A Postcard From Hell

I’ve been struggling for the past few years. Even though I fight and fight and fight and try as hard as I can to set everything right, even though I get to the point where everything is on track , it inevitably falls apart again, and it’s led to a complete breakdown in my perception of self and totally strangled my ability to feel hopeful for the future.

Today however, I had a major breakthrough, facilitated by a book my sister loaned me yesterday, and suddenly the pieces I haven’t been able to identify are all falling into place.

I’ve been focused on controlling my bipolar 1 w/ schizo tendencies, and in regards to that, I’ve actually done quite well. I fully understand the condition, and how to treat it, and what the biggest obstacles to controlling it are. Yet somehow, even armed with my knowledge and good intent, it seems I can’t quite get it under control.

It never occurred to me to explore the co-morbidities, but upon hours of research and about a bajillion various sources, I’ve realized that I most definitely also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. I can pin-point the exact cause and can see where it started, and that, in and of itself, relieves some of the pain and anxiety.

The part that grieves me desperately, and has stolen all hope from me, is even sicker than the manic-depressive cycle itself. Before I had the PTSD, manic episodes were caused by specific causes. Three years ago, a specific event set off a manic episode, and the behaviors I exhibited at that time are what caused the PTSD. Since then, my manic episodes don’t have to be relevant to anything going on in my life, which has boggled my mind and filled me with frustration and hopelessness- after five years of not knowing I was bipolar, I finally got help, and since I’ve gotten help things have really only seemed to get worse. How can you keep up hope when things actually get worse after getting help? Now that I’ve gained this new perspective, I actually understand why I can’t seem to get it together, even with treatment.

A manic episode caused PTSD; and now I regularly experience flashbacks, and when I have the flashback and re-live the experience, it sets off a new manic episode, during which I repeat the same behaviors that caused the PTSD in the first place.

Ladies and gentlemen, this may just officially be hell.

The good news is that once you realize hell is a fairy tale made up to keep people in line, you also understand that there is actually hope left in this world.

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