“Pill shaming”

“Pill shaming”

I read a lot of articles on bipolar disorder just so I can stay on top of the educational part it brings that’s is up to date. Recently, I’ve read this article on pill shaming, which isn’t something that I never heard of before. The article first stunned me because it expressed how Kanye West ( a rapper, who I use to be obsessed with), is diagnosed with bipolar disorder and wasn’t taking his medications like he should have been.

First, I was like “wow, I can’t believe this, do you know how awesome it is for a celebrity to come out and say they are suffering from a mental illness”. Celebrities bring a lot of awareness, because let’s face it, most people look up to them and often listen to them. Although, I’ll never wish this disorder on anyone, I was honestly thrilled that someone who is so big in the industry understands what’s like to have bipolar disorder. I hope this gives motivation for those who are ashamed of bipolar disorder the courage to accept their diagnoses and take their medications, while following a treatment plan.

The article didn’t specify on why Kanye wasn’t compliant with his medications however, he was advised to get back on his medications and to not feel any shame on being on them. There are a lot of reasons people feel shame when it comes to taking their meds, as well as many reason to why they don’t take them at all.

According to Hu, who is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology stated, “Many people with mental health issues lack insight and do not believe that they have a problem”. This is very true, a lot of the time when someone gets diagnosed they are in denial for a really long time. I know that because I was one of those people. I was so convinced that if I just pushed it far, deep into the back of my mind, it wasn’t true. “Out of sight, out of mind” kind of thing.

Let’s go down the list of why people stop taking their medications, because after all medication adherence is one of the most difficult & challenging factors when it comes to those with mental health illness.

1. As I said before, most people think “I don’t have a problem”.

These people fail to realize how serious their mental illness is and for the most part it’s because they in are in straight up denial. If they start taking medications they believe that they can’t handle their illness on their own. Sorry to burst this bubble, but you absolutely can’t handle it on your own. It is simply out of your hands, you need all the possible help you can get, and medications is the first and important start. There is nothing wrong with you if you need medications, you’re not weak, you’re not not independent. You are simply just someone who needs medication to deal with the kind of mental illness you may have.

2. Some people think that needing medication says something bad about them.

Anyone who suffers from bipolar disorder or any other mental health issue has to take their medications on a daily basis. That alone is a continual reminder to them that there is something “wrong” with them. This often leads to one thinking less of themselves, because they do in fact have a disorder/illness because they need the medication. These kind of feelings feed shame. It perpetuates behaviors and emotions leaving someone feeling alone and isolated for the most part and when that happens, it can make symptoms of any mental illness more severe. I like to think of it this way, yes I suffer from bipolar disorder and yes I have to take my medications daily, but bipolar disorder does not define me as a human being. I am more than this disorder, and more people need to think of it that way and continue their drug regimen.

3. “I feel better & I don’t need medicine now”.

That is one of the most and I mean most common reason people stop taking medications, and quite honestly the dumbest reason of all ( not to be judging ). But come on people that’s like common sense 101, of course you feel better, that’s what the medication is doing. To stop it isn’t going to continue allowing you to feel better, it’s going to do the complete opposite. It’s only a matter of time before symptoms reoccur once you stop taking your medications and believe me that “I feel better” feeling will disappear in a snap of a finger.

4. ” I don’t have money.”

Unfortunately, some health insurance companies do not provide mental health treatment and pay for psychotropic drugs. Which I personally find disgusting. It breaks my heart knowing there are a lot of people with mental health illness who don’t have the means to get the help they need. I wish this was something that was a priority when it comes to someone’s health and insurance companies treated this situation as a must and change the game on this. Providing full coverage when it comes to mental health. But, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Perhaps going to a free clinic they can offer medications without any cost. Doing more research on this is highly important, so if you don’t have the funds, try to find a medical office that provides samples of medications that they can give you for free. My psychiatrist office gives me samples of Latuda while I wait for a prior authorization on my medication. There are doctor offices that do this.

5. “The side effects are worse than the symptoms.”

While it’s true, side effects of antidepressants, anti-anxiety medicine, and psychotropic drugs can include sedation, insomnia, drowsiness, dry mouth,weight gain, sexual issues, and so on. Often, side effects subside after our bodies acclimate to the medication, but some do persist. You have to find the right drug for you. That takes time and a lot of patience, but in the long run it’s well worth it and the pros start to outweigh the cons.

6. ” I don’t like feeling shamed.”

When it comes down to mental illness diagnose & treatments they still carry a large amount of air in shame for many people. According to a therapist in New York, Dr. Robin Gold, ” In society, there is a common misconception that if you take medication for mental health diagnosis, it means you are not as strong as you should be, or that you’re crazy.” I think that’s a loud of bullshit. You are strong, you’re strong enough to know that you have an illness like any other that needs medications. You’re a fighter, that fights the disorder with medications every single day, and you’re far from crazy!!! Don’t let anyone ever call you crazy, because there isn’t anything crazy about you.

Finally: ” what is pill shaming?”

When someone is consistent and adhere their medical treatment they may start to feel as if some people around them are pill shaming them. Especially if they open up to some close people about the medications they are on. Some friends or family may say you don’t need pills. You just need to work out more, or eat better, or spend time mediating. That is a form of pill shaming. When people express negative opinions when you share the fact that you’re using medications to treat a mental health issues. You start to assume-wrongly- that taking medication signifies weakness of character to work through tough times. But, you got to remember these people pill shaming you aren’t doctors. They have no idea what you’re dealing with on a daily basis. Their opinions do not matter in this case and the best thing to do is ignore them and continue to believe you’re on the right path to recovery. You’re strong. Don’t let societies stigma & lack of knowledge stop you from taking your medications. Don’t let others shame you. You’re better than that to believe they know what’s best for you. You and your doctor know what’s best for you, and what’s best is taking your meds and seeking therapy.

People need to understand that it is never helpful to shame individuals struggling with mental health issues and to discourage them from getting the right help in the same way they would for any other medical condition. We didn’t choose to have these disorders, just like most people with cancer or heart problems chose to have those. And if they are compliant with their medications, why shouldn’t we be ? Treatment for mental health conditions can help end symptoms, restore quality of life, and allow you to feel healthy once again. We need to seek out and receive on going treatment if we want to destroy the disorder. It is the only way.

Stop pill shaming today, share the truth, expand people’s minds, and don’t let them get in your head. Have a blessed night everyone.

8 major myths & facts about bipolar disorder.

8 major myths & facts about bipolar disorder.

It is esstentially harmful for people to have the wrong type of information when it comes to bipolar disorder. There are a lot of misconceptions out there, which can cause stigma, therefore I want to be as informative as Best as I can.

First myth: Bipolar disorder is a rare condition & does not affect a lot of people.

Fact: Bipolar disorder affects 2 million adults alone in the United States. One in every five Americans has some kind of mental health condition.

Second myth: Bipolar disorder are just mood swings and everyone seems to have that.

Fact: The highs & lows of bipolar disorder are very different from common mood swings. Individuals with bipolar disorder experience extreme changes in energy, activity, & sleep that aren’t typical for a person. An anonymous psychiatrist stated “just because you wake up happy, get grumpy in the middle of the day, & then end up happy again, it doesn’t mean you have bipolar disorder–no matter how often it happens to you!” This is because when it comes to bipolar disorder doctors don’t look at just emotions. What they look for is symptoms that don’t just last for a couple of hours during a day. For someone to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the “mood swing” has to exist on a daily basis for at least two weeks.

Third myth: There is only one type of bipolar disorder.

Fact: If you have read any of my previous posts regarding bipolar disorder you’ll know that there is bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymia, & bipolar disorder otherwise not specified. People tend to put individuals who suffer from bipolar under one whole category, NO! That is wrong! Individuals suffer from different kinds of bipolar disorder.

Fourth myth: Bipolar disorder can be cured through diet & exercise.

Fact: As much as I would love for this to be true, bipolar disorder is a life long chronic illness & there currently isn’t any type of cure for it. It can however, be well-managed with medication and talk therapy, avoiding stress, maintaining regular sleeping patterns, eating well, and getting exercise. Not a cure! But definitely doing the leg work helps in more ways than one.

Fifth myth: People who are in the midst of mania are productive. They are in a great mood & really fun to be around.

Fact: In many cases a manic person may feel great at first, but without treatment things can become detrimental & even terrifying. An individual may go on a huge shopping spree, spending way beyond their means and falling into debt. Some individuals become overly anxious or extremely irritable. They easily get upset over small things and snap at people they love. A manic person may lose all control of their thoughts and actions and sometimes they can even lose touch of reality.

Sixth myth: People who are artistic will lose their creativity if they get treatment.

Fact: This is absolutely not true! Do not believe this one! Treatment often allows you to think more clearly, which will likely improve your work. Think about it, when you’re off your medications do you think as clear? Can you streamline your thoughts off your medication? I know you don’t because I am you. Our minds are racing a thousand seconds per minute. This isn’t healthy nor helpful for creativity.

Seventh myth: People who suffer from bipolar disorder are always either manic or depressed.

Fact: Individuals can experience long periods of even, balanced moods known as Euthymia and sometimes some may experience something known as a “mixed episode”, which means a person experiences both mania and depression at the same exact time. This is highly dangerous, as I stated before.

Eighth myth: All bipolar medications are the same.

Fact: What might work for me, may not work for you. All medications work differently on different individuals and that’s why it is important to work with your provider to find the best medication that suits you. Responding extremely well to the right treatment can benefit your lives in a very satisfying way. A clear mind and a balanced life will bring happiness in all aspects of your life.

Find the right provider. Work together as a team to find the right medications & treatment plan for you. All of us who are doing our best to live healthy lives will end the stigma. If we all do this together – it will set an example for those that are just being diagnosed. We can improve ourselves and those around us. We can help save lives.

Share your knowledge & bring awareness! Stop the myths & learn the facts!

God bless everyone. 🙂

“It’s just a bad day…”

“It’s just a bad day…”

I’m always trying to stay positive in every aspect of my life because I’ve been on the other side for so long that now I just want positive vibrations & energy around me. I don’t know what’s going on, but the last two weeks, I’m constantly irritable. My mood is drastically low. Everything and everyone is bothering me. I feel like I am mad at life and I don’t know why.

All day long today I felt bothered, and for no apparent reason. I didn’t want to be at work. People and work were annoying me. I just wanted to get away, be somewhere else…anywhere else. If I had a specific location in mind I would share it, but I didn’t and I don’t.

I think I’m missing therapy, I haven’t been for awhile now, and honestly when things were this bad it helped me in so many ways. Just talking to my therapist about things would feel like a relief. Now I feel like I am constantly suffocating, searching for something, anything to make me feel better about myself.

I just want to get home and get under my covers. I’m not in the mood for conversation, I want to be left alone, I just want to sleep. I try to tell myself “it’s just a bad day, not a bad life”, but it’s been just a bad day every single day for the last month it seems. Maybe more. I haven’t seen my therapist since then, if not longer.

I know better than anyone else, with this disorder medications aren’t enough; therapy is crucial. It is a must for a healthy balance, and for some damn reason I can’t seem to get myself to therapy. I’m either too tired, or say “I’ll go next week”, etc.

It’s not even 8 pm yet, and I feel extremely exhausted. I’m running on low battery. I feel snappy, I think it’s time to go home.

Once upon a mania…

Once upon a mania…

Earlier I shared how happy I was. I got home from work & started looking through my planner. I started filling in dates that needed to be filled and I went into August. Besides putting in my work hours I had no idea what else to add. September is right around the corner; I’ll be right back in school. Working and going to school. Where the hell did my summer go ? All I’ve been doing is recovering from this surgery and working. I haven’t gone to the beach not once, I haven’t went out once, I haven’t done anything but stay home.

Doctors orders; no sunlight. Once upon a time during a manic episode I decided to let someone who I thought was a friend & actually good at her job do microblading to my eyebrows. For the record I didn’t need it; my eyebrows were perfect. I don’t know what on earth I was thinking but after allowing her to convince me–I let her do it. For those of you who do not know what microblading is, it is when you tattoo your eyebrows to look fuller. I didn’t research her work. I went on her word on how good she was. After it was said and done my eyebrows looked horrendous. They were uneven, and way too thick. Of course during this time I was manic and thought “why not, just do it..whats the worse that can happen”. The worst that did happen was that I looked like a cartoon and without makeup I couldn’t dare be seen.

I decided to remove it. At first I went to this specialist in removing tattoos through lazar removal. It became tedious to have to go every 3 months and not seeing any results. The pigmentation was far in too deep and it was costing me a pretty penny to do this. The girl (who messed them up) kept telling me to come see her for a removal and she would do it at no charge. So, I finally gave in.

Again, I was manic. I wasn’t medicated just yet. I allowed her to do the removal, she swore she done a million times and assured me it would heal in two weeks. In about two weeks I had this really bad infection. I messaged her asking if this was all normal and she told me to apply Neosporin..& so I did. Constantly. Once the infection subsided there were two huge dents on the side of each eyebrow. I was so devastated. I missed school, stopped going out, and when I went to work I was caked up in makeup.

Last year, my girlfriend realized how miserable I was and she found this plastic surgeon in NYU. By the way, he is the best hands down. If anyone ever needs one, he is the man you need to see. Dr. Edward Rodriguez aka the man. After 3 surgeries, three lazar procedures; my dents are totally gone. The only issue left was the scar tissue around it. My last surgery he grafted my skin to fade out the scars. I am still healing, the surgery was only two weeks ago. My doctor says this is the end of the road and although I will never look the same; this was the best anyone could do. He is totally right, we have done all we can do for this, it’s time to cut the cord.

In the meantime during my recovery I am not allowed in the sun. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love the beach. How the beach and I are one. That is my favorite place in the world; especially in the summer. I regret to inform you guys, I haven’t been to the beach yet. I am sad. I want to tan, I want to feel the sand in my toes, and I wanna dip in the ice cold water. This is the worst summer ever.

Don’t get me wrong, I want my face to heal correctly, and I want to stop having surgeries. I am exhausted and this isn’t cheap. I just want to look like I use to and go to the beach. Am I asking for too much ? Summer is almost over, and if it ends and I don’t have at least one weekend in the sun I am going to severely hate life.

Life lesson: when we are manic we do the most dumbest fucking things in the world thinking it’s fucking genius. Although, somethings maybe; this wasn’t one of them. I completely ruined a beautiful face. I fixed something that wasn’t even broken and I’m paying more than anyone will ever know for this stupid decision. Add it to my list of regrets.

I pray that all of this was worth it and I feel comfortable enough in my own skin even when I don’t have any makeup on. God willing, I will be more than happy with the results when all of this is done. Maybe missing the beach won’t be such a bummer then.

God bless everyone.

The little things

The little things

Im sure you all have heard the saying “it’s the little things that count”. I don’t know about most people, but to me that quote is absolutely true. In life we tend to over look the small things done for us, given to us, shared with us. We tend to take them for granted because most people want too much. I have learned that those little things by far are better than the “big things”. Not that the big things don’t matter, however the small things let you learn to appreciate both.

Personally, the little things make my world go round. Like you know I love Carmel macchiatos for breakfast and every morning you get me one. Not because you have to, but because you know that’s what I need to get my day started. Like most people I use to take those kind of things for granted, although now I know better.

I love the little things. The small kisses when we first wake up, the cuddles we share throughout the night, and the cute names you call me during the day. My significant other is my best friend and without her and her “little things” my life would feel empty, small, shallow.

She has helped me not only with dealing with my bipolar disorder, but teaching me how to live a better lifestyle; I’m forever grateful to her ( even though sometimes I have a hard time showing it). I hope she knows. Life wouldn’t be the same without her, and I hope together our lives are better than ever.

Today I am feeling happy, I am feeling like my best friend and I are unstoppable. Her not being by my side makes this disorder that much harder. So, thank you love. Thank you for loving me, and thank you for those “little things” I so badly need.

I hope you all have some type of support system to get through this disorder because doing it alone is critical. It is the hardest thing ever, and I know because before her I wouldn’t let anyone in. That is not the right way to get about things. The bigger your support system is, the better chances you have at maintaining a healthier lifestyle. It is proven with any illness. Just google it.

Anyways, today I feel grateful and I hope everyone suffering finds something in their lives to feel grateful about. This disorder sucks ass, but there is light at the end of that dark tunnel. You just have to want to find it.

Have a blessed Wednesday everyone. Stay strong and appreciate those “little things”.

Waves

Waves

I haven’t been writing because I been too depressed. I can’t seem to put my thoughts into words. It’s as if this all happened so quickly and without any warning. It’s like a fatal car crash, you just don’t see coming; and boom you find yourself trying to fix something so tragic. It was out of my hands, or at least that’s what it felt like. Everything was going so well, I was happy, I was writing, I was embracing everything about myself. Only to now feel like I jumped down the rabbit hole and there’s not one hand there to help pull me out. Is life always this way? Are we always alone through our worst moments? Even those people who we think we can depend on–find a reason to exit. Every single day I’m in a room surrounded by people, and every single day I feel like I am totally alone. I’m not totally alone though, because my pain is with me. The thing about pain though, it demands to be felt. You can try to push it all the way down, fake your smiles, engage in conversations you don’t want to–but your pain is sitting right on top of you and you feel like you can barely breathe.

Self destruction is a real thing and most of the time we don’t know that we are doing it. I think I self destruct a lot, but does that mean I deserve to go through my pain alone? Do I deserve to be judged, embarrassed, and feel hopeless.

Ride the waves they say. One day you’re happy and the next day you feel like your pain is chocking the life out of you. No matter what though, you have to ride the waves. The thing about waves though, is I can’t swim, so they are smacking me back and forth with the most intense impact one could ever feel.

I don’t know how to make things right, and maybe right now I don’t want to. I feel exhausted and misunderstood. Maybe tomorrow will be better, maybe it won’t. All I know is, I have nothing or anyone, just myself and this pain….oh and these damn waves.

“I have bipolar II disorder” A special little quote I love.

“I have bipolar II disorder” A special little quote I love.

“My moods change more often than the seasons, and with my moods, my energy levels change also. I am either too up or too down, but I’m rarely in between. When I’m down, I can not just snap out of it. I can not think positively to make it all go away. I can barely pull myself out of bed and into the shower. Being around people is just too hard. I don’t always feel sad, sometimes I don’t feel anything at all. It may seem like I am giving up, but this is when I am fighting the hardest, just to stay alive. When I am up, life is wonderful. Nothing can go wrong, and I have all the energy in the world. I want to go out, I want to DO, I want to accomplish. I am confident. I talk too fast, I think too fast. And it bothers me when those around me can’t keep up. Sometimes I am irritable or snappy. I want things done my way. I want everything done at once. I’m impulsive. I like being up more than being down, but I am down much, much, much often. The hardest part of this disorder is that I never know when my mood will change. It is a rollercoaster, and it’s exhausting to ride the rollercoaster every single day of your life. I hide what I’m going through in order to make you feel more comfortable, and I am tired. I did not ask for this, any more than a person asks for cancer. I fight it everyday. I am stronger than you know.”

I do not know who wrote this, I found it on pinterest & thought; this is my life. This is how I feel. This quote was made for me. Whoever wrote it, I couldn’t have written it better myself. I wish I knew so I could give them recognition, and a hug. Let them know I feel this way too. It is as if they jumped into my brain and wrote down my thoughts. It makes me proud seeing things like this because people aren’t hiding behind their disorder anymore. They are telling their truth. And while it may not be pretty or even remotely flattering; it is their raw, deep, chaotic lives.

This is the chaotic mind. This is our emotions and feelings. This is the way we live and it is so hard, but we all are so brave. Don’t get off the roller coaster, it is worth the ride; even when it seems like it’s too much.

Have a blessed Saturday everyone.

Certain triggers.

Certain triggers.

There are some people who come into your life with the worst intentions ever and slowly but surely become a trigger for you. Even though this person is thankfully no longer in my life, there are certain dates that cause triggers. Which lead me to be horribly mad and depressed. July 4th is one of those many days. I’m busy at work so I am trying not to think about the past too much or even the bullshit I dealt with knowing I should have left for good this time last year. The problem was this one person was someone I grew up with and they actually meant a lot to me so, I put up with shit I should have not. We are no where on speaking terms because this year revealed the type of person they truly are. I’m not going to sit here and act all innocent like I wasn’t irrational or my behavior was any better than theirs. The thing is this, they are living their perfect envisioned life while I am having a horrible day due to unfortunate memories. This day is always going to haunt me whether I like it or not. Add it to my list of regrets. Feeling nothing but depression today. So much for fireworks.

Have a blessed one ya.

“Welcome to the Jungle”

“Welcome to the Jungle”

“Welcome to the Jungle” by Hillary Smith is one of the best, and I mean truly one of the best books I have read about bipolar disorder. It’s so brilliantly written that even as I re-read it – I find it brilliant each and every time. I highly recommend this book. It’s also one of the first books that gave me the most efficient and well put information on the disorder. She goes in depth about her own life, being manic, depressed, and having psychosis, about medications and therapies, and a whole bunch of other subjects regarding anyone who has no freaking idea how to face their bipolar disorder without “freaking out.”

It honestly helped me view my disorder without all the drama and stigma associated with it. It made light of what is heavy. Not that it made it not significant, but it made it easier to digest. It gave me the total insight on the things I needed to know but didn’t know how to ask. The book can help you in more ways than you can imagine and it’s not at all one of those books you throw across the floor because you are consumed by boredness of it. She is the real deal and she’s funny, witty, & curses (which is my cup of tea in any person. … profanity shouldn’t be frowned upon!). She is passionate, and her words pull you right into the mood of wanting to know more. In addition, and the highlight of it all – her words make you want to be the best version of yourself and to apply to your life the things she talks about. And guess what?!? You will! Simply because thats how fucking amazing this book is.

I’m sharing this with you guys because I want everyone who suffers from this disorder to find the light at the end of a really long and dark tunnel. Most people do not know this but people who have bipolar disorder are one of the most creative people in the world. Guess we are wired that way. That alone is a gift we should embrace. So, embrace it… I dare you.

“Jungle wanderers know that life is long and contains infinite possibility. They know that things that seem important in the short term are often less important in the long term; that setbacks can have hidden gifts and that successes can contain hidden setbacks; and that the ingredients for a meaningful life are not always what they tell you in school. They often use this perspective to help other people going through the jungle for the first time.”

The jungle is chaotic but still very beautiful and that is what this book will teach you. You will learn so much, you will feel the words as they roll of your tongue, you will understand that you’re not alone. This book will help you be the best version of yourself. I stand by this book with my entire soul because it is that real and totally liberating. So my fellow “jungle wanderers” go and make this purchase. It is money well spent – I guarantee it.

“Welcome to the jungle” ladies & gentleman & don’t be scared of the lions, tigers, and bears.

Where there’s one… there’s another…

Where there’s one… there’s another…

Most of us who have bipolar disorder know about comorbidity. This is when you’re diagnosed with one disorder and you get diagnosed with a few more. For example, I am diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, but I’m also diagnosed with major anxiety, and ADHD. You could imagine the multitude of medications that I am on. One for the actual bipolar (Latuda), one as a mood stabilizer (Lamictal ER), one for my anxiety (Klonopin), and one for my ADHD (Adderall). Nice mixed cocktail, eh? Unfortunately for me, they are a must. Otherwise I cannot function. Especially when I am depressed and need to keep myself highly functioning and focused. Those A+’s in school don’t come without a sacrifice. For me there is nothing else. I aim to be the best!

Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about all my medications. For one, I feel like my Klonipin has reached it’s limitations on helping with me with my anxiety. The longer you take anything the more your body becomes extremely tolerant to it. My psychiatrist lately has been a total fucking moron. Either it is his age or he has lost any interest in helping me. I definitely need to look into changing my doctor. The mood stabilizer isn’t so bad. I do feel less temperamental, even though when someone upsets me it’s very, very, very bad. My anger is something I cannot control and no one seems to understand that. My bipolar medication seems to work as well. I don’t feel as depressed as I did before. I do think about minimizing the dosage of it. I think it has a lot to do with me getting fatigue. I will look further into this with hopefully a new psychiatrist.

Comorbidity is just what happens to many people when you get diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It is never just ONE diagnosis. It is never just one pill solves all. Where there is one problem, it compacts into another. And the list goes on and on. It almost feels like you’re some broken person with an unstoppable train of problems. Trust me, you’re not!

One of the most prevalent comorbidities of today’s day is substance abuse. It is rated the highest among people who suffer from bipolar disorder and it’s very depressing. Most people tend to seek an escape from their disorder because sometimes it’s very hard to live with it. Has anyone experienced substance abuse as their comorbidity? If so, please share.

Thank you everyone & have a blessed evening.