Bipolar Disorder with Psychotic Features isn't a well-known mental illness. When most people think of Bipolar Disorder, they think of a hyper, fast-talking, and moody person. Yes I get all of that, but I have a special, extra bonus that sometimes comes with that package. Psychosis.
When you are bipolar, you can have psychosis too, just like with schizophrenia. It's really no different, except that it usually comes only with severe mood changes in Bipolar Disorder. Like when you are in true mania, or severe depression. There are also mixed episodes that share characteristics of both mania and depression. You can probably imagine how much fun that is.
I have suffered through one major psychotic break, about a year ago. I have had several smaller, less intense brushes with psychosis that I was able to get under control quickly with simple med changes.
Most people think that psychosis is horrible, but that isn't always the case. Sometimes, you have feelings of euphoria, and you have very grandiose visions and delusions. I personally think this is one of the reasons many people with psychosis don't take their meds. Their reality might be more interesting that being doped up on meds (and I haven't even mentioned the horrible side effects of all the known antipsychotic meds).
I have a definite love-hate relationship with the meds. I take a cocktail of antipsychotics, antidepressants (to counteract the depressant effects of the other meds), mood regulators, anti-anxiety meds, and sleep aids. Right now I'm taking Abilify, Celexa, Seroquel, and the occasional Xanax.
Does it work? Yes and no. For the most part it does. I can function during the day, and sleep during the night. The meds keep me relatively stable and free of delusions and hallucinations. But is my life better for it? I suppose so. I am not the fun-loving, artistic person I used to be. Occasionally I forget or don't take my meds, and I start to feel like a person again. But then I start to become psychotic, and I realize I have to take the meds if I want to be a normal member of society. No more fun of mania for me, or talking to God, or psychic powers.
But I do get to take care of my family, and know what's real and what's not, and work and be productive. And I realize it's worth it.