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Bipolar Disorder Email Volunteers

The people listed below have volunteered their email address for information and/or support. Feel free to write them.

Disclaimer

Self-help is useful, but it is not a substitute for professional assistance. Emotional and behavioral problems can be debilitating and dangerous.

Please seek professional help: 

if you have thoughts of killing yourself or harming others;
if you feel depressed, anxious, guilty or down on yourself frequently; 
if you are abusing substances; 
if your performance or interpersonal relationships are impaired.

"Our purpose is to give information. We cannot, and are not, assuming the role of your physician or therapist in any of our replies. 

We also do not know your other medical problems and psychiatric diagnoses, which usually have a dramatic effect on medication (and other treatment) recommendations. You must make a medical and treatment plan with your physician and therapist(s)."

Volunteers

1) My name is Katy and I'm 21 year old Christian living in South Dakota with my husband and two cats Dax and C.J. (They are my children, lol). I am a recovering addict and have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder ,DID, bipolar 2, PTSD due to several types of abuse growing up, anorexia and bulimia, chronic depression, agoraphobia, and panic disorder.

I was abused by family from a very early age until around fourteen. I began self harming to seek attention and to call for help, and was hospitalized numerous times. I felt safe nowhere because no one in my family protected me. By the age of sixteen I was heavy into drugs, become a prostitute, and ran away from home several times only to end up coming back. I soon hated myself, and felt there was no way out. Thankfully I decided to get help. 

I love my family dearly in spite of their many problems, but I had to step away and find my own sanity and sense of safety. I'm active in therapy and a twice a month depression group at my hospital where I often lead/ moderate discussion. I also help run NA, AA, and SA groups in my local town. I've gone through DBT and found it to be quite helpful, as well as other therapy classes (Courage to Heal, etc.). 

Anyone who needs or wants to talk can contact me at k8tymarie@yahoo.com 

2) I am an adult student taking pre-med courses. I am hoping to gain acceptance to medical school and possibly specialize in Psychiatry. I have deep compassion for people who struggle with mental illness. As a child, I was hospitalized with Bi-Polar disorder. After many years of (ongoing) therapy, I feel that I have lived to tell about it. 

As you well know, it is not a handicap that you are ever "cured" of, but it can be successfully managed. My last symptoms were self-destructive behaviors such as drinking and drug usage followed by a manic period lasting a few months where I would get little sleep and be highly productive. 

My life has been a series of successes and failures, with little stability until a few years ago. I returned to therapy and concentrated on limiting the self-destruction that contributed to my down phases, and moderating the mania as well. I have been much better since I became sober, and since I have stayed in therapy.
sarah@photon.net   

3) Hi, My name is Terri and i am a 41 year old female who has been through the rampant of the mental health illnesses.  I live in Ohio, and have a house filled with animals, to me they are good therapy, and i also have a very supportive husband.  My illness have consisted of Major Depression, panic disorder, anorexia, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), which is under control for about 10 years now, Schizoaffective bipolar and alcoholism.  I was once misdiagnosed as borderline personality disorder, i had a bad experience with that diagnosis, a misinformed doctor.

At this point in my life i battle mainly with the schizoaffective bipolar and also post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from childhood abuse, which i forgot to add, sorry.  I have been managing my panic disorder and am not longer practicing any anorexic behavior in 15 years.  One thing i have been doing for a long time is researching all of these mental illnesses and others to find out as much as i can to help myself and keep up on new treatments.  I have spent time in the hospitals, mainly the Veterans Administration hospital, I was in the Air Force for 6 years where I began to drink heavily to cover up the depression and anxiety i was feeling.  I have also been going to college for a long time studying social work and psychology and am at a senior level but the courses don't go towards one degree and i do not have the money to finish.  Someday i know i will.

At one point in time i was a drug/alcohol counselor in the military, if you can believe it and a peer counselor when i got out.  By the way i no longer drink for a number of years.  It was strange, but once i finally got the right treatment i just quit drinking, i never tried to quit, it just happened, and now the smell of it makes me sick.   I am here to answer the questions i can, and if i don't know i will try and find them for you, or if you just want to chat about an mental health issue also.

We all need to become knowledgeable of mental health issues so society will hopefully someday remove the stigma that still exists. With that have a good day. Wicketbears@aol.com

4) My name is Rachael and I am a 34 year old married woman. We don't have children, but we have a cat named Isaac. I work as a grant writer/fund developer at a substance abuse agency. 

I am diagnosed with PTSD, Bi-polar II, EDNOS, and Personality Disorder NOS. I have been hospitalized five times, and have been on a host of medications to try and stabilize me. I have tried DBT (bad experience) and a Women's Trauma group (good experience), in addition to twice weekly talk therapy. 

On PTSD: About 9 years ago, my husband and I were attacked in our bedroom by an intruder. We were both stabbed multiple times and hospitalized for several days. After the hospitalization, we spent a month recovering in my parents house. We then returned to NYC to try and live and work again. It didn't work. Although we moved to a different apartment (one with a door man), my husband slept with a baseball bat and I had to tour the entire apartment when I would come in to make certain no one was there. Eventually, I got fired from my job because I just couldn't concentrate on it anymore. We next moved to Vermont and took whatever jobs came along to try and forget. 

A few years later, we moved to New Haven, CT as my husband was accepted at Yale Divinity School. My PTSD symptoms had mostly disappeared. Then they came back with a vengeance. I wanted to die. I wanted to kill someone. I spent a lot of time drinking. A friend recommended a therapist who specialized in PTSD and I made an appointment. I have been working with her ever since. In our last session, we talked about the stabbing, how I locked my self out of the apartment as I went to get help from the neighbors, as my husband struggled with the intruder, alone. It is the one thing I will never be able to forgive myself for doing. It's the one thing that probably prevents me from moving on.

Bi-polar: As my PTSD symptoms raged, I was referred to a psychiatrist for meds. We started with all the usual. An anti-depressant (Paxil) which I hated, then Trazadone, which was okay except for the thirst. Then, I went on a spending spree, became hypomanic. Was diagnosed BP II, given depakote. In between, I got addicted to Klonopin, smashed my car up because I fell asleep on the highway on the way to Law School. I also fell asleep in therapy, was taken to the hospital, and then institutionalized for a few days as I slept off the Klonopin. 

I am a rapid cycler, and my moods are mostly down. I had a psychotic episode and was "papered" and put on zyprexa. I gained lots of weight. I have been hospitalized five times. Twice by my own doing with my therapist for suicidal ideations and three times -- Klonopin, Psychotic episode, Suicide attempt (lithium overdose) against my will.

Now, I take Effexor, Lithium, Klonopin, Sonata, and Synthroid for my underactive thyroid.

Eating Disorder: Two years ago, I was diagnosed with EDNOS when I stopped eating and got down to 110 pounds. That incident may have precipitated the psychotic episode (my therapist would say yes, I don't think so). The Zyprexa made me gain back the weight I lost and then some. I was seen by a counselor at the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders, and later a nutritionist.

Today, I eat less than 1000 calories a day. I am back at the Eating Disorder Clinic. Because my metabolism is all screwed up, I have lost much weight. I am in starvation mode, and my excessive exercise doesn't seem to be helping me lose weight, either.

I am fortunate to have a supportive and loving husband and family. I have a supportive work environment. I have a fabulous psychologist, a great psychiatrist, an interesting eating disorder therapist, a great nutritionist. Somehow, I have managed to put together a great treatment team. 

I struggle with my illness everyday, but with self education, therapy, medications, and the support of a loving husband and family, I manage to get up everyday and go to work. Write me and I'll respond as fast as I can. 
EMAIL me at: rachaelba@yahoo.com  Thanks.

5) Laura Howell, 24, is a freelance writer and currently resides in Monterey, California where her husband is stationed at the Defense Language Institute of the U.S. Army. A native of Denver, Colorado, Laura graduated from Denver Christian High School and then attended Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colorado, not only earning her B.A. in English Writing, but also playing Division II soccer for the Mavericks, attending the national conference in 97, 98 and 2001.

Laura suffers from bi-polar disorder and its side disorders of anxiety and insomnia. After trying many therapeutic drugs, Laura has finally found stability in Tegretol and Ambien, with a huge dose of communication between doctors and her parents. Going through adolescence with this disorder being rarely acknowledged, Laura has also experienced the difficulty brought on by this disorder. Managing her disease on a daily basis, Laura is excited to contribute her knowledge and experience in order to help any way she can.
laurahowell21@hotmail.com 

6) I am 36 years old and was diagnosed with bipolar II, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), 6 years ago. My first diagnose was from a family doctor when i was 25, in which he simply told me i was a little depressed, HA! he gave me an antidepressant and simply dismissed the ordeal as pms and hormone related. However, I knew there was more to it than that. I was on and off of antidepressants for the next 6 years, then i began having episodes of agitation, sleeplessness for days at a time, sadness, lump in my throat and overeating. 

Upon a visit to a therapist she suggested that i visit a psychiatrist for further observation. The psychiatrist diagnosed me at bipolar II, OCD. I have taken a wide variety of medications, too many to list. I can't tell you the amount of frustration i have experienced. Which left me hopeless and in despair. I found another psychiatrist who seems to be helping, he listens and has tried to make every effort to help me. I have always taken my meds on time, and as prescribed not missing a day. I think this is a very big stressor. I have been stable for a year now.

I do not work, i help my husband with his business from home, I want to try to help those who have questions, comments or simply need to reach out. I know how lonely this condition can be, however, with the right care, diet and environment there is a positive outlook.

I have never been hospitalized, but have thought of it. I am not suicidal and try to make the best of each day. Some days i don't have as much energy as others but i push myself and i try to accomplish at least 1 thing each day. I take things one day at a time, and spend quite a bit of time in prayer and thanksgiving that i have such a wonderful husband to be by my side. He is not only my husband he is my best friend.

I won't tell you this illness hasn't affected our lives because it has in alot of ways. You see i used to work side by side with my husband, i was his accountant. Not being there with him is hard for both of us. We were together 24/7 for 11 years. But life has seasons and is constantly changing. 
sandyanderson66@earthlink.net
 

7) Though I am only 24 years old, I feel I've had quite a bit of experience in the field of mental illness. Diagnosed with Major Depression and Bipolar II disorder in 1997, I am also in recovery from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (a survivor of both childhood physical and sexual abuse), A.D.D. as well as several compulsive and addictive personality disorders around food, sex and self-injury.

My one suicide attempt occurred while attending one of the most prestigious Universities in the Country -- so I can relate very much to school and work pressure, perfectionism and failure.

Since my diagnosis I have had the opportunity to attend several treatment centers that specialized in addiction, mood disorder and most recently Trauma. It was at these centers that I was able to forgive my family for their part in my distress, learn to accept their love and support, but most importantly, identify myself as something other than the victim I had recklessly become-- a survivor and a space-taking deserving, powerful human being.

Of course I still struggle here and there- I work a very stressful job on the Stock Exchange, live alone in New York City and even find myself having difficulty getting out of bed on rainy days; But every day I learn something more about my true self.. and this keeps me away from falling to the demons behind me.

I hope I can be of some use to your service. I am very open and willing and would feel very grateful to help in any way that I can.

I look forward to hearing from you as well as answering any questions you might have.

kristina555@gmail.com

8) I was born in Seattle, Washington and moved to Lakebay, Washington at the ripe age of twelve. I have grown up in a family of twelve as the middle child. I was the type of child with an altruistic personality. So, when I started getting unexplainable bouts of sorrow I would tell no one. As I played outside sometimes I would have to run into the laundry room, bury my face in the clothes, and cry my little heart out? Then go back outside as though nothing had occurred. I was quitee, the little actress. 

It was so confusing, I didn't want my parents to know how sad I would get and didn't want to hurt their feelings. Over the years it became progressively worse. My straight A's started lessening. And all the sad things that can happen to a person suffering from bipolar started appearing in my life in its purest extremities. Nobody had any idea of what was occurring in my adolescence because I hid it rather well. Over time it was more difficult to hide?. Like a week spent in my room and such? Can't go unnoticed.

I also, have inattentive attention deficit disorder. So, as a very obedient and trouble-free youth, to teachers, it was hard to understand why I wasn't doing well in school. I seemed to be paying attention, but of course was "Spacing off". It is one of the many things to cope with trying to be a voice to the extremities I face in life, in a manner that will seem without excuse. 

Bipolar seems to be sticking around. The pain is still very real, but the perspective makes all the difference. And I guess you could not want to ask questions and such from a girl who just turned 18 last month. But, I have learned that wisdom isn't something that always can be attained with one's age . Email me as much as you would like or need to 

Engracia18@aol.com 


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