There are times in life that you reflect back and see someone different than you are now; in someways my past and my current are strangers to themselves, and I reflect to remember my path towards growth and happiness.
When I was 14 I was diagnosed with ADHD (who wasn’t? It was the 90’s!) and was put on a healthy regime of therapy and Adderall. I was a very “full-on” adolescent with lots of passion and certainty for life. I ‘fibbed’ and exaggerated, was very bossy, had extreme mood swings and even threw a shovel in the middle of a fight. I suppose in some ways many of these things could be considered normal, but I was the extreme. Adderall was like throwing a needle in the haystack of my problems, and while it didn’t mitigate the symptoms in their entirety, it did help to focus and kept me out of trouble. Fast forward 9-years and I had a panic attack during a presentation at work, which presented itself in the form of a mini-heart attack. At 23 this was fairly abnormal so I stopped all meds.
Throughout my 20’s I had good and bad moments. The good were flying high, beyond anyone’s ability to keep up. When I was down, I was below the floor boards in depression. I was vicious in fights with my ex-husband (a saint to put up with me), which was a key component to the demise of our marriage. I was very difficult personality for my family. I had a very argumentative spirit with the ones that I loved most.
After a 6-month manic stint with moving back from London with a failed marriage, a failed love affair, and a failed business, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and prescribed Lamictal (Lamotrigine). Outside of the state of mania, I can say I probably had bipolar since I was a kid and it really only amortized in my young adult years. I remained medicated throughout pregnancy and nursing in a study with Harvard and UMASS General, and I have continued to get to know myself as I am now. I have had wonderful luck with maintaining an even temperament in the last few years, even though I have continued to have many large life experiences. Who knows what will evolve from it as I age, but I do know that I have a diagnosis I agree with and I can control using medication, a well-balanced lifestyle, a less-intense work schedule and food.