Getting confidence back after mental breakdown

12 Replies

I'm probably the only person on here that has gone through this, but I don't know of another forum where I can discuss this. 

I rent out RVs that people live in. I've been doing it for over 3 years. 

So, eleven months after I started, we had 9 RVs.  I was in partnership with my sister. 

One night I literally went crazy. I went manic for the first time in my life. Way later I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. But I didn' know anything was wrong with me. 

I began giving away money, making bad decisions, having very grandiose thoughts, I walked out on my family  (I had been married 27 years and had 10 and 11 year old kids), etc.

Anyway, long story short, that episode lasted 3 months, then after a time I had another episode.

When all was said and done I had been arrested 7 times, hospitalized 5 times, dissolved my partnership with my sister, and 3 of my 5 RVs were sold. 

I currently have 2 left. They are doing pretty well. And I am about ready to get into investing mode again. This time, and this is something I've planned since before I got sick, I'm going to do rooming houses.

My problem is that I'm having a very hard time with confidence. I used to know that I was a very intelligent and competent person. But you cant imagine what it does to your self esteem to find out you have mental problems.  However, I have been well for 18 months now. For that I am so grateful. But I fear I could get sick again (but I take my meds religiously).  

I think this post is rambling.  If you can relate or have advice for me, I'd appreciate it. 

Don't give up, keep faith, and keep moving forward. 

Can't offer much advice on how to overcome the lack of confidence but as a guy that grew up with a mom that suffered from the same issues I just want to say it sounds like you're pointed in the right direction.  When her meds were good she was amazing, when they weren't she wasn't.  Make sure you've got someone in your life that's strong enough to tell you when they see you drifting off course before for you get too lost.  Other than that, trust in how good you were at this prior and know that the same intellect that made you successful before is still inside you.

I would be most concerned with what triggered the incident(s) and what type of treatments are effective going forward. What can you medically and psychologically expect? If you haven't gotten a second and third medical diagnosis and treatment plan, then that's what I would focus on. You certainly have to be your own medical advocate and often even a very qualified doctor can't give you a complete picture alone. I don't see how you can have confidence if your concerned you will lose control again.

You were successful before, so you know you have it in you - even if its buried somewhere deep, that ability to be successful is still there. Take small bites, and if you think stress is a trigger for your episodes, make sure you can identify the warning signs early. 

Also, as a form of protection, you can be the "brains" of the investment, but you can engage someone whom you trust to have some legal authority over your property (i.e. assets cant be sold unless both of you sign the sales contract, etc). 

Originally posted by @John Thedford :

Don't give up, keep faith, and keep moving forward. 

 Thank You, John. I appreciate it. 

Originally posted by @Paul Bowers :

Can't offer much advice on how to overcome the lack of confidence but as a guy that grew up with a mom that suffered from the same issues I just want to say it sounds like you're pointed in the right direction.  When her meds were good she was amazing, when they weren't she wasn't.  Make sure you've got someone in your life that's strong enough to tell you when they see you drifting off course before for you get too lost.  Other than that, trust in how good you were at this prior and know that the same intellect that made you successful before is still inside you.

 Thank you for your perspective as a son. That must have been so hard for you. 

Unfortunately when I was manic, I was unable to comprehend when my family told me I wasn't right and I fought them every step of trying to get help for me. 

My sister was successful getting a guardianship over me, so she's able to step in and handle my affairs. Also, I keep money in a joint acct with hubby so he can close the account or take the money out if needed.  No, I don't like it but I know it's necessary. 

Originally posted by @Steve B. :

I would be most concerned with what triggered the incident(s) and what type of treatments are effective going forward. What can you medically and psychologically expect? If you haven't gotten a second and third medical diagnosis and treatment plan, then that's what I would focus on. You certainly have to be your own medical advocate and often even a very qualified doctor can't give you a complete picture alone. I don't see how you can have confidence if your concerned you will lose control again.

 Steve, 

My doctors don't seem to know what triggered my episodes. I have seen several psychiatrists and feel I have a good treatment plan in place. 

They aren't able to tell me what to expect in the future, but it does seem likely I'll have another episode eventually. My current doctor said the longer I go without one, the less likely I am to have another. It's been 18 months, so that's hopeful. 

Yes, it's hard to be confident not knowing, but I've sat here going nowhere for 18 months. I don't know if i can stay like this. For one, my brain needs to be challenged. Secondly, we need the money and have no retirement. 

Originally posted by @Ryan D. :

You were successful before, so you know you have it in you - even if its buried somewhere deep, that ability to be successful is still there. Take small bites, and if you think stress is a trigger for your episodes, make sure you can identify the warning signs early. 

Also, as a form of protection, you can be the "brains" of the investment, but you can engage someone whom you trust to have some legal authority over your property (i.e. assets cant be sold unless both of you sign the sales contract, etc). 

 Thank you, Ryan. That's great advice I'll certainly implement. 

Leslie,

Firstly, I appreciate how much courage it must’ve taken to post such a personal account and ask for feedback.

I had a family member that was bi-polar and saw how unpredictable and damaging the episodes could be due to his resistance to taking meds consistently. I also have another family member that is bi-polar/has depression and have experienced the ups and downs, etc. that occur when meds are resisted or need to be adjusted. In both cases, the primary complication post-diagnosis has been the person feeling “normal” again at some point and taking their self off medication without physician oversight and/or an objective 3rd party helping to evaluate the result. No one wants to feel like they must rely on medicine to be well, so when there is a stable period and things are going well, it’s apparently easy to convince one’s self that the meds are no longer needed. Unfortunately, this can result in a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering if there is no one to help the person stay/get back on track.

When you are feeling clear-headed and compassionate towards yourself, I suggest making a contract with yourself, something you can go to when trusting the assessment and feedback of others may be difficult. Considering your own experiences along with what you have learned from others, determine clear indicators (thoughts, actions, experiences) and what each requires as a result. Ex: Purchases/sells more than x dollars require a trusted source to approve, thoughts that others close to you are taking advantage require a session with a counselor, more than x days indoors at home requires time outside in nature, feeling on top of the world or “circling the drain” results in lunch with an encouraging yet grounded friend, etc. Be as specific as possible so the triggers are very clear and difficult to deny. And as a safe-guard, find someone you can use as a regularly-scheduled accountability partner to review these indicators and whether you are abiding by your own contract...because one of the biggest signs of going off the rails is not trusting ourselves and betraying our own word.

It sounds like you are determined to remain well. I encourage you to find others that have had similar experiences that you can use as mentors, music that motivates you when you are down and grounds you when you’re flying high, and (like others have said) experiences you can reflect back on when you need a reminder that you are intelligent and wise and capable...because you are!

@ Leslie A.

Lol I’ll get it right eventually. :)

Oh, thank you, Carrie, for your thoughtful post. I will surely do my best to take it to heart and act on your advice.

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