Hi friends! Today, my friend Ashtyn will be sharing her story. She reached out to me a few weeks ago and I was blessed with the chance to help her face the hardest decisions she will ever make. She’s been bold, vulnerable, and unwavering in her commitment to get better. Please show her some support.
“You have Bipolar type II, and also an aggressive form of anxiety and depression…”
There’s more than one form of Bipolar Disorder???…
Wait wait whaaaaat?
I have Bipolar Disorder? What does that even mean? Am I freak? I’m definitely a freak… What will people think of me? Will they stare? Can they look at me and just know I have it? Will they run away like I have some sort of plague?
When did my symptoms start?
This is probably the hardest question I have been trying to come to terms with. I honestly believe they started in middle school, maybe around fifth grade. At that point in life, you are starting to learn so much about things you enjoy and things you hate. Sometimes I loved everything… but a lot of the time…I hated EVERYTHING. I couldn’t understand why I could go from being happy for part of the day, and then just wanting to scream the rest of the day.
Growing up, I was honestly really mean to my parents and siblings. I think part of it was because I didn’t wear my ‘mask’ around them. How could I? I was with those people all the time. It’s normal to have arguments with parents and siblings, but it’s not normal to constantly being screaming and crying at them for no apparent reason.
Some of you right now are reading the above paragraph and thinking to yourselves that this can’t be true. You have never seen me in those fits of rage or so low I can’t even get myself out of bed. Well, I’ve come to find out, I’m a kick ass actress. But sometimes… it gets to the point where I just can’t act anymore. And that’s when I finally gave up the act and was admitted into the hospital, finding out that my feelings and episodes that I have are not my fault…it’s my brain’s fault!
What pushed me to my breaking point?
That Wednesday I was admitted into the hospital will probably forever be imbedded into my brain. I had stayed home 2 days prior due to a sinus infection (and I would have been fine going to class) and I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed. My brain kept telling me, “You don’t look good. Go back to bed, you need more sleep. Stay away from people, you’re gonna bring them down. Don’t let them find out how sad you are, they won’t understand, they won’t want anything to do with you!! You are WORTHLESS. Wouldn’t it be easier to just not exist anymore?!!!” And that’s when I finally thought about what it would be like to just end it all. Let me tell you, I didn’t think about how dying would physically feel; I had a plan on how I might do it, but I just wanted to think about not existing whatsoever.
I can’t sugarcoat this for you. This is something I had zero control over. It’s scary…honestly, it’s completely terrifying to feel that way.
I went to 2 classes on Wednesday. Nothing different to my normal schedule, but I was not mentally there. I would stare at the teachers and the people around me, but I felt like I didn’t belong. This isn’t a crisis of wondering if I still wanted to be a music major. This has nothing to do with that. This was me feeling like I belonged nowhere. I made my walk up the stairs after choir to a practice room because I could feel the tears coming. A friend stopped me and followed me because she could see I was hurting. I played it off and told her I was stressed about tests…back to the acting game. I messaged Sarah because I knew that she was strong enough to hear the things I was feeling. I told her about my possible plan of ending my life and that’s when she told me that I needed to go to the hospital. She called my mom and I can’t even imagine how my mother felt hearing from a person she barely knew that her daughter was thinking about ending her life. I had wonderful friends who wanted to do anything they could to get me help, one of which drove me there while I bawled my eyes out.
Once I walked in the hospital doors, my words escaped me and my mom had to tell the ER what was going on while holding my hand. I felt so safe with her hand in mine, like I was little again. I was taken back to a room for an evaluation, where everybody kept reassuring me that this was the right choice, and that was the first time I felt an ounce of relief in a long time and my ‘mask’ slowly started to come off. I told the nurses and doctors everything I could while crying until I could barely open my eyes from them being so swollen. Sometime later, my nurse came back to tell me I was being admitted for at least a couple days. My dad looked so defeated, while my mom held him close. And then I was taken upstairs, away from the two people that have held me up through everything, because it was time to face my demons by myself.
I’ll leave some of my experiences while being in the hospital for another day, because many of them were extremely positive and helpful.
With a little help from some medications and psychiatrist appointments, I’m learning that this disorder is going to be manageable. Easier said than done though. This is why I have taken the step to pull out of school for the rest of this semester and focus on learning about what I have and how I’m going to work with it, so I can live a full and happy life. This is not me giving up or giving in, this is me fighting to find my strength and use this as something good, not evil. I have many plans, but that’s for another day. Right now, I’m focusing on today and that’s all I can do.
This is me and I’m going to learn to love every piece of it.
If anything I said above sounds familiar to what you might be going through, don’t hesitate to talk to me and ask some questions. I’m trying to be more open about this situation, but it is all still new to me, so bear with me.