I am Christina,
I Live with Bipolar...
“But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their STRENGTH renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; the will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak.”
Mental Health is very close to my heart. I am a survivor of years of depression, anxiety and panic attacks. My OCD causes many internal and external arguments which lead to more anxiety and panic. There is family history of Mental Health and my genes were not skipped.
I grew up, until my 8th birthday, in rural, at the time, Eureka, MO. We lived on a farm. Horses, pigs, cows, sheep, goats, chickens… they were a child’s playground of excitement. Feeding them daily with my father and milking the goat with my mother, always brings a smile to my face when I think back on those days.
We were happy, so I thought. My mother was often sad. She suffered from Manic Depression, what we know of today as, Bipolar Depression. I was abused by several adults, sexually, from an early age. The memories still haunt me today, at 45.
Growing up, my emotions were hard to control. My mood swings were all over. The tantrums, I couldn’t express myself, I didn’t know how, only to cry and scream into my pillow. I would self harm, scratching my arms until I broke skin. I wouldn’t eat. I would eat too much and then purge. I didn’t take care of myself.
In my early 20’s I sought help from my doctor. I recognized the signs. I knew there was more to my emotions. I knew I needed help. So started the plethora of medications. Every 6-9 months, sometimes at a year check up, they would be changed. I gained weight. I was miserable. I was in and out of relationships. I couldn’t find happiness.
I lost my faith. I lost all hope. I just went about each day in a fog. Until December of 1997, I met an amazing young man. On our first date we went back to where we met. We drank and laughed. He dropped me off and I asked him in. I didn't want anything. He didn't expect anything. We sat up talking until 3:30 in the morning. We both talked of our childhood, our college years and moving into the working world. I felt a connection and for the first time in my life I felt SAFE. I spoke of my past as if he were there. Never had I opened up to someone, a guy nonetheless, like this. Yet, he never batted an eye. He never judged me. He asked if he could hold me. I cried and he calmed me. Before he left that morning, he kissed my forehead and asked if I would meet him at 4 pm mass at the hospital. God was leading me. My prayers of desperation were being answered. I just didn’t see it yet.
We married two years later, and through all the ups and downs, he stood by my side. It was painful and hard at times but again, he never batted an eye. Through it all, he was there. He was my savior on earth. He was by hope.
We have three kids, a girl then two boys. All teens at the moment. Our daughter has moved out for college. Our sons are in High School and 8th grade. Over the 23 years together with many more to come.
The continuation of doctors appointments and medication changes, nothing was seeming to help. That is when we decided I needed more than just internal medicine to help. We sought after a counselor and psychiatrist. So began the long road of where I am today.
In 2017, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Depression and High Anxiety Disorders. I FINALLY had an answer. I went through Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Art Therapy, EMDR Therapy and regular talk therapy. I even did outpatient group therapy for 8 weeks. Things were not horrible but I still was not there.
August of 2019, my husband found TMS Therapy (https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/transcranial-magnetic-stimulation/about/pac-20384625) and asked me to look into it. I went to the consultation. I was called back to speak with the psychologist on staff. Another new doctor –but this time was different. He ACTUALLY LISTENED to me. LISTENED to all the medications I have been on, my life story, my struggles of being a mom and the over worry my children were going to experience what I had. He listened intently. He let me cry on his shoulder from across the room. He CARED.
Unfortunately, thanks to the awesome insurance world, they would not pay for the TMS therapy and the cost to pay out of pocket was upwards of $12-15K. Since I had been diagnosed as BIPOLAR – the therapy only covered DEPRESSION. But the bright side was , Dr. C took me on as a patient. I saw him every three weeks. We worked through all the medications I had been on since I was in my early 20’s. We, HE, found a combination that worked. And today I am happy to say, “I am so HAPPY. I am HERE. I am ALIVE and I am not letting anyone DULL MY SPARKLE!
So you see THERE IS HOPE. THERE ARE ANSWERS. THERE IS LIGHT THROUGH THAT TUNNEL!
Don’t give up. Don’t give in. You are loved, You are wanted, You are worthy of all things happy!