And I mean that in the most serious way.
Yesterday, while I was on a weekend trip to St. Augustine, Florida, I got violently ill while walking along famous St. George Street.
I hadn’t been feeling good all day. On most days, this is quite normal for me.
But my mother waited for me outside a bathroom stall for a half hour, trying to direct impatient tourists away from where I was writhing in agony.
I was afraid I was going to have to go to the hospital. I was weak and unable to even speak for a long time afterward.
And this was after discussing my appallingly high blood sugar with my parents on the trip over.
I am starting to realize that my health and life are not going to come to me as easily as they did when I was a kid.
I’m 24 years old, and I’m still learning a lot about how to play this game, both bipolar and life in general.
Since I moved out of my parents’ house almost six years ago I have been neglecting my health, both because I don’t have health insurance or a lot of extra money to go to my personal care, and, because until I entered my 20’s, I never had a reason to worry about anything but my depression and mania.
Now I’m realizing how much these medications, this stress and anxiety, this lack of self-care depletes you from inside out.
As I said, I have symptoms from a myriad of sources including high blood sugar, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, extreme fatigue, frequent dehydration and light-headedness.
I’m not really treating any of my physical symptoms at this time, partly because I’m nervous about the outcome (what if I can’t pay for all of my ailments?).
It’s also exhausting to keep up with.
I know, though, that physical and mental health is tied together, and that I can’t ignore one and pay attention to the other.
I’ve had pretty rapid weight gain in the last year or so caused by Zyprexa, or olanzapine. I know a lot of you can relate. And this is directly affecting my health.
It’s frustrating to be trapped in the cycle of too sick to exercise, becoming even sicker because you don’t exercise.
The Zyprexa is also the supposed culprit for my high blood sugar. I might have to get off of it, and I am extremely afraid of that.
When I tried to get off of Zyprexa a little more than a year ago due to my weight gain, I went into a severe, suicidal depression that lasted for several weeks. I can’t afford for this to happen, lest I lose my job and everything I’ve worked for in the past year.
It’s almost as if I have to choose between mental and physical health, that I can’t have both. I have become used to that lately, and I am disappointed.
Whether it be physical health or mental health, I am always thinking less about myself and more about everyone else around me. And I mean everyone else, to the point it’s extreme.
I’m always worried about what someone I’m interacting with is thinking, if they’re anxious, if they’re tired of me, if I’m upsetting them, what I can do to alleviate said situation. I’m really tired of that.
I am realizing that I am losing my mind and my body. I don’t have my priorities or focus straight. I’m worrying about a million things I can’t control while I’m neglecting myself physically.
Almost as if these two elements are not in the same place.
Every day, I go to work with a racing heart, stomach aches, headaches, feeling anxious and upset that I have to be on the stage I call daily life.
I’m so terrified of disappointing everyone. I can’t just relax and be mindful of the positive evidence in my life. I don’t need to worry as much as I do.
I can’t keep living this way. I can’t live in fear of everyone else, I can’t live in denial about how things are going for me physically and mentally.
I have to take control, and love myself. It’s not fair that I’m living this way and I don’t think anyone should. This weekend was a big wake up call for me.
I have to start changing things.
How has your physical health been impacted by bipolar disorder? How are you managing it, or not managing it? What has worked for you, and what hasn’t? What advice would you give to young women being affected by physical ailments related to bipolar?