I think that my illness originated back in my early teens. Combined with a severe case of acne and being moderately overweight, life as a teen was a nightmare. Despite being very intelligent, I left school at 16 to spare myself the daily torment. My parents were unresponsive to my feelings of depression and obvious problems, but signed the papers so I could leave school. The depression followed me. I've always looked outside of myself for something to make me feel good.
For myself, being bipolar and also having an anxiety disorder led to a lot of problem behaviors: partying, shopping, shoplifting, hyper-sexuality and traveling. I succeeded at some things including school and work, but it never lasted. Being a woman, PMS made me an out of control, impulse ridden basket case. After wearing out all the community mental health centers in the area, I spent eight weeks in an excellent hospital. I found the medication and therapy that changed my life. It was 1989. I was 33 years old. I continued on the medication and, after a few years, felt well enough to move across the country with friends. I mistakenly thought that I was now "normal."
I met a charming older man and after a year we decided to marry. The first 10 years were a dream. Then a psychiatrist decided that I probably didn't need the medication after so many years. That was a big mistake!
The next five years were a nightmare of depression so bad that I prayed to die. I went through three psychiatrists, ECT and more medicines than you can count.
I plan on attending next year’s NAMI Convention. To quote Jimmy Valvano, "Never Give Up."
Nothing worked. Even geographic cures didn't work. I felt like I was slowly losing my mind and informed my family that I thought this was it. I didn't know how long I or my husband would last. I kept feeling like it was all going to collapse. I spent five years hardly ever leaving my house. Depression and agoraphobia controlled me. But then I started a new antidepressant, and I now feel great! It was a surreal feeling! I joined NAMI to support mental health issues and to get involved. Once I feel more secure in my recovery I can become more involved. I plan on attending next year’s NAMI Convention. To quote Jimmy Valvano, "Never Give Up."
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