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Consumer Interview

Age 
48

Gender 
Female

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

What is your diagnosis or diagnoses? 
Bipolar Disease, Depression, SAD.

At what age were you diagnosed with the borderline personality disorder and/or bipolar disorder? 
30

Have you gotten better or worse? 
Better.

** Very Important Question If You Could Answer Fully -> If you have gotten better, what specifically has helped you? This could be different for every person. 
What specifically has helped me is exercising on a regular basis to keep the endorphins up, knowing when to rest, being able to recognize when I am starting to get “out of control”, allowing myself to have an off day every now and then just for me and very understanding friends and a supportive family care physician. 

Has medication helped? 
The Lithium “deadened” me. I had no reactions, no expressions. It took away me. I use Zoloft during the winter combined with exercise and healthy eating and indulgence in chocolate every now and then. The chocolate actually warts off migraines. I can discontinue the Zoloft from Spring through the Fall. At that time I increase my exercise also. 

*What advice would you like to give to others who are suffering from your same illness(’s)? 
Read all you can about the disease. Discuss it with MANY health professionals. Exercise, eat healthy and LEARN to take care of yourself FIRST. I cannot promote exercise enough!!! IT IS THE BIGGY, at least where I am concerned!

* 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. 
Actually I do not share this information with many people. My true friends understand and accept me for me. Going to group therapy was EXTREMELY DEPRESSING. I need to surround myself and my life with positive, happy, productive, even keeled, people. Depression is rather contagious to me. I stay clear of people who demonstrate this on a regular basis. 

What do you know now that you wish you would have known long ago? 
That exercise DOES help!!!!! And that is OK to take care of me first!! And that a mental health day is OK. I wish I had known how therapeutic motorcycle riding was. I recently got my license and bought a bike. I believe the inhalation of the oxygen and basically just being in the fresh air really helps me to feel better.

How have these disorder(s) interfered in your life? Which areas? 
It has destroyed a marriage, a relationship with a daughter, and I tend to SPEND when I toggle towards the manic phase. This has gotten easier. 

* What does it feel like to have your disorder? 
In some ways it is a curse, obviously. In others, I am quite unique and draw people to me. I can be contagious in a good way. I have not mastered how to utilize my good days to their fullest, but it is an on-going adventure. 

*Have you ever felt seriously suicidal? How many times? What got you through that (those times)? 
YES and to numerous to count^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^It use to be my children. NOW it is my Grandchild.


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