You never know where your mental health journey will take you.

After thebirth of my son, my menstrual cycle became awful. I would bet thatthere are a good number of women who deal with a menstrual cycle from hell. Two weeks into my cycle, my mood became depressed and irritable. This continued until my period started and I would get afew days of sanity. My psychiatrist re-diagnosed me with BipolarDisorder II instead of Major Depressive Disorder.


My mental illness had been upgraded.

What. The. Fuck.

No one ever told me that one mental illness could morph into another. Just another miracle of childbirth. (My husband and I had always planned on having two children, but the depression, gestational diabetes, C-Section  and upgraded mental illness put a stop to those thoughts pretty quickly.)

I was very familiar with Bipolar Disorder as my maternal Grandpa and Mom both had/have Bipolar Disorder I. I had been dealt the Deuce—BipolarDisorder II, which meant a new set of moods to learn to live with. I was used to the depression, but the hypomania was so irritating. I just wanted to rip someone’s hair out. There were times that I spent too much money, took excessive risks and generally behaved in a loud manner. I found it embarrassing. I have since learned to rein it in a bit and avoid things that further trigger episodes.

Being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II resulted in taking different types of medications (mood stabilizers and anti-psychotics). And learning new coping skills and tools to deal with this latest gift from the mental illness gods.

One thing I thought I thought was true was that I needed to tame my hormones. I thought if I could get my hormones under control, I could get the mood swings under control too. The only way I knew to take away the power of the hormones was a hysterectomy. Take everything out and start over with synthetic hormones.

I nervously presented my case to my gynecologist and psychiatrist and they agreed that a complete hysterectomy would be a good option.

On my surgery date, I laid on a hospital bed, waiting to be taken back for my surgery. I was excited and nervous. My husband and mother-in-law were with me.

I woke upfrom the surgery very bleary. My husband leaned over and said, “They accidentally nicked your bladder and, to give it time to heal, you’re going to have to wear a catheter for a week.” “Whaaaat?!”  roused several more times and each time my husband would have tore-explain that I would have to have a catheter for a week.

I finally roused enough to file this information into my permanent memory banks…and get pissed (no pun intended) about it. I lifted the covers and looked down. The catheter bag hugged my thigh. Myhusband showed me how to pee with my new friend.

It didn’t take long before I began to understand why men loved this whole standing-while-peeing thing. The catheter bag fit neatly in all my pants and that was the easiest week of peeing I’ve ever had.

After I lost the catheter, all there was to do now was wait. My gynecologist placed me on hormone replacements.

I waited for things to improve. I had finally had the surgery that I thought would take care of the mood cycling. Wrong.

Months went by and my mood still rapid-cycled. I realized it might be several months before my body evened out.

Even after several months, my moods were still swinging. The hysterectomy hadn’t been the answer.

It was only after three hospital stays, two at Mayo in Minnesota, that I got on a medication, Zyprexa, that the bipolar cycling. It was amazing. Over the next year, I rediscovered who I was. I lived my life instead of just existing.

I got three and half years of stability. My self-esteem returned. My zest for life returned. My confidence returned. I felt amazing.

Then, the Fall before last (2017), my symptoms started to come back. At first I thought it was the Winter Blues, but it continued into Spring and Summer. I’m not overly down (or up), I just don’t feel quite right. I am wondering if this is my new normal. I’ll take it over

rapid-cycling bipolar disorder any day.

So if you’ve been down (or up) for too long and you’re sick of it, do some research and see what treatment possibilities exist for you.

What have your experiences dealing with episodes been like? I’d love to hear about it in the Comments.

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