Letter #64

Content Warnings: Suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, PTSD, medication, car accident, bipolar-depression disorder


Dear reader,


I am a bipolar-depressed individual who has had two instances that suffered from both mania and depression. I did not recognize the symptoms that I was manic the first time. I engaged in a lot of risky behavior when I was manic. I saw a psychiatrist here in California after I went to the hospital because of agitation and anxiety due to the medicine I was taking. I went to the Stanford Bipolar Clinic in 2003 after I was released from the hospital and diagnosed with hypomanic bipolar depression. I had been manic from 2002-2003, but didn’t recognize the symptoms. I went off the current medications I was taking at that time. After my mania, I plunged into a deep depression. I had a horrible withdrawal from one of my medications, which was Effexor, that was prescribed by my internist. I was placed on a mood stabilizer and an anxiety medication, but my mood was still depressed until I was placed on Seroquel. My depression lessened, and my mood was more stable as a result. Around that time I also was seeing a psychiatrist and joined a DBT group, and it had a wonderful group meeting where we could practice using the skills in each module. There are three modules that DBT consists of: Distress Tolerance, Emotional Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness. By 2004 I stabilized greatly as a result of the DBT group skills and my medication. While I don’t like the fact that I must take the medication every day, I never want to be in a bad place again with mania and/or depression. 


From 2004-2019, I have remained stable with the medication and the appointments that I go to with my psychiatrist and therapist. I did have a relapse in 2019 as a result of unfortunate circumstances. I felt suicidal again and after seeing my psychiatrist I went to a center for psychiatric care. I talked with a therapist, and she felt I was experiencing post-traumatic stress. After that, I went to an Intensive Outpatient Care program for two weeks, and then I started seeing a therapist as well. I blamed myself for not seeing the signs that I was suffering from post-traumatic stress. I had been in a horrible car accident and could not force myself to drive again. I spoke with my therapist, and he suggested I start driving a short distance and later feel more comfortable driving a further distance. I took his advice by traveling about 10 minutes and didn’t feel anxious as a result.


Many people can experience a relapse even if you have been stabilized for a longer period. I do have challenges when communicating with family members about my mood disorder, except my husband, who has been my rock from the time period when we started dating, and I can still count on him from then until now. He knows a lot about my disorder and my medications, and he has saved my life more than once. If anyone is suffering as a result of their mood disorder, they can see an improvement when they seek psychiatric care. I can have a normal life with my psychiatric care, even with many challenges I face.

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