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Bipolar Disorder Stories

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I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder after a psychotic break in college.  I slept for 22 out of 22 hours...voices and time were distorted. I would listen to music on the wrong speed and not even know it.  I was hallucinating...I would walk down the street and feel I could "control" others thoughts. I was lucky my roommates literally carried me to the student health center. The staff originally thought I was on drugs...but I wasn' was just me.  I had to control myself...i had thoughts that i could stick my hands through the blades of a moving fan, and come out unharmed. My parents came in the middle of the night to get me and I was hospitalized on the locked ward for 4 months.  I took Thorazine and painted pictures and went to basket weaving. I always wanted to do that.  After I was released, I threw away all my medication. I felt I didn't need it and returned to college.  My grades improved after my first episode.

By senior year, I spent a great deal of it manic.  I didn't sleep for weeks at a time and rarely ate.  I couldn't figure out why humans needed all.  I met my first husband then.  It was a merry-go-round.  I wore evening dresses and long wigs in the daytime.  I was the cause of him failing his medical board exams...I kept him up all day and night. I remember writing a paper for him while he was in med school.  I wrote it on anorexia nervosa.  I went to the med library and would read 6 books at a time...taking out some, stealing others, writing all over them.  I presented the paper to him after weeks of research...and my paper went totally against all accepted theory.

He went crazy midnight, he literally tore his hair from his head...and rewrote the paper with me.  (new subject)  My life was total chaos then.  I didn't know what I was doing. I lived in a blanket of delusion.  One day i went to the head of the medical school to tell them that Michael was crazy, having emotional problems...which I went on to detail. Again...Michael went "crazy" when he found out what I did and insisted I go back to the medical school and tell them the truth.  He didn't know how to handle me at all.

My story is a long father was bipolar, I found out a few years ago and so was his mother before him.  I do have two in college who are healthy and signs of any bipolar illness.  I am thankful for that.  Even with medication, there are fluctuations. Bless you all!!!

I am 14 years old almost 15 and I was just diagnosed with the bipolar disorder about 3 weeks ago. I have always been really moody and my parents always just said it was just part of growing up. The night before I was diagnosed I screwed up big time. I was out with some friends at a party and came home drunk and attempted to commit suicide and called the police on parents cuz they hit me a few times because of names I was calling them! I was so depressed I couldn't control myself, it was horrible! I am some what glad I messed up because otherwise my parents would of always of thought it is part of the teenage life. I am on a medication called Neurontin! That is for my mood to stay at one level so its not going up and down! I feel I am getting much better at controlling myself and not being so depressed all the time! I have an excellent counselor and she is great to talk to! That's a short description of my story and I enjoyed all of the other stories, now I don't feel like I am the only one with Bipolar!! Hope you enjoyed reading!

Hello my name is Jennifer, I'm twenty-eight, married for ten years, and a mother of two beautiful little boys. I was diagnosed in 1995 with bipolar, but I have always known there was something wrong with me. I first attempted suicide in 1992, I then found out my birthmother had a mental illness, but no one would tell me exactly what.

before I was diagnosed I attempted suicide four times, and when I was pregnant with my first child I got much worse, he was born in 1994 and I went downhill "fast"!!!!! My husband and I were having marital problems in 1995, that's when I was first seen by my first therapist. He quickly switched his attention from our problems, to me I was diagnosed with clinical depression and put on Effexor, and Prozac. About three months later after a mania stage I was diagnosed with Bipolar and put on Depakote. I was doing well until 1996, when I got pregnant with my second child, I stopped all medications against medical advice. The next nine months were pure "HELL" I wanted to die and was glad when I had the baby so I could go back on my med's. At that time my mom had emergency open heart surgery and due to my weight I was put on the highest dosage of Neurontin, along with Prozac, and Effexor. The doctor who prescribed my meds only saw me every six months, I did okay, for a while but then I started having more, and more episodes I was miserable I couldn't enjoy my boys, my life!!!!

In 1998 our home burned down, I was at home with the kids alone, so again more stress and I went in a depressive episode for three months. Finally I snapped in 1999, we were building our home back, I had the kids, the house we were renting, and I was doing all the packing myself. In Aug. I slapped my oldest son too hard in a manic moment, it got back to the officials and I was charged with child abuse, I swear to you I would never hurt my children on purpose, I love them they are my "LIFE".

I was immediately put into a crisis center  when they found about my illness. That was the best thing to ever happen in the five years I had fought with this, my new doctor was great he actually listened to me and put me back on Depakote because I did better on it, decreased the Prozac, and added a new nerve pill I felt, looked, and acted so much better no one could believe I was the same person!

It hasn't been easy but I'm doing so much better now, about a month ago I had my first mixed episode, it scared me to death I thought I was relapsing, but I held it together and made it to my doctor (same one I saw in crisis center) who added Dispersal to my "cocktail"

I'm a new woman all is well, I know I will relapse, that I can never be truly cured but I know with god, my support group (my family, and best friend) I can make it. I may be hospitalized again but I can handle it, I just hope everyone who is newly diagnosed and read this can understand this is not a curable disease, but if you work with your doctor, and take all your meds it can be managed, and you can fell normal.

Don't ever stop taking your meds, that's the one thing I have never done, I'm afraid of going into a episode. Even if you feel ok, that you don't need them you DO! And most important remember you are not alone, turn to god he will provide, and always be there for you! do you begin to describe something that has been both a blessing and a curse to your life?  I was always what my mom termed as "high strung"

as a child and a young adult.  I cried more than the average child, I was adopted, so I think my parents spoiled me a bit out of guilt for not knowing how to tell me about it. I found out I was adopted at school through a friend in the 5th grade which I believe was the beginning of a very different life and more volatile life than I'd had previously.  I was a very smart student through my years before finding out in my Catholic grade school.  After I learned of my true parentage and where I came from, my grades slowly dropped and I lost total interest in school, which I believe had to do not only with my situation, but with puberty as well.  I became sexually active at 14, which I still think is young even in this day and age (I'm 33 now and was a teenager in the 80's, boy was THAT fun!).  I was always seeking love from without myself and prided myself as being a "true Gemini" (my sun, moon and rising signs are all Gemini, which I put some stock in, but not everything). I was interesting, eclectic, smart, became fairly popular (something I found out through others later in life), and ALWAYS and I mean always had a boyfriend somewhere who I of course love with all of my soul.  I was a talented musician who studied piano, acting and singing and was accepted into the High School of the Performing Arts in NYC (of the movie "FAME" fame  LOL), but decided through friends that only "flakes" went there.  So, I proceeded to slowly stifle my creative self and put all my energy into my social life which was erratic and very painful most of the time, even if it WAS LOADS of fun.  I did experiment heavily with mind-altering drugs, mostly mescaline (which I felt revealed the secrets of life to me frequently, but abstractly).  Well, I did very poorly in HS, graduating by the skin of my teeth with my teachers (again in Catholic school) lamenting that I was a genius IQ who didn't care.

I took a year off after HS and an aborted pregnancy (an aside here to my parents who I treated very HORRIBLY throughout my younger years.  They were the best thing that ever happened to me and I have been very blessed in my life being surrounded with loving people who really helped when they knew how they could), a wrecked car (drunk driving - my friends didn't think to take the keys from me, thankfully no one was injured but the car), many failed "loves of my life" and a terrible self-esteem. I finally entered college and did extremely well because I WANTED to learn so badly and could choose what I wanted to study. There I met my future and now past husband who was extremely possessive and old-fashioned whereas my true nature is to be a free-spirit and I developed a new obsession:  exercise and starving myself.

I was a 5'7" 155lb attractive (though I didn't think so at the time) young woman with a man telling her at her low of 110lbs "You can lose another 10 pounds and I won't give you your engagement ring until you do". I was an aerobic instructor (one of many many many many jobs to this day) part-time and worked out obsessively.  I was frequently irritable and depressed which just fed his insecurities. Needless to say we divorced and I found someone else completely opposite within a month.  The relationship with my husband lasted 6 years total and I was completely faithful up until the last several months while going through what I now know was yet another manic period, and the relationship after that lasted 5 years (we're now very close friends).  I had been in and out of brief periods of therapy for boy-craziness and obsessions since 7th grade and it never ever stuck.

Well, my mom (my best friend ever) died of lung cancer at the age of 73 (I was 27 at the time) and I stayed ok.  I even had a steady job for the first time in my life. (It's amazing how creative you can get on your resume to explain many different job changes while in an interview) and entered graduate school when I thought I found the "perfect career"  Public Relations.  Well the pressure was too much between working many overtime hours, full-time school and a boyfriend who just kept making me feel inadequate and nuts to be so in love with him (who knows now if I really WAS in love with anyone before this and thank the Gods I only got pregnant once and never developed more than one female infection over my many promiscuous days). I broke and broke hard.  I was distracted at work by this new invention called the internet where my desperate need to connect with many many people as well as my need for more and more general information on all different subjects and disciplines could be quelled, and began a relationship on and offline with a married man who I proceeded to try to make leave his wife and children.  I DIDN'T Know who I was anymore.

It reached a boiling point in May of 1997 when I just stopped going to work and told my family friends and work that I had Mono, which of course was a huge lie.  I was home creating websites all day and night, and chatting with all my wonderful new "friends" on the internet (to be fair, many of these people really DID care a lot and one saved my life by calling 911 at the brink of my breakdown). To make a MUCH longer story than I intended to tell shorter, my boyfriend, friends and relatives all were encouraging me to seek help and finally I did when I realized I was planning my suicide in detail. Well too little too late so they say.  I wound up making 5 suicide attempts from July to December of that same year and was in and out of a private (ironically again Catholic) hospital 7 times during that time, refusing to believe it was more than a situational depression.

Well this is when I realized how much this has been happening and coming up over time.  I used to pull knives on my older sister when we'd argue and threaten to jump out the window when she babysat me when I was like 8 years old.  THAT is not normal behavior for a child of 8.  I finally told the doctors everything and went into a Day Treatment Program once it became clear I was not going to be able to just "pull myself together" like my father wanted me to and officially resigned my position and went full-time into therapy and was fortunate enough to receive Social Security Disability Insurance and find a housing program (I lost my cat, my drivers license from driving without paid insurance, my car, and all my furniture through this time). Every time I thought I'd hit the bottom of the pit, I fell further into hell. I hated myself and broke every mirror in my home during one brief time out of the hospital that summer.  I cried for days, I never slept, I bedded men IN THE HOSPITAL. But the outpatient day program and that hospital in general , along with finding my spiritual path were my saving graces. I worked very hard and studied my DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) and did everything I was supposed to.  I saw too many people in the hospital who were gifted and wonderful, but never put the effort in to get better and therefore just went back again and again. I refused to allow myself to become a person who could not work, love, live, laugh and have more than $40 per week to live on. I was in that program for about a year and then worked on taking temp assignments as an administrative assistant to begin to get the feel for work again. (previously I never have kept a job for more than a year and had crazy credit card bills and had to declare bankruptcy at this time).

Finally, I was working steadily enough to move out of the housing program, leave the therapy program, and move back into NYC (I had been living in Westchester County since I married). I had a period of sexual exploration that was "controlled" for a change and began really getting in touch with who I really am in spirit.  I pursued my new faith with vigor, yet not fanaticism as I would have in the past. I went without a boyfriend for 2 years (my last and I broke up during my breakup because I couldn't handle the relationship anymore and kept cheating on him, but he and his family were extremely supportive and helpful during my illness and I credit him with saving my life in the big picture to a degree).

During my hospitalization I was put on many many different drugs.  Zoloft (which made me crap myself repeatedly), paxil (which I took on and off until very recently), Lithium (on which I gained 40 lbs in 3 months and flattened my personality beyond tolerance), Depakote (did nothing), Neurontin (made me more nerOTIC! Lol) and finally I learned to regulate my behavior, my emotions to a degree that enabled me to function in the world and I meditate EVERY DAY and pray to the Gods of my understanding.  I now take St. John's Wort, which is an herbal which is said to have the same effect as the Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac family and I feel better than I have since I learned I was adopted that day in the 5th grade.

There is so much more detail to my story, but I've bored you enough.  If you think you may be BiPolar/Manic Depressive, are having suicidal thoughts, or have any of the symptoms mentioned in the resources.................STOP! and make the necessary calls to get help immediately!  I now embrace the uniqueness that my hypomanic periods give me, the added intuitiveness I lost while on Lithium ( though I do know that some people really NEED to take it because of severe mania and it's a wonderful drug), I have finally found ME!

I love myself and respect myself now.  I don't need others' approval for everything in my life.  I no longer reinvent myself for men.  I live for ME and I give generously for the abundance which has come into my life.  It is so true that you get back what you give threefold!  I now have a great job, I know what love truly is and am happier than I have ever been. Thanks for listening.

What a great site.  I'm a 46 year old man and was diagnosed bi-polar about a year ago. Strangely it was one of the greatest moments in my life because there was finally some reason and confirmation to what I had been going through for 30+ years.

My illness was not extremely debilitating.  I just withdrew from the world for days at a time on a regular basis and dreamed of dying.  I really thought everyone dealt with this, just better than I did.  The manic side was apparently subtle until last year though I can look back now at those periods where I was involved in, and was asked to take charge of, everything I could get my hands on. Then would come a collapse and I'd have to run away from it all. There were a few relationships but none more than a couple of years and they seemed to be in trouble more than not.  There has also been a friend who has for some reason accepted my on and off behavior and always been there for me. Of course during this whole time I had no idea something was actually wrong.

Over the last few years the withdrawals seemed more severe and I began to believe I was dealing with depression. I sought help from my regular physician who explained "everybody gets depressed" and passed it off. A later episode actually got me to a mental health provider, but I cycled back and dropped it before ever getting a diagnosis.  During this time depressions would last 2 to 4 days when I could not get out of bed, couldn't call in sick or answer the phone, just slept and fantasized about dying. Fortunately I had a workplace that accepted (for whatever reason) that this happened and avoided some major consequences.  Meanwhile there began to be incidents of rage,  never completely out of control but way out of character.

Finally I had an episode where after 3 days in bed I was suddenly high as a kite, happy as hell, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and knew that it was just all wrong!  I received immediate treatment, then after a confirming 2nd event just like the first was placed on lithium.

The results have been marvelous, over a year without an event and a complete removal of my death wishes.  I am now trying to come to grips with what this disorder has meant to my life.  I am also recognizing some side-effects from the lithium in terms of ability to focus etc. and want to investigate some alternatives.

My heart goes out to those who have been labeled as a result of BP or who are still struggling to find an effective treatment.  I have found the stories of others to be both a supportive confirmation of my own experiences and heart-wrenching because I wish nobody would go through this alone as I have.

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