The Mental Health Chronicles: Happy Two Years!
I've made it to two years on meds! WOO! In case you're new here, two years ago today, I started to take a medication called Lamotrigine, aka Lamictal, for my bipolar disorder (specifically, bi-polar II. Also known as manic depression). I like to write out a life update about how I'm doing mentally.
Compared to last year, I'm shocked at how far I've come. It's hard to imagine myself living in the darkness that I did for years, let alone living in complete denial during most of that period. Every now and then I'll watch or read media about mental health and think, oh, shoot. That was definitely me, but I feel so removed from that now (Anne Hathaway's portrayal of a woman with bipolar disorder in Modern Love immediately comes to mind). It's nice to just feel....normal. My disorder used to eat away at most of my mind. Frankly, I felt like I was going crazy. Now, I feel like I have a lot more control. I take huge pride in the progress that I've made.
Truthfully, I started typing up a paragraph about the effect quarantine has had on my mental health, but even I thought that it was boring. I'll spare you the details about my Netflix binges and naps following the end of my job contract earlier this month. Long story short: quarantine has made me lazy. There isn't a whole lot going on in my life for me to react to, so for the most part, my mental health has felt pretty stagnant. All things considered, that's pretty great! There were a couple days where I forgot to take my medication which had...less than ideal effects. That control I have over my mental health and emotions virtually disappears. But overall, nothing new.
This update is a lot more mundane than last year's, which I take as a victory to truly attest to how normal life has really felt. Well, it's also pretty boring. But I'd rather take boring over depressed and anxious any day. Embrace the mundaneness!
(But really, you should read last year's post. What a difference!)
Disclaimer: Everyone's brain is different! I have bipolar II, which is a lot less severe than bipolar I, so in many ways I'd even consider myself lucky. Don't compare yourself to my mental health journey. Figure out what medication works for you. It's not a one-size-fits-all situation. Hopefully, at the very least, I'll serve to motivate you to move forward in your own journey.
I'll end with some words from last year:
There is nothing wrong with having a mental illness; it may be a part of you, but it does not define you. If you have the means to do so, please reach out for help. Don't deny yourself a life of breathing easy. Root for your own happiness! :-)