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Consumer Interview

Age: 16

Gender: Female

Are you under care of a Doctor, Psychiatrist, Therapist, Other? Please List

Psychologist and Psychiatrist

What is your diagnosis or diagnoses? 

Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder

At what age were you diagnosed with the borderline personality disorder and/or bipolar disorder? 13

What age are you now? 16

Have you gotten better or worse?  Worse 

If you’ve gotten worse, what do you feel made you worse? 

My parents’ separation and the fact that mental illness is considered a taboo in my family.

Has medication helped? 

Somewhat.

*What advice would you like to give to others who are suffering from your same illness('s)? 

Never give up. After multiple suicide attempts, I'm still here, and I figure that there must be a reason why I'm still alive. There is always a tiny ray of hope; you just have to look for it, no matter how much it hurts.

Have you ever felt stigmatized due to having the BPD and/or bipolar disorder? Have you ever felt you have been looked down on or put down by others because you have the BPD and/or BP? Tell us about it.

Tell us about it. YES! I am always bullied at school because most kids think I'm on hallucinogens; they also complain because a lot of times, I fall asleep in class or am in too much of a "mental fog" to talk. Even some teachers pick on me for it; I've even been given detention when I was so manic that I cussed out a teacher. Only a few people where I go to school are understanding; some of my grades have dropped because many teachers are not understanding of the fact that when I'm really manic or depressed, I can't focus. Four have even accused me of lying to get preferential treatment.

What do you know now that you wish you would have known long ago? 

That there is a tremendous history of mental illness on my father's side of the family

How have these disorder(s) interfered in your life? Which areas? 

My wild mood swings once cost me my job. I went off at a customer, and my boss fired me on the spot. In terms of school, the grandiose behavior that comes with the BP has caused me a lot of trouble…I even had to transfer schools because I attempted suicide on campus and was so caught up in a "false life"/web of lies that I was asked to leave. Also, I cannot be in relationships, my cutting has made many of my peers afraid of me, and I was once held for threatening to kill a police officer. I was let off because of my mental state, but it's something that has really scarred me for life.

* What does it feel like to have your disorder? 

It's a mixed gift. I always feel like I'm stuck on some distant planet…it's really frustrating for me to not be able to communicate what I'm thinking to people. However, the seclusion it has created has really allowed me the time to improve my musical skills and use them to communicate.

*Have you ever felt seriously suicidal? How many times? What got you through that (those times)?

Yes; six times…five in my sophomore year and once in my junior year. All of the above involved suicide attempts, anxiety attacks, or depressions bad enough that I was extremely ill physically as well as mentally.

Honestly, though, my music is what has kept me alive. There has always been music playing inside my head, for as long as I remember. An indefinable, elusive tune weaving in and out of my consciousness. I've spent my entire life trying to duplicate the song, as I've always felt the need to create and play music, sharing it, singing and playing and performing. When I play, it's like a window is opened on my soul. Performing on flute and piccolo is my way of making sure that I am still alive. I've lost a lot. When I play, it's as if I'm confirming that I still have my soul.

I'll keep playing, keep performing, shouting to the world that I'm here, that I'm alive, that I'm stronger than ever before because of what I have been through. My song is richer, deeper and has more meaning, because my soul is, too. I know as long as I can hear the music, I will stay alive.


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