Lauren

I was always different. I lied about who I was. I talked to myself like there was someone standing there listening. If I was happy…I got so hyper that I couldn’t control myself. If I was sad…I would lock myself in my room for days. I remember once in college I locked myself in my room for a week and only left my room when no one was there. And if I was mad…I would snap…you would want to stand clear of me. I always had this behavior with a smile…always “happy”. I should have become an actress. I hid everything. I did it all on my own because I was so scared that no one would understand it and that I would be deemed as “crazy”. Then I finally snapped…

About two years ago I began to slowly fall apart. My bucket overflowed… Thinking I was depressed and anxious, I went to my doctor and she put me on an insane cocktail of medication…200mg of Zoloft, 15mg of Busbar, 6mg of Ativan (the lethal dosage) and 40mg of Ritalin a day. I can’t even tell you how I functioned as a human. It is all a bit of a blackout. I was an absolute disaster. In my past, with all the shit I had been through, I was lost. Lauren was gone. I couldn’t even recognize myself in the mirror. It was like I was at my own funeral saying goodbye to the old me…the beautiful, lovable, smiley girl. I would have rather not be here on this earth than have people notice I was different.

Last July I had a nervous breakdown and tried to end my life, the night of July 11th, 2013.  My best friend took me to the hospital. Luckily nothing happened to me. No slowness of heartbeat or breath. The doctors couldn’t believe it.

My mother and uncle came to the hospital and brought me back to NY. I went straight to the doctor from the airport. After tests and extensive therapy, I was diagnosed with Bipolar and Hypo Mania disorder. Finding out later on that all the meds I was previously on actually have an extremely negative effect when a patient is bipolar and not “depressed” (and that amount of meds should not be given to a human anyway…its insane!).

I moved home to get back on my feet. I went to the doctor almost everyday. I started to workout. I began to write, draw and paint again. I had come back to life.

I still struggle every single day with my illness but I have learned that there is nothing wrong with it. I embrace it. I am me…and it is the most empowering and incredible feeling in the world. I am not crazy. I am creative and weird and smiley and sometimes a bit more emotional than others, but that is okay. It is all okay.

I once saw a painting titled “A black rainbow”. Such a simple piece. It is a black arch with gold at the bottom. But its meaning is so powerful and true. It’s life. You have to go through all the darkness to get to the gold…but you can never give up.

I wouldn’t take back anything in the world that I have been through. It makes me…me.

And anyone who thinks that life is all sparkles and cupcakes is kookier than I am.

18 responses to “Lauren”

  1. Michelle says:

    Thank you for sharing your story Lauren! True power is shining a light into the darkness to expose the truth that we are not alone and together we can overcome the stigma that keeps us in unnecessary isolation.

  2. gilda says:

    Thank you for sharing your story Lauren, it truly is golden and i’m glad you made it through!

    “Hope” is the thing with feathers –
    That perches in the soul –
    And sings the tune without the words –
    And never stops – at all –

  3. Rae says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I spent 20 years behind the veil of a smile and a few good jokes. I attempted suicide on several occasions, and was quick to sweep that shit under the rug when nobody noticed.

    Last year, I snapped and tried to kill myself again, but this time I was “caught” and supported by friends and family… for the most part, at least. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for them to see this happy, bubbly girl crash so hard. It must have been just as difficult for them as it was for me. Thankfully, however, I got the help I needed and began intensive therapy with an incredible doctor.

    I have similar symptoms to yours, but I believe mine has currently been dubbed Major Depressive Disorder. Sometimes, I think it’s more Schizoaffective Disorder because I too can hear the voices, and I too have random conversations with people I KNOW are there, but I cannot physically see.

    It takes courage to write about it, so again, thank you. I’m so glad I found this post because I am about to release a memoir that talks a great deal about my own experiences in all relationships with an undiagnosed mental illness. There is far too much taboo around mental eccentricities… it’s time to wake people up a little.

  4. Therese F says:

    Lauren,
    I can relate so much to your story. I have had mental illness since I was 12. I am 28 now. I have bipolar 2 disorder, anxiety disorder,depression and pervasive developmental disorder-nos. I have tried so many different medications and have had so many side effects and no success really with medication. I have struggled with self harm and suicidal thoughts. I have been hospitalized numerous times. I have learned better now to cope with my mental illness but there are days where it is a struggle and I have to fight everyday in order to not let my mental illness win the battle and to do the things I need to do like exercise, art, therapy etc. in order for me to feel better.

    Therese Fussinger

  5. Sheri says:

    Hey Lauren – I’m so sorry you had to experience such pain to get to a place of solace. I know you said that going through “the darkness” helped you get to a better place but I know you must have been scared. Take good care!

  6. Nancy P says:

    Lauren

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. I too have Bi-polar, I’ve lived with the illness for 20 years now. But I’m blessed with a great Dr. And therapist. I am healthy, with the right medication. Thank God! Work, and still a hairstylist and sing with a small trio. Thank God it’s treatable! Best of a great future ahead for all who deal with Mental Illness

  7. Susan says:

    Beautiful story and beautiful woman. Never forget how beautiful you are!

  8. Marina says:

    Thank you so much Lauren for sharing your story. It helped me accept mine and not see everything negative.

  9. mom says:

    Your fortunate and your parents as well…being called by my adults child’s significant other for help, I stepped in, again,… after long hours at a hospital for alcohol poisoning, successfully obtaining a safety plan in action to first dry out my adult child who was in full agreement, with the appropriate meds prescribed, the time off from work for all made for perfect timing …But without any other support and the significant other needing him in her unsafe for him environment for her insecurities or her standard of requirements for him to be met… it didn’t happen, only more drama division and anger… this time the anger is mine… so many health issues cannot even begin to address until a safe dry time is established. Attempting a dry time on his own could kill him…I’m a nurse, I have the training, I had and have no control over anyone… cooperation from very important influential people in His life was not given for this plan and no alternative plan he’d agree to is offered… only “he’s a man he makes his own choice he had his own mind he can use it” great! if guys mind was bit impaired.

  10. john h says:

    hey you got 2yrs today hun keep up the good work . the darkness I feel is not that bad. can’t see what is going to hurt . but I am happy for you stay strong

  11. Karen says:

    You are brave and awesome and unique and I’m glad you’re proud of that, as you should be. It’s who you are!
    Keep smiling.

  12. Gary C says:

    Well said Lauren. People don’t understand how devastating the pain of mental illness can be. It’s a disease like hypertension or diabetes and it’s an unfortunate fact that you happen to be effected. My father was bipolar and I watched him struggle. Sounds like you have put it all together and understand who and what you are. Most people never do that. My hat is off to you. You will have good days and you will have bad days but we all do—its part of living. I’m a pharmacist and work with severely mentally ill individuals both in and out patient. You are going to be OK. I just have that positive feeling.

  13. Willow says:

    I completely understand. I have been diagnosed as hypo-manic bipolar since last October. It is hard to deal with but it makes me the beautiful mess am. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Kristy says:

    can so relate to your description of you, ” I am creative and weird and smiley and sometimes a bit more emotional than others (oh, yeah), but that is okay. It is all okay.”

    I gasped when I saw the drugs that the doctor prescribed, so that is a crazy person…

  15. john g says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have had similar experiences and i am glad to know that it isn’t just me.I am happy to know that you have found a way to accept your illness and still keep moving forward. I would be interested to see or read some of your art or writing as I myself do quite a bit of writing myself. It offers a way for me to channel my illness in a positive way. Thanks again for sharing. Peace and God Bless

  16. Linda says:

    Lauren,

    You are very brave.

  17. BethAnn G says:

    My daughter was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I am hoping your post encourages her to receive help.

  18. Victor says:

    Hello Lauren,

    Thank you for sharing. I feel I relate to you in some ways. Also diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I smiled when you mentioned the actress anecdote. I’m crazy enough to want to become an actor and am currently pursuing acting work. Whatever you want to do in life is possible. Like you said, you are unique and I’m glad you are embracing that. Bipolar disorder is cruel and painful, but stay strong. Success and happiness are possible. Depression goes away. You are unique and special. There is help out there for you.

    With love,
    Victor

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