I’m not sure how to start this entry, other than the cliche ‘It’s been a couple of crazy months’. I was reading a book last summer, Light is the New Black, by Rebecca Campbell. She speaks about falling off a cliff, and how hitting bottom can help you find new strengths. She says that she hopes the bottom is a ledge, and that we fall even further. I’m paraphrasing here, she writes it much more meaningfully, but you get the idea. What she describes fits exactly how I felt a few months ago.
It’s hard to say when my ‘episode’ first started, but it seems like my mental state really started to deteriorate around the summer time, after the Grady incident. I started having incredibly difficult panic attacks, and I was also in a deep depressive state. I’ll blame a lot of it on Covid, which has made shit difficult for everyone I realize. I also had days that were very stable and I was somewhat happy. During the day, I was with Mila which was enjoyable, I was finally fitting into the ‘stay at home mom’ hat, and enjoying that part of my day. It was the nights and mornings that were really tough.
In December I started to get worse. My focus and attention span was GONE. Some days I could barely cook dinner or focus on any task longer than 5 minutes. I also started to get paranoid and began to have thoughts that people were plotting against me. The day after Christmas I stopped sleeping.
Three weeks later I found myself in the ER at Emory, and the next day I was admitted to Wesley Woods Hospital, a behavioral health center at Emory. I had experienced another severe mental health episode. After a week at Wesley Woods, I transferred to a facility called Skyland Trail, and lived there for 5 weeks. I’m currently at home again, participating in Skyland Trail’s Intensive Outpatient program.
I thought that shit was in the past, but it was not. Just when I had started to open up and speak about my issues in the past, I was hit with another episode, even more intense than the first. 8 years later. Luckily, we had done a good bit of research over the past few years, and I’ve been connected with some amazing therapists, so the ‘process’ of getting me help was much more streamlined and intentional – the first time this happened in 2012 it was a very traumatic experience, so even though my symptoms this time were worse at times, I still had a safe place to go and recover.
This time was also different because I got diagnosed. Bipolar I and PTSD. It’s a relief to type that, to have a name to put to my symptoms the past 35 years. I’ve met some incredible people at Wesley Woods and Skyland Trail. People I call friends. People that have been through it too. I’m learning so much. How to set healthy boundaries. How to communicate clearly and authentically. How to protect myself without walling people out.
There’s still so much more to share about the past half of a year, but I’ll end here for now. It feels good to write about my experiences, and I’m looking forward sharing more about my successes and failures in hopes of connecting with others like me out there in the interwebs 🙂