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Bipolar Disorder Consumers Speak Out

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A little child, soft and sweet
Became my lovely girl.
A mother I had come to be,
She was like precious pearls.

Then later came two little boys
Each different as could be;
One with a heart of strength and hope;
One with a heart of need.

I prayed often for these dear ones
And sacrificed each day,
Protecting them from everything
Giving my love and praise.

I always watched them carefully
And taught them right from wrong.
I always wanted them to know
To God they did belong.

When things went wrong 
And dreams were lost
I prayed for God's mercy.
I always asked him to protect
My little family.

I tried to be the one that met
The family's many needs.
I took on more that I could bear.
Perfection was my need.

This was the way that I had learned 
To win my father's love.
If I could please him - make him proud,
My perfect life he'd love.

He wanted me to be a girl 
Who others looked up to.
I always felt so insecure;
This task was hard to do.

My precious son with tender ways
Was very much like me.
He always tried so hard to please
And sought hard to achieve.

When life's decisions became hard
We would both blame ourselves.
We'd take on so much guilt and shame,
And feel as if we'd failed.

I have now lost my precious son,
This child I have described. 
He took his life by his own choice.
One lonely night he died.

I know now that I should have taught 
My son how God forgives.
I should have taught him how to live
Accepting who he is.

I wish I'd only know my self
How to let go of pain
That's caused from trying hard to please,
Always searching for praise.

We cannot carry many loads
Without falling apart.
This is what happened to my son
He had a broken heart.

I grieve the loss of his dear life
And mourn with constant pain.
I offer God my brokenness
To heal, to mend, to save.

A glimpse of hope and I begin
To heal by God's dear grace.
Brokenness felt within my life
God's love will soon erase.

Jeanine Borcherding
(In memory of Johnny)
9/7/80 - 8/19/04

This is my first time on this website. I would like to tell Cindy, whose letter I read that I too have had days when I couldn't get out of bed or that I was so tired I couldn't talk. Get the help you need and if you are feeling unsafe then call your therapist or a friend immediately. I was just recently diagnosed as a rapid cycler, although I am atypical because I am never really manic, just anxious, disorganized and irritable before I crash and then I go all the way to the bottom of the pit and just want to die, I have been hospitalized twice since Dec. I am still in a state of denial about the whole thing and think if I came off all meds then I would be OK. My shrink is weaning me off of Paxil because he thinks that will make me cycle quicker. I am afraid if I do that I will want to die again. Has this happened to anyone else? I am on Neurontin. What really terrifies me is that my son has been just diagnosed with bipolar II . I feel like after reading info on this disease I am ready to give up because it is life long and doesn't sound like anyone really gets under control If anyone out there reads this and has any advice please write back I could use any info or encouragement. In Denial

I am a 32 year old female. I have been diagnosed as depressed with s. anxiety disorder/p.attacks. I have been cutting my arms again and have been refusing counseling. i have always known there was something "wrong" with me. After the diagnosis, i started researching and have found many of my inner thoughts and feelings in the site. I am going to the Dr. and agreeing to counseling tomorrow. I pray it's not bpd. as there is no cure. But in a way i would almost be relieved because then at least i would know finally what is wrong with me. I pray for us all for the strength we need.

I've been dealing with this illness, like all of you, for my entire life. My diagnoses was only five years ago but in retrospect and with some research, i've realized this illness has plagued me for as long as I can remember. I've been Hospitalized , spoken to shrinks, and taken meds just as all of you have. 

There is hope!! over the years i've become more knowledgeable about this illness and more importantly , myself. I know myself better than and am more comfortable with who I am than at any time in the past. This is where you, and I, will win the battle. The illness is, without a doubt, the worthiest opponent i've ever faced but home field advantage belongs to me. I know when, where, and why it will strike and am there to defend my turf before the illness gets out of control. I'm not saying my life with bipolar disorder is easy but it's easier since I began seeing the signs and asking for help before things get way out of hand. 

I moved to Orland, Florida about a year ago and was doing well. You guessed it, the illness raised up and know i'm back home in Indiana with my parents for a while. I'm alright with this because I know I will get better and soon be back in Florida.

My name is Jennifer.

I am 19 years old, a college drop out, and not by choice. I was diagnosed with clinical depression at the age of 10. I have been taking medication since I was a child. I didn't have a hard life. I had a good family and was well loved and taken care of. I have always been a mess from hell. After years and years of counseling, and some badly needed medicating, I was finally under control for the most part. The last year of high school, I started to get mood swings, not badly, but enough to be annoying. I had a scholarship for soccer and art to the University of Saint Francis. I started going to school, and after a month I noticed something had changed. I started getting so depressed I would cry like I did when I was small, I would cry until I rocked. I couldn't go to classes. I couldn't get out of bed., and I started to stop bathing and gained weight. I quit soccer cause I hated it. My artwork became moody and angry and violent. My teachers started taking note. I was one of the most talented in school. I didn't show up for class. Then after a few days I would wake up after a nap and suddenly feel enlightened. More intelligent then everyone else. More beautiful then before. I shone, I was charming and funny, and very well liked. I made friends instantly, and then, three days later, lost them just as quick, when they would see me in another mood swing. I chalked all this up to the stress of moving away from home and money troubles. I was wrong. Soon I became a walking freak show. A variable display of insanity.

I'm not proud of it, but its who I was, and who I still am on accession. I stayed up for 56 hours at a time and slept for five hours and then would fall into a deep depression again. This happened so often, I would have mood swing like this within three hours or less. One day I was feeling so wonderful that I tried to jump into the Campus Lake for no reason at all, believing that I could walk on the water because it was a shorter distance to the art Building then the path . I tried to hide all this from my friends and parents.

It didn't work. I was a constant spinning compass. I was my own worst enemy and my fan club in one.

I was in need of help. I got some. But, to stabilize I needed allot of time. I went to the Dr and found out that I was an Utrarian rapid cycler by the end of the semester. I also found out that the medicines I was on for clinical depression still, made my cycles faster and worst. I am now trying to get my life back in order. It's so hard. SO very hard. Sometimes I wish I was someone else. I get so angry at life and myself. I feel cheated of a normal existence. I am a devout Buddhist because it is the religion/philosophy of living a "MID GROUND"

Life. But, I still struggle daily with the beast that is Bipolar. I hope in my heart that one day I will forgive myself for being as screwed up as I am, and start to love myself and trust myself a little. In the mean time. I am still up writing this at 4:00 in the morning. Peace, love and good luck to you all.

My name is Cindy. I am 34 yrs old. I have just recently been told that I may be bipolar. I was referred to a different doctor to change my medication. I started having migraine in Nov. of last year that didn't not quit. I have had them for years, but never for such long periods of time. I was put on Maxalt, Allegra, and Paxil. They seemed to get better. Recently, I almost got a divorce. I have not been sleeping or sleeping for days on end. We agreed to go to a marriage counselor. I went a day before my husband and I went. I felt that I needed to sort out my past to go further with sorting out my marriage After two sessions with the counselor, she is sending me to another doctor for bipolar. Suddenly things make sense! It is somewhat a relief to know what is wrong with me. Then, again, I am scared because of what is wrong with me. The thought of it just frightens me. I read the other postings and identify with some of them. I done some research and know that I was correctly diagnosed. I have an appt.on Aug 3rd, but I am in a bad way now. I don't sleep during the week and sleep all weekend. I can hardly move now. It is taking me forever to write this. I don't know what to do. I see the marriage counselor Friday. Today, is Monday. I don't know if I will be able to move at all by then. I pray daily for the strength to endure until I get the help I need. I know the Lord is keeping me together for now. Thanks for listening.

I have read a few of the postings to this site and can truly say I understand.  I was diagnosed at 16 years of age with Bipolar I (Mixed).  I am now 36 years of age and have lived with the disease more than half my life.  I understand because many times I look back at my accomplishments and wonder how far I could have gone, just what would I have been.  I commented once to my great husband of 14 years, "I feel that I won the gold medal in the Olympic Decathlon and I am the only one who knows it."  But in truth I want people to perceive that I carry this burden well.  You see I have my dignity and my pride--no one can ever take it away from me.  I wish you all well and know that the journey isn't easy but the accomplishment when inner goals are achieved is the best satisfaction of all.  Keep your faith!

i am exhausted all the time - mentally and physically.  i can't wait to crawl into bed at night but then can't sleep past 6:00 am - i have to get out of bed to "accomplish" something.  yet it never gets done.  i think that if i can act perfect and caring and nurturing and normal, people will have to like me.  i know that this is hurting or affecting my relationship with my boyfriend.  i can't stand being alone.  but all it takes is one misunderstood word and i flip out.  i'm not eating much and i would very much like not to be like this.

By Meri

The BiPolar Pendulum

Pendulum swings
from far to near,
a changed perspective
altering courage and fear.

Far is found in dark
shame, sadness and sickness rule,
near is often blinding
a mind heightened as a sharp tool.

The continuous shift of the pendulum
brings each movement nothing that is right,
not to act on all impulses
the war of fight or flight.

Each way pendulum swings
sends me on a ride hard to hold,
either I am the tarnished of old silver
or the brightness of new found gold.

Pendulum please soon release me
Away from your whimsical swing,
you have nothing more to offer me
to me, only emptiness you bring.

Either complete your final swing
and free me from this horrific ride,
you are and have never been my friend
certainly no one to whom I can confide.

Pendulum with each shift you hurt me
and confuse me ever so much,
each direction you swing
brings me so further out of touch.

Merely an imaginary rope holds you up
Yet, I am held up by new ways to cope
To cut you down and tear you apart,
can be the rebirth of me
- someplace to at least start.

By Meri

Another childhood memory comes to me. Another revelation of who I once was and how I once felt. A scary place for a child and a scary place for an adult to recall. The place was in a tree in my backyard.

I am not sure why I climbed the tree that day. I remember running to the tree that shaded our backyard and that had crab apples large enough that you could feel hit you as they fell to the ground like hard rain. The tree provided shelter with its large branches and camouflage leaves. Even when they fell to the ground, they provided a soft bed of sweet smelling dead leaves. I used to like to hide in the leaves on the ground. Deep enough to bury myself so I could not be found. There I would lay for hours very still as I could feel the ground beneath me and not see the sky or the sunshine above. It was peaceful.

That day I climbed and climbed. Grabbing on to the large and decaying trunk and over stretching to reach the nearest branch that was strong enough to boost me up. The tree welcomed me as the smaller branches waved restlessly in the wind. I felt as if the nearest branch lowered itself so that my small and wounded body could grab hold. I remember the ache I felt down there and the tears on my face. I recall his scent on me and wanted so badly to just only smell the dead sweet smell of the leaves.

There I sat upon a strong branch and explored the weaker branches within my arms reach. There seemed softness in the harsh and rigged bark. I saw many crab apples and shook the smaller branches so they would fall to the ground. I was above so I would not feel the sting nor pain of the crab apples pounding at my body.

My mind wanders. As it did that day in the tree. A perfect escape with no place to go. I could not climb higher, the branches would not allow me to reach the sky. I was afraid to climb down. I did not feel safe in my peaceful surroundings, yet I felt at peace. Nobody knew where I was and I barely even recalled how I got that high in the tree that day. It was my first time climbing and I did it with such grace and ease that nothing could ever touch me again. I began to feel part of the tree. I began to see myself as a leaf…a fragile part of nature grasping on to a branch. Knowing it is time to fall, yet hanging on to stay alive and partake in the essence of the tree, the sun, and the world. Once I was to fall to the ground there would be nothing left. I would just be a dead leaf among hundreds of others waiting to be discarded with a rake. A stark ending to something that began so beautiful and peaceful and alive.

As I felt the surge of life in myself as part of the tree, I also felt the dread of what was to be my fate. How could I stay up there knowing what lies ahead below. Why could I not climb up higher and why was I so afraid to climb down? I was trapped in nature itself. Longing to feel apart of it, yet running from the outcome of feeling alive. For things in nature only live so long and the beauty ends when they become one with the ground. So felt the child.

Trapped in the tree. No reason to yell for help and worse then that perhaps, no need to call for help. I did not want to move. I wanted to blend in and remain one on the branch I sat upon. The wind went only around my body and never passed through giving me a chill or sensation.

"I am one with the tree", said the child. "No one will ever find me up here, for they never know when or where to look and observe. If I fall to the ground in a moment of weakness, I will just be raked up and put in the bag on the curb. If I survive the next wind blowing across the branches, perhaps something above me would let go and let me in and climb higher to safety and peace. If I stay remain where I am, how much would it take to move?"

One with the tree. Feel as the tree feels. Harsh and rough edges of the decaying bark. For I am in depression.

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