Welcome to the Introductory Episode of the Two of Me Podcast!
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Transcript – Two of Me – Introductory Episode
You’re listening to the Two of Me podcast. Join me, Eva Lewis – a wife, mother, business owner, blogger, and woman with bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder – as I discuss the highs and lows of juggling life with a mental illness.
Hey, everyone, it’s Eva Lewis here, and welcome to the Two of Me podcast.
This is not episode one, it’s an intro, and I decided on doing an intro because I wanted to tell you a little bit about me before you listen to the rest of the podcast. So, the podcast isn’t really going to be about me, but I will be relating a lot of things to me and my experience with bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.
So, I guess I just want to emphasize the fact that I am not an expert on mental health, mental illness; I am not a psychologist, or a psychiatrist, or a counsellor. I am a real person, a mum, a wife, a business owner, all of those things, that has experienced mental illness. And what I want to do on this podcast show is share my experiences, share my opinions on some things, share stories, share insight, share what has helped me and what hasn’t.
Now, obviously, in terms of bipolar, and for other mental illnesses, the way it affects me will affect other people differently. So, I really don’t want to have people take my word as gospel, I just want people to go out and just give what I say a try. It’s about learning new perspectives and I will be interviewing numerous different people on the show about their lives with a particular mental illness and how it’s impacted them.
So, I just wanted to emphasize that that’s something to remember. But I definitely think it’s really important to share our own experiences with each other. There’s so much power in it.
An example of this is through a woman that I met within the last year and I met through my work. And it just so happens that she also has bipolar. And now I do work closely with her and we have become really good friends because we just get each other and the comfort that arises from having someone just get you is just phenomenal. I am always very self-aware and I find it very hard to hold friendships because I am very concerned about what people will think of my bipolar and what I do on days where I simply can’t socialize. I am a hermit and I sometimes can hardly get out of bed. And yeah, so when you have someone, find someone, with a mental illness like you, it makes friendships a hell of a lot easier.
So anyway, just a little bit about me. As I said, my name is Eva, and thank you for listening to the show. I have bipolar disorder, and I was diagnosed with bipolar in 2017, in September, and the reason that came about was that I seriously needed help. As is often the occurrence with bipolar, people are usually diagnosed when they’re in their depression cycle, because when we’re in our manic or hypomanic cycle we tend to think that everything’s pretty hunky-dory and things are okay.
Not everyone. Some can have it more seriously. But people like me, I thought that life was just bloody great. So, I needed help. I was suffering badly from self-harm ideation and it was not nice at all. It was way too real. I was in the deepest, darkest hole of my life and I wasn’t functioning. And I had a young child at that point. So, I had my daughter in 2016, in July, and although I didn’t have postnatal depression as I did with my son who was born in 2011, I thought everything was okay but then it just went downhill.
And since … I went and I got some diagnoses from three different psychiatrists, and two of them said the same one. The first one was unsure, I wasn’t confident with him, so I moved on to another. And the two other ones both said that I had bipolar two.
Now, it was a huge, massive shock. I was in denial for a very long time, sometimes I still am. And I didn’t really know what bipolar was. All I could think of were previous discussions I’ve had with, I don’t know, random people about, you know, linking bipolar to being crazy. And it just terrified me.
So, I … after I was diagnosed, quite sometime after I was diagnosed, I asked my psychiatrist and I said, “Why now? I’m, you know, I’m 36 years old. Why am I being diagnosed? Why is this happening now?”
Now, I had a history of anxiety before that, and depression, even before my first child, and before I had postnatal depression. So, I did have a history and I was warned about getting postnatal depression. I thought I was invincible, I didn’t think I would, but I did.
But yes, the bipolar was quite a shock. So, I asked my psychiatrists, “Why now?” and she said, “Well, it’s likely that you have had a relapse due to your pregnancy and birth. So, the hormones, you know, go absolutely nutso when you’re pregnant, and when you give birth, and that has caused me to have a relapse and my bipolar to become substantially more noticeable.
But when I did receive my diagnosis, and I researched quite a lot on bipolar, a lot of my previous life started to make sense. And it still … certain aspects of my previous life haunt me today and I just get the shivers and think, “Oh, my God, I can’t believe I did that, and I can’t believe I came out okay. “
I’m talking about taking huge risks; the risky behaviour. I’m talking, spending lots of money on things and just, you know, just making really bad decisions and just taking risks, things like that. And things I just didn’t follow through on at all. So yes, a lot of things have started to make sense, but before I was diagnosed, one of the couple of things that I brought up was the feeling I was invincible. So, when I was hypomanic, I was invincible. I thought I could do anything; I could conquer the world and nothing could stop me. I would drive quite crazily. I felt like sometimes I was a race car driver and, again, like I was invincible, but I was, you know, engaging in risky behaviour.
In terms of my hypomanic symptoms, I also went and, just for no reason, I had a perfectly good car … I just said to my husband, “I’m going to go and buy a car, I want to go and buy a car and this is the car I’m going to buy.” – a brand new car by the way. And I went and bought a car … and that was like a $24,000 car.
The other thing I went and bought after feeling invincible, and like I could do anything and like it was the most brilliant idea in the world, was I went and bought a business. But what happened was, you know, the business was the best thing in the world when I bought it, but then as I came out of my hypo state, and then I went down into my depression, which is what the cycle does for me, I was like, “Oh my God, this business is awful. I don’t have any passion for it. I don’t like it at all. I’m not even motivated to even sell these things!”
And to this date, I still have all the boxes of product underneath my house and quite a few thousand dollars was wasted on that business. So, it is quite scary, sometimes, when I’m trying to make decisions – I find decision making very, very difficult because I ask myself “Well, which Eva is making this decision?”
So, I have to take it very slowly and analyse it quite a lot. And it makes me quite nervous.
So, yeah, my diagnosis was in 2017. I’ve always had the anxiety disorder, but that’s become very heightened and I can I wake up with anxiety and my whole body, it just takes over my whole body. I can’t think, I can’t move, and I can’t focus. Sometimes I can’t work and it makes it very difficult. But in terms of the bipolar, bipolar 2 is known for its longest and deepest cycles of depression. So, my depression, I have since become better managed on medication, through the help of my psychiatrist, and I’ve worked with a few psychologists, I have to say, I have still yet to come across a good one. I find that I have been getting better outcomes from my own reading, and learnings, and watching videos and things like that, and talking to other people. So, I’m happy to do that.
But the depression, yeah, as my moods have balanced out, because I’m on a mood stabilizer – I’m on lithium and also on the antidepressant Prozac, which is an otherwise known as fluoxetine – and so my moods have become less of the big peaks and troughs, and it’s a bit more balanced but the depression is still pretty horrible.
So initially, yeah, it was it was pretty bad. I have self-harmed in the past. I have a tendency to bang my head on the wall, which is my signature thing. And as I said, yeah, the self-harm ideation, running myself off the road in my car right into a tree. And that thought kept going over and over and over and over in my head and it was so real.
So, depression, it can still be crippling. I’ve seen an article on Facebook saying, you know, people with depression, it looks like they’re messy people, but they’re really not. And that’s me. So, I am not a messy person. I really enjoy and love being organized and things being clean and tidy, but I just cannot when I’m in my depressive cycle, I cannot do the kitchen, I cannot cook meals. It’s just, it’s just, I call it like falling down a well, a big, deep, dark well, and you have absolutely no way of getting out. And you lose your energy and then you get tired, because I get very tired with depression, and you’re stuck down there in the dark until the light comes out and you get a ladder thrown down to you.
And then that’s when I start normalizing. And yeah … so going normal, and then it can be triggered for no reason, really, into a hypo state, but mostly I’ve been normal.
So yeah, I would say I am a high functioning … have high functioning bipolar. Because I can still get out of bed, I can still get my children ready in the morning, although some days it can be bloody hard and bring me to tears. But I can still do that. I can still work. Okay, I can still do these things and it takes a lot of effort and I think that’s why I’m so exhausted at the end of the day, but yeah, I am high functioning.
I have no choice, really, you know, I have two young children that I have to look after and a husband that leaves for work early and is home late. So yeah, I just have to do it. But I know that there are some people that they just can’t, they just can’t function whatsoever, and they can’t get out of bed, can’t look after themselves, have a shower, wash their hair, things like that. So, I’m quite grateful that I’m not at that level, but I do appreciate that there are people out there that have it a lot harder than me and I hear you and I, yeah, hopefully I can be here just to understand.
So, I’m at point now, where I have two young children and I have my own business, digital marketing called Mandala Digital, that I guess I am very lucky and made the decision to, you know, work for myself because it was easier. At the point I made that decision it was easier, less sort of stress and anxiety for me, I felt like I had more control. And really, I do get anxious and stressed and depressed and all of those things with my work, but I’ve been learning how to realize that all the things that I’ve been anxious about, they’re just sort of history repeating themselves. Like, you know, being anxious about a new client call, and then I have to remind myself that the last client call and the call before that and the call before that and the call before that all went fine.
So, you know, what’s the worst that can happen? They usually work out fine. So, I have been working on sort of limiting those things, those beliefs. And, yeah, if I don’t feel like working, I can take a break, I can go and sit down, I can go and have lunch, I can go and walk in the yard and pat my chickens. So that is the huge benefit of working for myself, because I can set my own rules and, you know, being someone with anxiety, needing to take control over things, and particularly taking control over the future – being self-employed really does help with that.
So, I don’t want to keep going on and on. I just wanted to let you know who I am.
I should also mention that I have a blog. It’s called The Multitasking Woman and it’s here that I blog about all things mental health and mindset for women. Originally, honestly, I’m not too sure about the name. That was because it was a parenting lifestyle blog years ago, when my children were even younger. But then, since I was diagnosed with bipolar, I decided to change the focus on it to mental health, which is why I’m a mental health advocate, and it’s really close to my heart.
So that’s what I do there. And yeah, I blog there. I’ve got people that come in, also, contributors that come and write as well, and I’ve got a great e-book that I’m selling at the moment called Your Mental Health Matters, and it’s full of information, tools, resources to help you if you’re hitting that brick wall, like, “What do I do next? You know, my psychologist sucks. Psychiatrists, yeah, they’ve given me the medication, but I’m still feeling the same. You know, I’m not really motivated, you know, what am I doing? How do I just get my skip back in my step?”
So that is in my shop – as well as some affirmation cards.
Everybody that is a wrap, then, on my intro episode. Thanks a bunch for listening and keep an eye out for the next weekly episode. You can follow me on Facebook or Instagram (@themultitaskingwoman).
So, until next time, take care.
Thanks for listening to the Two of Me podcast. I look forward to having you back listening to the next weekly episode. But for more content on mindset, mental health, and wellbeing, check out my website, themultitaskingwoman.com.