Billie Bond is the author of “And Then There Was One: A Memoir of My Survival of Childhood Sexual Abuse, Physical Abuse and Mental Illness“. The book is available on Amazon here.
1. Thank you for taking the time to share your story. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am a fifty year old woman, divorced, mother of six children, an author and the face of Bipolar II Disorder.
2. What events led to you receiving a diagnosis of bipolar disorder?
Years and years of every kind of abuse, four divorces, drinking, drug abuse, promiscuity and just living very self destructively and being very unstable.
My last husband before our divorce told me he thought I had bipolar or something. He found me a psychiatrist, made an appointment and took me to see him.
3. If you don’t mind, can you share how old you were at the time of diagnosis and what type of bipolar illness you have i.e. Bipolar I Disorder (BP-1), Bipolar II Disorder (BP-2), Cyclothymic, etc.
I was forty four years old when I received my diagnosis of Bipolar II.
4. Do you have other diagnosed medical conditions besides bipolar (physical or mental)? For example, I have fibromyalgia and deal with chronic fatigue. I also have a form of subclinical hypothyroid. All of these have affected my bipolar states and when treated successfully my severe bipolar illness states (psychosis of mania, suicidal depression) improved much.
I was also diagnosed with PTSD, General anxiety disorder, and agoraphobia.
I also have arthritis, chronic fatigue, and body pain. Not sure yet if it is Fibromyalgia.
5. Now for the good stuff! 🙂 What things – medications, vitamins, therapy, books, alternative treatments, etc. – have helped you to not only survive this difficult illness but thrive in your life?
After a few failed medication trials I am now stable on 300 mg of Lamictal, 40 mg of Prozac, and 10 mg of Buspar four times a day.
I have done a lot of research on bipolar disorder and what helps. I meditate, color, write, take a good multivitamin, Vitamin D, vitamin B-complex and fish oil every day.
I think it’s important for everyone to do the research, be their own advocate and find the coping mechanisms and medications that work best for them.
6. What advice do you have for others who may be overwhelmed by the symptoms (hypomania leading to impulsive behaviour, rapid cycling mood changes, hospitalizations due to severe depressive episode or a manic episode resulting in psychosis…) and feel discouraged or without hope?
The best advice I have is to inform your support system, whether it be family, or friends, teach them the symptoms and signs of each behavior, ask them to let you know when they start seeing these changes in your moods and behavior.
Often times they will see it before we do. Also, when you are in that deep dark pit that is depression and you are feeling hopeless, helpless, like no one cares, I guarantee you, they do care. Reach out to them, tell them what you need, etc. Food, company, talking, or just holding your hand.
Remember that the storm will end and you will come out the other side. Shinning brighter than ever. This is when it is important to do your self care, use your coping mechanisms and learn to ride it out until it ends.
I love the fact that you do natural therapies (vitamins, etc.) along with traditional ones (psychiatrist and medication) – so many don’t realize how helpful that can be. Meditation helps many as well, wish I had more patience for it.
I now want to read your book, I’ve had sexual abuse in my past also. Is on my Amazon ‘to buy’ list! Thank you for sharing your story and I hope your wellness continues.