When I crashed my truck on I-5 in Redding, CA in early April, 1998, I was paralyzed by hallucinations, anxiety and utter fear. Little did I know at the time I was going through an acute psychotic break that would lead to my bipolar diagnosis. I crashed my car and ran into the hills parallel to the freeway. It was the middle of the night. By the grace of God I didn’t get hit by a semi-truck or injure anyone else. The emergency team was able to find me and get me to a psychiatric unit where I stayed for about three weeks. This was my first time at a Psychiatric Emergency Service (PES). I was in a daze and very confused. The doctors told me I was bipolar and that I had to take medication for the rest of my life. I was overwhelmed and didn’t want to hear that. I felt so terrible, however, I was willing to take the medication. I was 23 years old at the time, very fragile and frail. I weighed about 120 and am 5’9”.
I wasn’t eating as I had been extremely manic prior to the break. Prior to the break entailed about 10 days of excessive, obsessive phone calls to a guy I thought I was in love with. He didn’t even know me. The phone calls were to an answering machine and I must have made about 300 or more calls to it in a matter of days. I didn’t know what was wrong with me and neither did my family. I decided I was going to drive to find this guy even though I had no idea where he lived.
That’s when I started driving around and ended up crashing my car about two days later in Redding. My family had no idea where I was and neither did I. I was officially lost. I called my family but could not tell them where I was because my mental capacity was so low, I didn’t know. I was in and out of reality by now. At times, I was in a complete hallucination. It was the scariest time of my life. This was my rock bottom.
The psychotic break happened exactly three years after my grandfather had committed suicide. My Poppy (as I called my grandfather) and I were close as he was to all his grandchildren. His suicide affected me greatly. I was only 20 when he passed and it was a great shock and tragedy in my life. I had a difficult time processing my grief from this loss. I feel my psychotic break is tied to this loss somehow.
After my Poppy’s death, I started using speed as a way to cope. I used it for 6 months but I used it fast and hard. To get off the speed, I used marijuana. I smoked marijuana for years and years. It wasn’t until my best friend passed in 2012 that I finally decided to get off the marijuana. Currently, I do take prescription pain medication as prescribed by a doctor for my degenerative disc disease, chronic back pain and chronic pelvic pain. However, I have been sober (no alcohol or illicit drugs) since August 9, 2012.
I was in Alcoholics Anonymous in the early 2000’s however I found it hard to fit in there. I am a dual diagnosis patient and back then there were no group meetings for just us. There seems to be now and I should definitely check those out! It’s hard for other people to tell bipolar people to stop taking their medication especially because we need it to be healthy and thrive and that’s exactly what they told me! Also, there are issues we deal with in sobriety that normal sober people don’t deal with. For example: our moods are more extreme, sleeping is more of an issue, medications, therapists/psychiatrists, pain management, etc.
Being in recovery has changed my life. These past three years and the years I was in recovery in the early 2000’s are the definitive years of my life. I have learned more about myself, spirituality and how to help/serve others and the world. I’ve also grown closer to my Higher Power and Spirit during this time. I feel like I was blessed that day I crashed my truck. God could have killed me but by his Grace, He let me live. As a result, I had a child, finished school, and am coming to know Him in a new and better way. Each day I try to remember to thank God for another day; to just say Thank You. I’m grateful for life, for living and for being alive. I’m so grateful for my daughter, my family and friends. I treasure love, peace, happiness, joy, freedom and laughter.
The simple things in life make me happy. I’m finding that forgiveness is a key ingredient in life and that it goes a long way for me. I’m making less and less time for unnecessary people and drama in my life and more and more time for light-hearted, high vibrational people who are on my wavelength. Life is short, live it to the fullest with intentional consciousness about what you are creating and why. I am creating my life of love, purpose, joy and inspiration; step-by-step I am becoming who I want to be with the help of my Spirit and Creator guiding me along the way. I also have some wonderful co-creator friends and my Higher Power helping me. I believe in angels, Spirit Guides, Ascended Masters, Archangels, totem animals, Goddesses, mermaids, magic, mediumship, fairies, and more! The world is more magical when I do believe and accept the help of these benevolent creatures/beings!
What makes me believe? Well, as I was about to crash my truck, I saw AA Azrael on the side of the road. I believe this archangel was there that night for many reasons. He was there to safely get me to the side of the road, to stop traffic while my car crashed and to help the emergency crew find me. He also comforted me. Since seeing him, I have believed strongly in the archangels and have had a deep connection with them and other beings. Open yourself up to believing and they will enter your life, especially when you need them most.