Bipolar Me

Today I woke up feeling a little off.  Okay, let’s make that a lot off. Lately I’ve been feeling increasingly sad and today seemed to shift it into another gear, or perhaps I should say take me to a darker shade of grey. What’s going on, you query, with this wacky mind of mine?

For starters, I miss rehab!  Crazy, huh? My family had to intervene in my life and convince me to go and now I wish I could return.  But the community and camaraderie made me feel connected in ways like never before.  There was a crew of warriors, battling individually and collaboratively, to slay our mental health demons.  For so long I had suffered alone and suddenly I found solace in knowing I was not alone. Now, sometimes, I feel alone again. And then there’s the fact that I have to cook for myself!

Since leaving my “inpatient rehab”, I’ve moved onto an Intensive Outpatient Program (or an IOP, for those in the know). My first program since leaving rehab? Not exactly a hit. One of the reasons I chose the program was due to a holistic approach and commitment to working with individuals with a dual diagnosis (as in Bipolar + Addiction = me). Now that I’ve been there a few weeks, I’ve discovered that the yoga component is a 1 hour class every two weeks, surrounded by a bunch of crude men making fart jokes, who don’t know the difference between a downward dog and an uptown socialite’s French poodle. And the dual diagnosis component? A bonus hour of therapy once a week to huddle with other patients in double trouble. For the most part, the sessions focus on addiction and utilize a group therapy format- kind of like AA, except half the people don’t want to be there and you have to pay!

So, once again, I am faced with the daunting challenge of finding an adequate treatment plan to get help. Time to complete an insurance search, utilize some search engines, pull out that dartboard, put on that blindfold, sharpen those darts (don’t worry- I won’t self harm myself- these are metaphorical darts!),  and find myself some doctors. Yes, it really does feel that random, confusing, and hopeless.  Yesterday I found a program that looked especially promising, based on a website that described their treatment of individuals with Bipolar Disorder and the fact that they accepted my insurance, as far as I could see.  I left a message yesterday but there was no return call.

Today I woke up, undeterred, and called again.  An actual human picked up!

“Hello,” I stated, playing the part of a stable person. “I was calling in regard to your outpatient psychiatric services for Bipolar Disorder?”

A quick response: “What insurance do you have?” Okay, no need to beat around the bush.

“Aetna.”

No hesitation. “We don’t accept Aetna. You should contact them for suggestions.”

My voice catching a quiver. “I did, they said they worked with you. Are you sure?”

Cold, heartless, front line of the wonderful helping medical profession replies, “Yes.” Click.

So much for that plan; so much for finding a place that seemed like a match for me.

What’s a mental health survivor, like myself, to do? I can not lie, I had a little cry. For the first time in weeks a wave of desperation washed over me and pulled me back into bed. The tears came as I wondered WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH ME?, once again. My old familiar refrain. So much has changed but that thought remains the same, sneaking out of the attics of my intellect and stabbing at my soul, kicking at my spirit, meddling with my mind. You may have been up but now you are down; time to replace that smile with a frown. Happiness stop coming round, we gonna keep this brother down.

But the story doesn’t end there. I let the emotions wash over me then I moved on. I pulled out some of the tools from my Mental Health Survivor Toolkit.   I read a daily devotional (okay- I read like three!) and had a (not so) Manic Mindfulness Moment.  Next I whipped out a little bit of my newly acquired Negative Self Talk Remover with the secret ingredient of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, for those in the know), guaranteed to make crazy, defeating thoughts at least 73% weaker (statement not tested or approved!).

There is nothing wrong with me. I am alright. I am strong. I am a survivor. I am in recovery. I will get through this moment and get through this day. I will get help. I will help myself. I am at peace on this place in my path- and it feels right.

Then I sat my Bipolar butt down at the keyboard and cranked out this journal. And you know what? I now feel a little better. Time to go throw some darts, hoping for a bullseye at last.

My name is Tryantobenew and I am Bipolar. I am a mental health survivor.

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