Up until this past two years I thought I was pretty okay. Not terribly socially adept, sometimes painfully shy and introverted, academically bright, sheltered from most of the problems of the world until the past few years, floundering around trying to find my place in the world like most 20-somethings. Intense and moody and just not getting the world, but still pretty normal.
I was living in New Orleans and had just gone through a hurricane evacuation and started my first year teaching special education in an urban charter school. I found myself with my heart racing, unable to sleep. I found myself on Xanax and in therapy and in a new, safer neighborhood but none of it was stopping the downward spiral. I started wanting to step out into traffic while walking to my coffeeshop. I argued everything on the phone for hours talking nonstop and wanted to run over the academic director of my school with a bus, repeatedly. I was painfully and constantly anxious. I tried to hold out until the end of the school year and made it to the first week of May before the anxiety and what I later recognized as hypomania crashed into depression and that's when I first saw a pdoc (psychiatrist takes too long to type every time) and got on Zoloft. The first of many meds.
I survived the last few weeks of the school year and figured vacation would be my salvation, would help me heal, would get me ready for a new school year at a new school. I drove, and drove and drove and drove. 4500 miles from New Orleans to Maryland to New Brunswick to Maryland to Michigan to New Orleans. In there I wanted to run my car off the road in rural Maine after dark where no one would find me. I told my pdoc this and he switched me to Prozac. In the process of switching I had the apartment to myself one Sunday morning and wanted to jump off a 7th story balcony. I survived that thinking and made it back to New Orleans to start the new school year and three days in found myself right back when I'd been on that balcony, except living alone this time. That scared me, that I was that close and had it all planned out, and clearly I told someone or I wouldn't be here typing this. At that point I decided the jig was up on New Orleans and I moved home to Maryland to heal.
Which hasn't happened as quickly as I thought.
Nine months later here I am, still fiddling with meds and looking for answers. At least I know it's bipolar now and not depression and the lithium does work, for most of it most of the time. I worked as a substitute teacher for six months once I could get out of bed (most days), and now I work part-time for the ARC as a job coach for adults with developmental disabilities. I volunteer my time as a Special Olympics sailing coach and as a mentor for NAMI's Peer-to-Peer course. I go to therapy and pdoc appointments what feels like all the time and pop 12 pills a day to try and keep my head on straight.
If you want to read the rest of my story let me know and I'll give you access to my livejournal, also marathoner452.