smoke when I drink…

That used to be me…I would only have a cigarette if there was a drink in my hand to go with it.

Turns out, I had a drinking problem…

In hindsight, I was dipping my toe into the dark side of life and it gradually transformed into bad habits like smoking, drinking, overeating and hanging out with the wrong people. It didn’t matter where, when or with who.

This was long before I would receive my bipolar disorder diagnoses. When I look back on my life before medication entered it, I am not sure how I am still standing. Oh wait, yes I know…. it’s the meds…a good chunk of the reason at least.

That negative part of my life seems like a dream.

As I am currently going through a medication withdrawal, I seem to have lost my center. The dream seems real now and I keep having to remind myself that there is nothing to be afraid of.

It’s moments like this that I find myself praying. Prayer whether you consider yourself  to be a religious person or not, is powerful. Prayer helps you focus, it calms your mind and keeps you present. Prayer keeps you in check.

Another way I like to keep the junk in my head at bay is by writing about it. It helps me to organize my thoughts and view them from a more objective standpoint.

I always feel better after I write. I am starting to feel better already as I bring this post to a close.

I would like to write and share a small prayer/poem that maybe helpful. There is power in prayer and even more power in numbers…

Ease my mind this day

For I am here to pray

I pray my worries wash away

That only the light may resume its stay

 

Take Care ❤

Cavelle

 

 

 

 

 

Starting Over

Where do I begin?

I guess should backtrack to a few months ago when I decided to shut Mental Break-In Progress down permanently and without warning…

I apologise for that sudden drop off the blogosphere. I was going through quite the life changing moment and I was purging many things out of my life as a result. At the time, I truly thought my blog was one of the things that needed to go.

Turns out it’s not.

Back in July, I ended a six year relationship. Out of the six years, about four of them were attached to an engagement relationship status.

As a result of this breakup, I decided the best course of action was to move 4000 miles across the country back to my hometown so I could be closer to my family and start fresh. I was tired of city life by this point so small town living was looking really good to me.

Instead of going into all the dirty details regarding this breakup/move I am going to skip it. This blog is public and I don’t feel like dragging anyone through the mud like Taylor Swift does every time she breaks up with someone.

Truth is what’s done is done and by making this move, it turns out many things were waiting for me when I arrived home. Family, friends, support, love….yup…love of my life was in my home town this whole time. We met through my brother and well, things took off from there.

Some may feel I did not allow myself enough time to process the breakup before moving forward. To that I say…my previous relationship fizzled out probably a good year before I actually decided to call it quits so in my eyes the break up was not some fresh open wound…this had been coming for awhile and both parties involved knew it…it’s just neither one of us wanted to admit it…I’m sure many of you out there can relate. You stick it out because you’re afraid to let it go.

Through this whole process. I feel like I am learning how to walk again. All the action that’s happened in the last 3 months has prompted me to change medications and seek out a proper therapist which I am happy to report that I finally get to see one next week.

For those of you battling your own mental illness, medication change can equal chaos…at least at first. I have been going through withdrawal and it’s been overwhelming at times. I am thankful to be in a relationship with someone that truly gets it as he has been down this road before.

I think for now this is where I will sign off. If you’re going through some not so pleasant life changes right now just know that I am rooting for you. They say trouble comes in three’s but I like to believe the good follows at the same rate. It’s just a matter of time.

Take Care! ❤

Cavelle