1. The illness I live with is: bipolar1, bulimia nervosa, COE
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year:1998
3. But I had symptoms since:1992-4 from memory
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: learning to manage my moods in a way that i am able to do things that i want to, determining what normal functional eating is.
5. Most people assume: that people with bipolar spend alot of time in hospital, are non-compliant, are unable to work full time or study. Most people assume people with bulimia are under psychiatric care when it is actually extremely difficult to access, regardless of insurance. I've pretty much tried all treatment that is available...clinics, group therapy, meds, OA etc etc. Stats on the success of treatments are generally pretty woeful actually.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: Getting up as I often sleep poorly due to early waking syndrome.
7. My favorite medical TV show is: Doc Martin
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: ventolin inhaler actually
9. The hardest part about nights are: restless leg syndrome, early waking insomnia
10. Each day I take 6 pills & vitamins.
11. Regarding alternative treatments I'm a big fan yet i get aliented by those who are anti-psychiatry and at people who assume bipolar can be treated without medication. I currently see a hypnotherapist for help with my eating (which is no where near as severe as it was in its hey day I hasten to add). I also find exercise helpful.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: not sure really, maybe something more visible would make me feel less guilty. Bulimia is very much an invisible illness, until I visit the dentist that is :).
13. Regarding working and career: both are extremely important to my wellness.
14. People would be surprised to know: I still am unable to predict the onset of depression despite my best efforts! Lots of fat people have eating disorders, it's not simply a case of eating the wrong foods all the time. I've met many women in their 60's who still have eating disorders, sadly.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: Letting people down when I am unable to commit to plans I have made in the past. Letting myself down.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: work as a volunteer feminist phone counsellor, it was a huge part of my recovery.
17. The commercials about my illness: I haven't seen any actually.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: I miss having a reliable sex drive actually.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: the rush of manic highs, being thin....I have an underactive thyroid due to medication side effects.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: crafting! Now I have my own small business Polka Dot Rabbit
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: I think I feel relatively normal, whatever that us.
22. My illness has taught me: we can choose to live our lives the best way we can, despite mental illness. My twin committed suicide due to mental illness and it's taught me that all we can do is find the joy or purpose we can with each day. Focusing on helping others, volunteering etc are always great recovery tools.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: But you do so much!
24. But I love it when people: encourage me to socialise.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: not sure but I find Kay Jamieson Redfield inspiring.
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: You can learn so much to make things easier.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: Just the ways the illness have changed over time. I am now much less manic but still susceptible to severe depression. I still struggle with bulimia/ED despite many treatment programs. I'm also surprised at the lack of materials for partners of those with eating disorders, it all targets parentals.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: my husband makes me laugh which is lovely.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: we exist and live meaningful lives
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: incredibly vulnerable as though I will be constantly seen through an ED/psychiatric lens.
Find out more about National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week and the 5-day free virtual conference with 20 speakers Sept 14-18, 2009 at www.invisibleillness.com