Hello, I am Christina
I have 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.”
So just what is Peace in Artwork all about? Let me first thank you for taking the time to stopping by. Hoping you found information that you might find helpful. Maybe poem you liked, a painting or a photograph that spoke to you. I’d like to tell you a little about me and why I am so passionate about Mental Health.
Growing up in St. Louis, MO, I suffered Anxiety, Depression, and Panic Attacks on a regular basis. As far back as I can remember, we lived in the surrounding rural Eureka, MO area. My parents separated several times, leaving my brother and I to move multiple occasions. I still recall the motorcycle rides through the hills of the area, with my dad, to spend the weekend with him. Then the flood of ’81 happened, the Meramec River came out of the banks and Times Beach was wiped out. I didn’t live there but my father worked in the small town and everything was a loss. Within two years, we moved to the city. I hated it. I missed my friends. I had no new friends. I was teased at the new school. I was put down. The principal and teachers made me feel like I was not worthy. My mom gave me a birthday party for my 9th birthday right after we moved to help only the girls in the class felt forced to come. Even with a smile on my face, it was a painful day.
My emotions started getting hard to control. The 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. You see, this all is very close to me, my mother suffers depression. Growing up it was known that she was a manic depressant, what we now call today, BIPOLAR. So, on top of my own issues I was fighting, I was dealing with emotional turmoil on top the broken marriage of my parents. All at the early teen years.
What were the triggers of my mental state? From an early age I was molested. Family friends which I don’t recall. My parents did what they needed to rid me of the situation. Then there was the babysitter. She was a High School student. I can still vividly remember the details. I was 6. My parents were not aware. I was scared. I was told if I would tell she would hurt my brother. He was 5. Not until I was 41 did my mom find out when I spent 3 hours at her house, after going on a lifesaving retreat, did all the pains of my childhood and teen years.
In high school, things got harder. New friends, new school with old friends. A distance I put with the old friends because I needed a break, I needed to find myself. I needed to learn to stand on my own two feet while dealing with a very broken home life. I found an avenue to release the pain, by self-inflicting pain. I didn’t’ eat, I over exercised. I had to have a boyfriend. I would push one away and fall back into another relationship. They were toxic, for the most part. Nothing worked, I still felt the overwhelming emotions of worthlessness, hopelessness, lost.
College came, I was moving away from it all. I was told to maintain a 3.5 or I was coming home. I found a new release for the pain I was feeling, I turned to smoking and drinking. I DO NOT RECOMMEND. I was running on thin ground. Then the worst fear of being away from home, being a young girl, having a variety of friends. I was raped. It was not a drunk night. It was not a party. It happened on a weekend trip home to visit friends. Date Rape. Someone I knew, someone I trusted, someone I cared for. He didn’t listen to my cries of NO. He kept saying “it’s ok”. I cried and cried. I wasn’t the same after.
The rape lead to a pregnancy. I was at a loss. My parents didn’t know. I was ashamed. I knew they thought I would be lying. I kept this secret until I was 41. I attempted taking my life. A roommate reached out. I got help on campus. But it didn’t help, my grades kept falling. I had the pregnancy ended. I was 18 and alone and scared. The dream of becoming a teacher since I was 7 years old was ruined. I did return for another year away at school however, I couldn’t bare the pain and came home after two years. That was in 1995.
Fast forward. 1997 I met an amazing young man. We married in 1999. Our first child, a girl, was born on Father’s Day! It was the best day of my life, our lives. Deed down I was scared. In 2003 and 2006, two beautiful boys came into our lives. With each birth the postpartum depression seemed to linger longer and longer.
Doctor upon doctor appointments. “Try this medication.” It didn’t work, tried another and then another. Nothing seemed to work. For years I was on a roller coaster ready to jump off at the top. In my late thirties I (and my husband for that matter) couldn’t take much more. I found a psychologist. It was then in 2017 I was diagnosed with Bipolar Depression and High Anxiety Disorders. I had an answer, now for treatment options.
I did Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Art Therapy, EMDR Therapy and regular talk therapy. I even did outpatient group therapy. I was up and down, sideways and backwards all at once. The doctor started canceling appointments, I was on thin ice AGAIN. I moved doctors. Again, the history of what had and hadn’t worked. The changes to medications. The ups and downs. More therapy. (Remember I am still trying to raise three kids, young teens at this point.) The psychologist wouldn’t listen to me. He wouldn’t LISTEN to my concerns and troubles. Nothing was changing…..
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 – 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. He 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, Mental Health is close to my heart and if I can help ONE person share their story, to help ONE person find an avenue to release the pain, to help ONE person understand, what they are feeling is VALID, to help ONE person find a way, as I have, to find happiness within their life; then my hopes of Peace in Artwork has been successful.
I know this is long and I thank you if you have finished and I didn’t lose your interest. I would love to hear from you. On the Contact Page I have several ways to get ahold of me, you can even leave a comment on the webpage. Remember, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!