When I first became pregnant with Brigham, one of the foremost thoughts I had was, “How will I survive off of my medications?”
At the time I was taking medication for bipolar disorder, which had been declared unsafe for pregnancy. So I immediately stopped my medications when I saw the positive pregnancy test. I didn’t want to risk it.
I was a part of an online forum and so I went there to “talk” things out and express my worries. Would I be okay without taking medications? How would I manage if I had a depressive episode?
I did not receive the support I expected. Instead I was made out to be a fool for worrying about it at all.
“Your illness isn’t life-threatening,” I was told.
It has bothered me for a number of years. Because I know that my illness is, in fact, very life-threatening. But every time someone scoffs at the mention of depression. Every time someone tries to downplay its importance. Every time someone acts like it’s not a big deal. It’s just depression. The truth is – it is important. It is a big deal. It shouldn’t be ignored or tossed aside because you don’t understand it.
I have bipolar disorder. Studies indicate that between 25-50% of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder will make at least one suicide attempt.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention the death rate for untreated bipolar patients is higher than that of most types of heart disease and many types of cancer.
This is nothing to mess around with. This is nothing to make fun of. This is a serious, life-threatening illness affecting millions of people all over the world. I just happen to be one of them.
And I’m speaking out. Because I have a life-threatening illness too.
I battled it during pregnancy and I will battle it for the rest of my life.
Just because you can’t see my illness does not mean it does not exist.