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Growing up with Bipolar

My Story

Growing up I didn't know what was wrong with me. I didn't know there was anything wrong with me, I was just...me.

My name is Katie Lile, born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. When I was five I was diagnosed with bipolar, when I was seven I was diagnosed with bipolar II. Not only did I grow up with Bipolar but I grew up with a mother who also has bipolar.

I'm not a doctor or a specialist, I'm not going to share all this scientific information to explain anything. Just gonna share what I know what it was like for me.

From the outside bipolar may make a person seem energetic, impulsive, moody, or frenzied. When really inside it's like an running carnival sucked up into a tornado. Some of the symptoms I experienced were: mood swings, hypomanic, depressive episodes, anxiety, hopelessness, irritability, restlessness, lack of concentration, compulsive behavior, insomnia, and rapid and frenzied speaking.

I don't remember living without bipolar; it was always there. It's something that has affected my life. While trying to find the right medication I suffered through countless side effects of the drugs including voices, depression, hallucination, drowsiness, insomnia, manic, self-harm, and suicidal tendencies. And that's just what I remember.

Bipolar, though it has its downs, it does have some positive effects. For example, I am an artist and author. Creativity rules my mind and is a way for me to expel and express my feelings. Getting it out of my system before it can fester. Some of my best work is done on my bad days.

I struggled with making friends, I was already horribly shy, I and I made it known that I had a mental disorder, which did not go well when making friends. Rather, I was targeted by bullying. I had no friends and the bullying would get so bad that I would have to eat my lunch in the front office because the social anxiety along with the bullying was too much for me.

Being unstable with bullying and voices and hallucinations I was boiling over and eventually did attempt to commit suicide. I failed obviously but it did result in me being put in the hospital for a few weeks. I wasn't allowed anything except some toiletries, clothes, and my bible. That's it.

I had five minutes to take a shower in lukewarm water. I had to go to sleep by eight and wake up at seven. First thing we did when we woke up was get blood work done in bed. I spent so much time in and out of the hospital and the school refused to send me my school work that I had to repeat second grade.

I started to hate myself because of my bipolar. I blamed it for my problems. I remember that one week the bullying was so bad that I attempted to kill myself just so I'd get sent to the hospital to get away. My parents were and are still the ones that brought me back. They always tried to help. Medication was starting to help but I still wasn't stable. Therapy became very expensive and eventually had to cut it out. So we replaced it with horseback riding, my eternal love.

Horseback riding was my life line. It saved me and I will always be thankful for my trainer and my parents for pushing me to pursue it. I loved every second of it. I rode every day after school. I never missed a lesson.

Even after my horse accident I got back on ASAP. After two years of riding, I was finally stable. I found the right medications and I learned to endure the bullying. I stopped riding when my horse died and I haven't since. Animals seemed to be my magic medicine so we started fostering. We saved eight dogs.

When high school finally came around, I had taken what I learned from the nightmare of elementary school and decided that I would keep my bipolar a secret. I'd rather just be weird and eccentric than tell everyone that I had a mental disorder that messed with my moods. That's like chumming the water and jumping straight into the blood bath naked with open wounds.

Though as time went on, I stopped caring what others thought and didn't let what anyone said hurt me anymore. Instead of hiding my bipolar I embraced it. I wasn't afraid anymore to say, "Yeah I've got something wrong with me but you know what I was born with this and there's nothing I can do to change it. So why worry?" I wasn't bulletproof, I did have some people that really hurt me, but I never once went near that edge again.

I'm twenty one now and I've been stable for nine years. It's not possible to be cured of bipolar but you can find balance. Everyone is different; it's not like these three pills fix everything, pass it out to every bipolar person. Everyone reacts differently to each medication.

Some people may take anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, sleeping aids, even medications that help cope with the side effects of other medications. They may end up having you take six different pills. I am lucky and have been reduced to three one of which I only take on nights when I can't sleep. Another I take for migraines I get as a result of my concussion.

I've learned that the best way to cope with a situation that is triggering is to remove yourself from it. If you can't, then find away to pull yourself away. My escape is music. I plug in my earbuds, play heavy rock music, and let it obliterate any thoughts or memories focused on that trigger.

I feel that it wasn't just one thing that has brought me the balance I have today. The medication and therapy helped me find my way. I know that my strength and endurance and bravery was a result of my relationship with Jehovah God, and my family, the anchor and life line they provided me.

They always stuck by me and pulled me back from the edge. If I wouldn't come into the light they would come and sit with me in the dark. My brother was so patient and so wonderful and I love him for being him. My dad gave me the encouragement and uplifting I needed and my mom pushed me to make progress and keep searching for the balance. Never giving up and always encouraging me.

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