Name: Brittany T.
Diagnosis/Mental Issue: Bipolar Depression/Disorder and ADHD
So, what’s your story?
Since I was 5 I knew something was off with me but didn’t quite know what. I cried a lot and held irrational feelings of feeling unloved. By the time I was 6 I was put into counseling. From 6 until 22 I was in therapy, seeing multiple psychologist and counselors in and out of the school system. By age 16 I was finally diagnosed with clinical depression. Little did I know that was only the beginning. In 2012 I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. After I quickly developed post-partum psychosis. I ended up having a psychotic break. I attempted suicide in my parent’s upstairs bathroom. I got up to seven pills down, a half a liter of vodka digested, and half a suicide note written before the ambulance was called. Hearing my best friend screaming on the phone crying asking why was I doing this? And watching my sister cry as I was being walked down to the ambulance was the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever endured. I was admitted to the psychiatric hospital for the second time. This was the most bitter sweet moment of my life. Why? I was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder. At first I was in denial, and did heavy research. It hit me like a ton of bricks! Holy sh*t – everything made sense! I exuded every single symptom of a person with bipolar disorder except low self esteem. I felt such a sense of relief. After many trials with finding the right medication I have been on a much healthier, safer, and smarter path in life. But every day is still a battle.
How are you feeling now?:
Today and yesterday were not so good days. I actually started off my morning with a psychotic episode and was having auditory hallucinations. Yes I, Brittany Tobias hear and see things from time to time. Nobody would ever guess and it is not something I share with many people. Many people don’t know that it is actually one of the many symptoms of bipolar disorder. When I get super stressed my brain goes haywire. I hear music, people calling my name, screams, booms. I see shadows. Today it was people singing slow religious music in a catholic church. It’s not real but it is as clear as if the TV was on right in front of me. One time I was so stressed I was convinced people had illegally moved in upstairs at my old duplex. I heard laughter, music, footsteps for weeks. I almost called my landlord. Then I evaluated some things and realized I was having a long-term psychotic episode from all the stress of completing my second to last semester of college. I am thankful I have enough coherence to know it is a hallucination and not real, but it is disheartening to deal with. I also feel alone. I found myself crying last night because I realized I don’t have any family members that I can talk to about what’s going on in this brain of mine. Sometimes its lonely being so different. Just sometimes, because my bipolar disorder plays a huge part in shaping my personality, and that is a personality in which I love.
How do you practice self-care?:
I struggle with the concept of taking medication for the rest of my life so I often stop and start my psychiatric meds. As soon as I feel better, I stop then when I crash I start back up again. It is a vicious cycle. I have decided to not take a mood stabilizer after many years of doing so on and off. Lithium did wonders for me, but in the end I noticed it killed my personality. Brittany is not a docile, calm person. Lithium made every day a good day, and to be honest I missed my manic days and even some of my depressive days, they were familiar to me. So now I monitor-everyday. Every day is a battle, every day I have to question why am I thinking or doing the things I’m doing. Is it my bipolar disorder coming through or is it just me being me?
✨Editor’s Note: ALWAYS take your meds as prescribed, unless directed otherwise by your psychiatrist!
What do you hope to accomplish by sharing your experience?:
We are not alone. I spent my entire life suffering alone. My family just called me dramatic and ridiculed me for all my behaviors instead of trying to understand or seek help for me. It doesn’t have to be like that for everybody. I want people to know outgoing, liberal, silly Brittany is fighting a battle on the inside. What you see is not always what you get. I want my experience to show that it’s ok to talk about this very taboo subject. What you are feeling, sensing, the f*ck ups – I have, and many others have been there too. It’s not our fault, but it is our problem. Let’s educate the masses. People til this day say there is nothing wrong with me, because I don’t act a certain way and I am a productive member to society. Let me sharing my experience open the door for others to get real and get comfortable about this very real issue.