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Bipolar Disorder Stories
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I am 32 years old, and have just been diagnosed with
rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. I think that I have had this disorder since I
was a teenager, but with parents who are more interested in their
"standing" in the community, and a father who is a religious zealot, I
was always told that I was evil, and that only God could help me. Well, going to
church did not help with the feelings of worthlessness and the self-loathing
that I would feel when I am depressed, and the compulsive spending sprees, and
the promiscuity, and the thinking that other people were talking about me, and
the paranoia, and the inability to hold a job, and the inability to stay
in any kind of a relationship for any amount of time, thanks to my erratic
behavior, and my tendency to become aggressive and violent when I'm in a manic
stage. I finally decided to seek help when my husband, who has been the only one
there for me ( you've probably already guessed that my family isn't
supportive), said that he was going to leave me and take our infant son, because
he didn't want our child to be hurt by me. With the help of meds (mainly
lithium), I am starting to be able to live some semblance of a
"normal" life. Stress seems to trigger these episodes, so I have
started yoga, and stretching exercises. I have lost 40 pounds, and can actually
talk to people without being paranoid and thinking that they are thinking
negative things about me. The hardest part has been coming to the realization
that my family will always be relatively unsupportive of me, and critical of me.
They don't understand, or don't want to believe, that I have a medical illness,
and that I have no control over this, without meds and counseling. If this story
will help just one person deal with the pain and alienation that this
disorder causes, I will be very happy. You need to get help, you can't deal with
this alone, I read somewhere that up to 20% of BP's commit suicide without
I am a 24 year old woman who has just been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I had had several depressive episodes while in college, but I never realized that my sometimes explosive temper and what I always thought was "bad PMS" was really manic episodes. After I went through a horrific divorce from a mentally ill man who thought that as long as I did what he wanted, he would be well (hint, it doesn't work!), and lost a wonderful job, I entered a severe depression, that was not treated for two years, until it got so bad I slashed my legs up with an Exacto knife to put the pain on the outside, and I voluntarily admitted myself to the state mental health hospital.
I was diagnosed as depressive (what a surprise), but the doctor, when I told him about my racing thoughts (I didn't know that was abnormal, I thought everyone had them), wanted to put me on a mood stabilizer, which I promptly said no to, I was just depressed, I didn't need the other drugs, this was temporary, I would get over it. Within two days of being placed on Prozac, I had one hell of a manic episode, had a screaming crying panic attack while on an overnight visit at home (I went back to the hospital after 2 hours outside), and while I waited for the doctor to come back to work, I frantically crocheted an afghan, walked around the hospital grounds about four times, and seriously thought about walking off the grounds to Oklahoma City (the hospital was 30 miles outside of OKC, but I still thought this was possible).
I spent the weekend popping Vistaril so I wouldn't explode with all the energy that flooded through me. As soon as the doctor came back on Monday, I saw him and said, "You know, that mood stabilizer sounds like a good idea," They couldn't put me on lithium because I have rheumatoid arthritis and the meds I take for that does nasty things to lithium levels. I was placed on Neurontin, and the day I was on the full 900 mgs, I was calm for the first time in my life. I had thought everyone usually felt like their mind was running 90 miles ahead of their body.
The doctor still hadn't said the phrase "bipolar" to me, instead saying I was depressed with borderline tendencies (b/c of the self-harm).
When I was released from the hospital, I started going to a doctor and a therapist at the Central Oklahoma Community Mental Health Center. When I had a odd reaction to one of my meds, I sneaked a look at my chart when the doctor wasn't looking and saw, in clear type "Axis II-Bipolar Disorder". I freaked out when I got home.
I have had physical problems for most of my life, but I had always depended on my mind. I'm a fairly smart person, was valedictorian of my high school, was in the honors program in college, have a B.A., and am a writer. The fact that I had a serious mental disorder blew my mind, that this was not going to be a temporary thing, that this was for life. I've calmed down a little, mostly because I have learned how common it is, and how it doesn't have to ruin my life. Knowing I'm not the only one has helped a lot.
It doesn't have to ruin your life, you just have to realize it's the same type of deal as if you are diabetic and have to take insulin. Sometimes you feel great, but if you don't take it, you'll get sick. I refuse to let it rule my life, now that I know what I have struggled with most of my life.
I am so glad to have found this site, as it has helped me understand my illness better. When I was growing up , in a very dysfunctional family, I remember being angry, physically abusive to my sister and rageful at times.
I attempted suicide on several occasions and was hospitalized four times by the age of 15. At 16, I left home for good, drank, had a lot of sex and married a guy I knew for only 3 weeks by the age of 17. I'm very fortunate not to have contracted HIV. /I divorced and remarried by the age of 19.
My rages and depression started getting worse as the years went by. After having my first child, 3months after marrying the second time, I was ok for a while, then had the same symptoms. Ended up getting a second divorce 2 kids and 5 years later. I was finally diagnosed at age 28 and started on Lithium, then Depakote. I gained tremendous weight, so I quit taking my meds. I ended up pregnant again, yes 4 kids! I love them dearly, but I know that I need to be right in my mind to be a good mother. I know that I'm having trouble when I see little people climbing up my window sill in the middle of the night. Does anyone else have these types of hallucinations?
Now my 7 year old son has been diagnosed. Seeing him struggle with his emotions and demons that plague him hurts me deeply. I can't help but feel responsible. He is now in his second month and just starting to get better on the meds. I'm trying not to go on, but there is so much to say that I can't tell anyone else. I feel awful and anxious when I'm in a slump and my house could be a haven for rats. Even though I see it and it bothers me to the point of fear, I just can't do anything about it . Staying in bed for days is not unheard of. Then there's now, where I'm up late, my house is emasculate and I have boundless energy. It doesn't last. I'm not on meds now due to nursing, but I remember when I was on them how good I felt. Even to the point that when something should bother me, like my husband leaving us without money for food, rent, bills etc. because he spent it, I don't react. I need to find a balance. I pray I find a balance. Please pray for me. I will pray for all of you. Thank you.
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