Welcome to my blog, Bipolar Lili! The purpose of this site is to share my story; the good, the bad and the weird. I hope by sharing what it is really like to live with bipolar 1, it might help one other person out there that feels unique. I’ve learned I’m not alone, but it doesn’t make it easier, just a little less isolating.
I was born in 1981 in Ohio. I have one older brother. My family moved often, so I learned to make friends quickly, but relied heavily on my big brother. I grew up in the suburbs, but somehow always managed to find a field or creek or nature to play in. When I played, I played harder than any boy. I could widdle a stick, torch a rat, or climb a tree quicker than anyone. Then when I was 7, one night while I we were at choir practice my father decided to take all his possessions and leave our family for a side piece.
My mom says my skin turned dull and I died. I don’t remember much of my childhood. Well very little I should say. I do recall having a very active imagination. I used to see ghost; my ancestors would visit me and keep me up all night playing cards and drinking. I hated when they visited, but I didn’t like being alone. I used to be scared if my closet was left open because there was a dead woman’s head always staring at me which was disconcerting. My room came alive at night after he left. I was always tired. I would see things during the daytime too, but they were funny and kept my mind active. I never told anyone.
Middle school was rough. I didn’t fit in. I would express to my mom how mean girls were and I just didn’t like all the mind games. My mother was a trained school counselor and social worker and knew how to protect me. I was homeschooled from 8-12 grade. It was probably smart considering I was 13 going into the 9th grade anyway.
I flourished. I could study all day long. I played the flute, so would practice for hours on end. I imagined I was a rock star and would write these crazy dark lyrics and sing them to myself in my room. I loved all the alone time. My brother was my best friend. I still made friends my age in youth symphony, community bands and neighborhood theater groups. I didn’t like associating with people because I was an introvert, but I did it. I loved music and art.
I picked Chinese as my foreign language. I started tutoring Taiwanese international students at the local university in my small town in exchange for Mandarin Chinese lessons. I flourished still.
I should mention, my brother broke my heart and went into the navy when I was a teen. He needed to go on his own journey though, I can understand. At the time I felt abandoned again.
I studied what I loved as an undergraduate, I had no concept of the future or a career. I got a BA in Chinese Language and Asian American Studies. My minor was Korean. I also got to travel to China and Korea to study.
When I turned 21, my social life became filled with heavy drinking. My Korean friends introduced me to all sorts of fascinating drinking customs and I loved learning them. I functioned very high at school, so wasn’t concerned with the blackouts I was experiencing, I thought it was normal.
After college I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I substitute taught for a local school district for a while, but was always looking for the next good thing. Eventually I ended up moving states again to teach Mandarin Chinese in NC at a high school. I was excited.
Shortly after moving, I ended up falling in love and married. I was having migraines and was put on Topamax. I later learned this is a mood stabilizer.
After almost 5 years, I kept looking for the next best thing. I was never happy. I was never satisfied. My husband always felt I was depressed, I thought I was fine. Then and opportunity presented itself to join the local police department and I was excited again. I was on a mission and super excited to try to get in & I made it! I was on a super high! My ultimate goal was to become a Homicide detective and that’s all I thought about.
I became totally obsessed with my job. It was the only thing that made me happy. My home life felt stressful, I didn’t like how much my husband drank and tried to contact me during the day. Normal women would probably like it, but there was something wrong. Eventually, after he threatened to kill me, my dogs and his son while we were sleeping I decided to leave home. I didn’t feel safe anymore. So I left.
After taking Topamax for 7 years, I also decided to stop taking it with the guidance of my doctor. I did an ultimate juice fast and a raw food cleanse which stopped my migraine for years.
After my marriage broke up, I quit my job despite being groomed for Homicide, I took out my retirement and fixed up my home, then moved states. I enrolled in two colleges and thought I would completely change my life plan.
When I moved states things changed. I was suicidal. I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 and general anxiety disorder. I ended up self medicating with alcohol and drugs. I lost interest in life. I was hospitalized and medications changed. Then jumped from one treatment center to the next until I realized I had a problem and was willing to put in the work to fix it.
As of 2/16/2017 I have been clean from all mind altering substances and know it has positively impacted my mental health.
I’ve struggled with my purpose, but I know helping people has always been something I love doing. I’ve been reading and listening to so much research about bipolar people and know we are at high risk for suicide. This is close to my heart because I have attempted a few times but by the grace of my higher power am still here for some reason. I think the reason is to help bring awareness to the issue of bipolar suicide prevention. I believe it’s preventable with proper self-awareness, mindfulness, and courage to reach out.
Thank you and I hope you enjoy my blog.