Thursday, February 4, 2010

Coming Out The Closet

When it comes to the world of blogging, how much is too much information? I have often debated blogging about certain topics, but then dismissed the idea because of my employer, or because the world wide web is so public... and somethings are meant to be private. Or are they?

Most of you already know that I struggle with a mental heath disorder, but I never mention it on my blog. And as a result, there is a lack of communication. My community of family and friends don't really know what is going on with Layne and I. I follow some bloggers who share their health issues, and I'm definitely jealous of the freedom they have. Being open with what is happening displays a level of confidence, sharing with loved ones allows them to be supportive. I guess I finally reached the point where I'm not afraid to throw it out there.

Yesterday on NPR, I was listening to the debate on "Don't ask, Don't tell," in the military. How do homosexuals live like this? They are who they are, and by omitting it, they leave out a slice of themselves. I don't want to love 90% of someone. I want to accept them completely, for who they are, the good, bad, and ugly. (Not that homosexuals are bad and ugly. That wasn't what I was saying.)

So I've decided that is it past time to purge myself and "come out the closet" to my family and friends about my mental health disorder. Most of you know, some of you don't, some know but we don't talk about it... so here it is. Just like an AA meeting...

Hi everyone! My name is Mitzi, and I'm bipolar. (Acknowledging it is half the battle. It's easy to forget something is wrong when the medicine is working and you feel so good.) I was diagnosed right after I graduated from college in June 2006, and have spent the last 3.5 years learning to deal with the disorder and cope with it. After time, I've been diagnosed as type II bipolar with depression tendencies, and I'm a rapid cycler.

What does this mean? Well, I suffer from a mood disorder that is characterized by an abnormally elevated mood called hypomania. It's a milder version than the mania that someone who is type I would suffer. I have a tendency to suffer more with depressive episodes, and as a rapid cycler, when my medication is not working, I rapidly alternate between the highs and the lows (hence the term cycling).

I went to the doctor two weeks ago because Layne and I had noticed some severe hypomanic traits. We changed my medications to try to get everything in control, and I went back to the doctor this week. Layne came with me for the first time, and it was really the right thing. He asked a lot of basic, practical questions, and it was good for me to be comforted and reassured by a medical professional. The doctor said that dealing with this disorder takes a combination of patience and hope. It can be hard to hold on to those two things when you're fighting off the lows, but I have an amazing community of family and friends that are my lifeline and my support. Now we're in the waiting phase- it'll take a few weeks for my new prescription combination to take affect. Layne and I are tracking my sleep and my moods, and paying attention to the details we need too.

Layne has been amazing. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

I feels good to have been able to share such a major part of our lives with the blog. This is who I am. This is what our life entails. When we don't share these details with our family and friends, it almost always ends badly, so I highly recommend everyone comes out the closet- it's a huge relief off the chest.


Monica Ramsey said...

Proud of you for sharing... this is like a life journal and this is a part of your life. And I'm glad Layne went with you... fresh, new perspective and a I'm sure he was "back to the basics" in some of his questions, which is great because I would think that things are different now than when you first found out. Thanks again for putting it out there and I'm glad you are self-aware and keep up with things so you can understand and best handle things.

BettencourtFamily said...

I applaud you for "coming out of the closet" about this. I know it must have been scarey to do so but I bet the relief of having done so is worth it. Thank you for being so open and honest with all of us.

Korey said...

I am so proud of you! I am always thinking of you . Love you!