I Am Bipolar!

I posted the following to my CaringBridge site but I want to share it here as well. . .

IT IS NOT that easy to admit that you suffer from mental aberration, especially so in my case because I have a sister who is a schizophrenic. Yes, mental illness runs in my mother’s side of family and one offspring of hers and three siblings had it. When my youngest sister got it, I thought I was safe because it already appeared in my mother’s side.

Although bipolar disorder (BD) is not hereditary, yet it is known that it is most likely to be had if one of the parents or siblings had it. My sister from before was showing bipolar swings and I am speculating here that because it didn’t get treated, she finally suffered schizophrenia, now chronic, and is totally under my support. This very speculation pushed me to seek professional help, triggered by my actual committing of suicide! Yes, I tried killing myself nearly three months ago. Not the first time though because whenever I was down before, thoughts of wanting to die were always there and in 2002, I attempted but was saved by a visitor coming to the house. I was alone then and was about to slice my wrist with a knife, then the bell rang. I was, literally, saved by the bell!

Would like to share here some posts I wrote on my Facebook, relating my brush with severe depression and my admission that I do need professional help. . .

June 24, 2014
“Depression is a malady, a real disease which is being ignored by the majority. Even I, who suffer from it, ignore it. I have been successful, so far, till of late, of managing it, without any medical intervention.

“Come to think of it, I have no reason, at all, to be depressed! I have a good and comfortable life with a one-in-a-billion husband who loves me unconditionally and who takes care of all my needs, my whims and caprices. I have a big and beautiful house, a car (two cars actually now) with a personal driver to take me wherever I want to go. I have all the time in the world to just not do anything because I have other people doing them for me. I don’t spend time and effort of going to work and subject myself to stress and tension of trying to earn for a living. I have you all wonderful friends and relatives, as well as my family, who care for me, who love me and who are always ready to pray for me whenever some new disease attacks my body.

“Oh, I can go on and on enumerating all the good things in my life. But, you see? Despite all these, why did I want to end my life? It is DEPRESSION which is doing this to me. It zaps all my energy, all my enthusiasm in life – even my strong spirit and faith in God! It blots out all the good deeds and memories. It even makes me forget that there is GOD who loves me and have always been guiding my every move!

“You know what I did the other night? I took a high dose of Insulin in order to trigger a hypoglycemic attack enough to put me into coma and die eventually! Crazy, eh? Why do you think I did it?

“To those of you who are suffering from depression, I know that you experience the same and are also quiet about what you go through. I ask you to seek medical attention, as I will be doing now, before it is too late! With what happened to me, driving me to a point where I attempted to end my life, depression needs to be confronted head on from now on. No more hiding it!”

June 26, 2014
“This is it! No turning back. I really need to confront this malady and although a little agitated – fear of being branded a mental case – am here now at the Kuwait Psychological Hospital with Waleed. The psychiatrist I was referred to hasn’t arrived yet coz we came very early.

“I thank FB for this privilege of having a sound venue where I can talk out all my feelings freely. And I thank you all my friends and loved ones for listening. I know that you are all with me as I confront this sanity-challenging task. As if I don’t have enough of these maladies already! Anyway, I say: Bring them on!”

June 27, 2014
“After taking my history – from birth till the present – including my family history, the very kind and accommodating lady psychiatrist (a Kuwaiti who could be a product of a mixed marriage between a Kuwaiti father and a British mother) diagnosed me, provisionally, as a case of Bipolar Disorder, of which I suspected I have been suffering from since long.

“She started me with two types of medication – Salipax 20 mgs and Seroquel 25 mgs – which she said will take care of the imbalance of the chemicals in my body and also to stabilize my mood. She strictly instructed me to take the meds and to see her after three weeks. Make sure please to come back, she said.

“While taking my history, at one point she asked Waleed to leave the room, she told me that I can talk to her freely and that I should not keep anything from her and assured me that the revelations I will give her stay with her only. She explained that she needs to know everything in my past so she can diagnose me properly and treat, accordingly. I even told her about my fears and the many traumas I endured.

“You are, indeed, one amazing woman with exceptional strength and will to fight and very brave, too, for finally seeking out professional help,” she told me.

“One of the things the doctor suggested I religiously do is for me to keep a journal of my daily thoughts and activities. I told her that my FB has now sort of become a diary where I post my thoughts and activities and if one were to go back to my previous posts, one can easily notice the mood swings I have since long exhibited. One day I am high (mania) and the next day I am down (depression). If I find the exercise helpful and therapeutic, then she advised that I should just continue doing it.

“So, that’s it folks! You will surely hear more from me. I will now be followed up on a regular basis to make sure that the incident of actually trying to end my life will not happen again. Still am having the thoughts though and no matter how I try to think of the many good reasons why I should stay alive, still the thoughts persist. But it is sure liberating to finally admit and acknowledge a condition which I so dreaded to reveal in the past. And I thank you all my friends for staying with me. I just hope that you will not shut me out completely knowing that I am now a psycho case.”

About Author

Freda Editha O. Contreras
Writing is a God-given talent which I try to utilize the good way. I used it as a means to earn a living, my very first job after graduating from college, when I got hired as an Information Writer by the Provincial Government of Antique through Governor Enrique A. Zaldivar in January 1982. By profession, I am a Registered Nurse, and was only able to practice it when I got recruited to work in a private hospital in Kuwait. This was in November 1987 and since then I have been living in Kuwait, now retired since June 2002. Because of my knack in writing I got hired in 1994 to write for Kuwait Times and later became an Editor of 'Pinoy News' a weekly supplement of KT. In March 1996 I published the very first independent Filipino newspaper in Kuwait and the Gulf bannered as Pinoy Expat News or PEN. The paper lasted for only 10 weekly issues. This was followed by another publication and came out first as an insert of an ad paper and later as a separate tabloid. I used then 'Pinoy News' as it was my idea the first time it was used for Kuwait Times. This again failed and produced only three weekly issues. I then turned to the Internet and in 1999 I got hired as a Contributing Editor of Suite101.com, a writers' portal on the web. The last of my articles was published December 31, 2002 but my topic 'Overseas Filipino Workers' was still visible until January 2006. All the 38 articles I wrote have been compiled into a book which I published in August 2007. I discovered blogging in 2006 but was not really serious about my writing. I wrote according to my whim. Having this blog under my own domain name is now a welcome development and I plan to concentrate again in writing. As is commonly said: "A writer will always be a writer." http://fredacontreras.com/

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