These stories demonstrate the urgent need for our programs.
Unedited Stories Submitted to Hope Xchange
Hi, my story probably won't matter to anyone but it's worth a try. My grandma and I are both bipolar ... she's since had her husband pass away and he also had it.
I just want my story to be heard... and just to let people know being 17 and being bipolar is very difficult. My grandma has dealt with me and my grandpa for years and not noticing herself, and I want her recognized for all her dedication and hard work to keep me and my grandpa on the right path when he was alive.
Being bipolar doesn't have to consume your entire life - you can over come a lot - it's just harder and my grandma has given me so much and I feel no one is grateful for that but me and I'm beyond grateful. She's the best grandma a kid could ever ask for. She's dealt with me having a stroke when I was 11, that most kids die from, when she didn't have to.
And, during all this she was battling being bipolar and managed to keep everything strong, I'm sure she wanted to give up and cry at times, or got frustrated, but she always manages to make everyone smile, and I manage to make her smile. She's the best!!
I've watched her overcome a lot and battle a lot and I'm sure she battles a lot more than I'll ever know, and I battle more than she'll ever know. Sometimes I wish I could send her on a vacation or something, because she needs the well deserved break just for herself, and to realize how much she's loved.
Being a teenager that had a stroke when I was 11 called an A.V.M (extra set of blood vessels in the brain that burst), being bullied and now being home schooled due to being bullied, I had kids making fun of me and saying "haha your head blew up" and that I should have died. But, at the end of the day, I knew this wasn't true because God has a plan for everyone and I had my wonderful grandmother every step of the way and she's loved. I'd be lost without her and I just wanted to share my Grandma's story and mine along with it. She's always ready to help when I need her and I'm always here for her!!
- your dedicated follower ASH
When I was in my teenage years, I used to feel emotions so strongly. One day I would be hyper excited about going to school and felt like I could achieve anything. I would be the perfect grade A student if only for a day. This then swung in the other direction. I would be crying my eyes out at the prospect of going to school a black cloud would fall over me and my grades would suffer.
During this time I had many sexual partners. I was out of control. At the age of 18, I had a steady boyfriend, however this didn't last long (as) he couldn't handle my erratic mood swings. This relationship ended up with me cheating on him. I craved the adrenaline when I realized what I had done I didn't know how to deal with all the pain and confusion. I didn't know what was happening to me ... so i took an overdose. This still did not lead to a diagnosis. The Drs. patched me up and sent me home.
I carried on living with this black cloud hanging over me. I met a new man (who is still with me today) however the worst was still to come. I entered into psychosis. I have always been very religious and I started having blasphemous thoughts all day everyday, it was all i could hear. I was certain that God would never forgive me and that I was destined for hell. I stopped eating, i stopped sleeping, the weight was falling off of me. I was a shivering wreck, crying continuously.
My mum decided something had to be done so she took me to my GP who sent me off to hospital. I explained all my symptoms at the hospital and I was assessed and given an appt. to see the psychiatrist the next day. They offered to admit me but i refused. The psychiatrist appt. lasted about an hour and I came out with the diagnosis of Bipolar affective disorder.
This was a shock to me but it did explain a lot of my life. They put me on meds but at first they weren't working. I was suicidal I got in my car locked myself in and threatened to drive it in to the tree, whilst sobbing my eyes out. My parents managed to pry me out of the car and threatened me with hospital admission, then I started hearing voices and feeling suicidal. This time we opted for an admission.
I was in hospital for 4 days, as I desperately wanted out. I hated being in there it scared me, however I then ended up back in hospital a couple of days later as I had obviously come out too early. I spent another 5 days in hospital. Once I was released things seemed to level out. The drugs were working. I had a steady couple of months, then I went to see my psychiatrist last week and she decided to wean me off the drugs I am currently on.
Three weeks into being weaned off and I began feeling low and suicidal. I began withdrawing from society. I am hearing voices and having flashing images so I went to the hospital and was told that the way I was being taken off my drugs was madness. And, they referred me to the care of the crisis team and I will be seen by a psychiatrist who will decide what to do with my drugs. And, here i am now ... typing this ... with my music on trying to drown out the voices. Good thing is i am being seen by the psych nurse tomorrow. I hope this hasn't been too long and boring.
~ Lucy Pearce, United Kingdom
So I probably found out almost 2 years ago, in December 2011, that I am Bipolar. I had known for many years that I had problems with depression and that I was an emotional person, but only a few months before being diagnosed with Bipolar did I think about the idea that I could possibly be struggling with some other psychological issues. I had heard that some relative on my father's side had struggled with Bipolar Disorder, but I really didn't know much about the topic.
I quit going to counseling shortly after I found out I was bipolar because I moved, etc. So I didn't find out what type I would be categorized as. I definitely want to go back to counseling soon because the last few months my mood swings have been pretty bad; sometimes I feel so miserable or like a horrible person. I really feel that talking to a professional would help as well as possibly being put on meds.
I do not like how my relationships are affected by my disorder. I want to feel more in control of myself and my emotions. I hate being impulsive and feeling indecisive at times. I hate how angry I can become in a split second or how I can remained depressed for long periods of time. It affects my schooling and everything else. I really would like to start talking to people who are in the same position as me and get some advice, but sometimes I am embarrassed to admit that I am far from perfect. I hate people being so judgmental when they have no idea what I am going through. The only thing that has gotten me through is having hope, being persistent, and having loving family and friends to help support me.
~ Haley Burk
Hello, my name is Carrie. I am 19 years old and i have bi polar... I was diagnosed when I was 12 but I knew way before that. I used to beat the crap out of my parents and siblings (no judgement) and felt absolutely no anger as soon as we were done. I could be happy one second, then sad, then mad, and then tired all in about 2.5 seconds.
Just one day i want to be happy all day long, but know that will never happen. I got into a relationship with a guy in January of 2013 and we were perfect for each other, or so I thought. After he started hurting me, I would become more angry than normal and I would start to see things from my accident in 2011 (I was hit by a car). After my accident, I believe that my Bipolar became worse than it was already. Thanks.
~ Carrie Jackling
I am a retired Optometrist for 15 years, who specialized in developmental and behavioral vision for more than 33 years. I am happily married to a lovely lady, 49 years and counting. At 71, I have the knowledge and experience when it comes to dealing with Bipolar Disorder.
My mission is to help others in achieving emotional stability without episodes. I’ve lived over 55 years with Bipolar 1 Disorder. For the first 25 years, I dealt with over 5 episodes. Since then, I have transformed my life by changing my thoughts and committing to a consistent supply of Lithium. I was one of the first to receive Lithium upon FDA approved it in 1971. It has kept me stable for the last 29 years, along with knowing the “Power of Positivity” with bipolar disorder.
Anyone who has struggled with mental health issues, and anyone who wonders how they can achieve positive thinking in their life, will benefit from a book I wrote: “Power of Positivity-For Bipolar & Anyone Else.” In this book, I share my lifelong struggle with bipolar disorder, and offers ways to manage the disorder with medication, therapy and with the Power of Positivity. It is only when experience is passed on that it becomes a learning tool, and in this case, also a positive force for everyone's life.
To Receive a Free e-book "Power of Positivity For Bipolar & Anyone Else" use this Coupon : KR38E at link http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/86502
Or You can Purchase Kindle Fire or Softcover Book at http://www.amazon.com/Power-Positivity-Bipolar-Anyone-Else/dp/1478110147
~ Dr Fred Von Gunten
Hi, my name is Gretchen Howard. I am a grateful believer and follower of Jesus Christ. August 2003, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Bipolar Disorder. This is my story.
When I look back on my childhood, I remember always being up and down and being anxious. By the time I was in middle school, I was regularly seeing the school guidance counselor who would encourage me to focus on excelling in my class work and band activities. I do remember finding myself having a hard time staying focused on the classes that were "difficult".
In high school, my moods were definitely swinging out of control but I don't think anyone paid any attention to it until I started skipping school alot to have sex with the high school drop out who was my love interest at that time. Eventually, I got myself back on track and finished high school. I went to college and could not stay focused to finish. I dropped out the first time after my 2nd year.
I moved back home and started working. I started dating someone and within 2 1/2 months of dating him, I was pregnant. I had my daughter and married him. We would separate twice within that first year of married and be divorced just shy of 2 years of marriage. Shortly after my divorce is when the mania kicked in HARD! I would work in Corporate America during the day, then party, drink, have bar fights, and a lot of sex at night. My parents were pretty much raising my daughter for me.
The summer of 2003 was when I hit my first BIG swing into depression. I had a great job, was back in college, and had my own place. At the one time of my life when things should have been "normal", I had wanted to kill myself. I couldn't stop crying and I just felt "empty". Anti depressants just made that feeling worse! My psych doctor admitted me into the hospital and started me on Lithium. After a couple of days, I started to feel normal. But then came the "label" that I was bipolar and he did not recommend for me to return back to work but to just focus on school. I ended up quitting my job which caused me to get evicted from my apt and back home with my parents I went with my daughter.
From 2003 to 2008, I was on a lot of different meds which caused me weight gain, weight loss, psychotic episodes, paranoia, suffered a miscarriage, and a lot of up and down swinging. I had three near death experiences and went through a period of cutting on myself just to release the pain I was experiencing. My relationship choices in men were less than stellar as well.
In March 2009, I left my hometown for good and moved to Charlotte, NC. I would learn how to take care of myself and my daughter by going to therapy regularly at the state funded mental health facility. In December 2011, I moved to Myrtle Beach, SC to be closer to the water. The move here was rough for a while. I was hospitalized 9 times for severe panic attacks which had me on the very low swing of things for a while.
As of today, I am HAPPY to report that my condition is STABLE due to the right combination of meds and therapy I am receiving and I have not seen a hospital since June. I am actively involved in church, working with teens that also show signs of being bipolar and I keep myself busy with being a Director-In-Qualification with Mary Kay and a Beachbody coach. I lost over 35 lbs over 3 months and am maintaining it.
My daughter is doing well here with me and is an honor roll student. I never thought after the 10 years of HELL I had after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder that stability was ever possible, but if you do the work and maintain your LONG TERM treatment plan, you can find a balance in a unstable world with an chemical imbalance!
~ Gretchen Howard
This is my story. For most of my life, I'd suffered from low self-esteem and depression. When I was 18, I was officially diagnosed as depressed, and my doctor put me on medication. For years I'd tried different medications with limited effectiveness. I suffered greatly, spending much of my time in bed, neglecting my children and my housework and confounding my poor husband.
Two and a half years ago, I read an article about Catherine Zeta-Jones and her experience with Bipolar Disorder, and my eyes were opened. I realized then that Bipolar Disorder was more than I'd known, and that I likely suffered from Bipolar Depression. I began seeing a psychiatrist and a therapist, and was started on mood stabilizers.
My experience with said psychiatrist was negative and so I switched to a Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. For most of 2012, my life was a shambles. I'd ruined my marriage, did many, many things I was ashamed of, and involved myself in risky behaviors. This NP turned my life around. She listened to me, and put me on Lamictal, per my request. She got me to a place with my meds where I felt almost stable, and my life began to fall back into place. My husband and I reconciled, I began to take better care of my home and my children, and I actually felt good much of the time.
At this time, I may be as close to stable as I'll ever get, but I take comfort in the fact that it's better than I was two years ago. I still have my bad days, where I can barely stay out of bed, or my manic days where I'm cleaning like a mad woman or spending too much money, but it's a far cry from the things I used to do before my medication.
I am now an Admin for a private bipolar support group where I hope that, by sharing my experiences, I can help others. I've certainly learned a lot from them, and I value their friendship beyond words.
~ Carrie Montanez
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