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Bipolar Disorder

Do I Have to Take Meds Forever?

September 28, 2016
I can't give you the answer you want, because the real answer is "Probably. You will most likely require psychotropic medication for the rest of your life." (I'll get to that "most likely” in a bit.) Personally, I don't see what's so bad about taking meds. Is it our upbringing, with the incessant "Drugs are bad" messages from parents,...
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My father was a man of very few words. The only exceptions were hilarious dad jokes and long conversations with my mother -- conversations that looked so pretty that I wished to have some like them in my life. Since he didn’t talk much, I can't start with a quote of wisdom from my father since I have never heard him say something about life,...
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Carrie was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 28, though she experienced clinical depression for the first time as a teenager. She knew something was seriously wrong but wasn’t able to get help at that time. Carrie wrote the following letter to her 17-year-old self as a part of the Say It Forward campaign for Mental Illness Awareness Week. She...
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When I was in my 20s (I'm 37 now), my bipolar depression got so severe that the docs decided it was time to try ECT, Electroconvulsive Therapy. In the old days, they called it “shock therapy”. The premise is sound: if you cause a 10-60 second seizure in the brain, in at least 10 consecutive treatments, certain biochemicals “right” themselves and...
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My Path to Acceptance

September 27, 2016
I keep hearing the word acceptance when it comes to living with bipolar. But what exactly does it mean to me? A doctor once told me acceptance means acknowledging a fact, but not necessarily being “ok” with it. I was uncertain so I looked it up. Acceptance is defined as “a person's assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a...
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September is Suicide Prevention Month. This is my story of my suicide attempt on September 12, 2014. I have chosen to share this to raise awareness – it has never been told before. Blink. “One, two, three.” My limp body slid to the ER table. Blink. The bright light. Blink. Scissors cutting my shirt. Blink. “She’s crashing!” Black. I heard my...
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I know junior high was rough, and high school is only going to be rougher. By now you've realized that you're different from most of the other kids – they've told you so, but they didn't have to. You've been dissolving in tears for the least – or no – reason. You've been laughing out loud in class about things that no one else understands. ...
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Remember freshman year of college at the Fall Health Fair? A man at a table handed you a piece of paper and asked you to take a depression screening; they were encouraging all incoming freshman to take it. You had been fighting any suggestions from your mom about talking to a mental health professional, but then again, everyone else was doing it....
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Dear Amy, I want you to know there will be times in your life when you will struggle with a mental illness called bipolar disorder. I know it sounds complicated, and the truth is, it is. It is complex because we are talking about your brain. However, if you learn everything you can about how to manage your symptoms and find a good treatment...
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I remember the period before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a seriously confusing, conflicting time. If you are unsure if you have any mental illness, you probably feel very confused and conflicted also. But the best thing I ever did was get help, and you can too. The first thing to do is talk to your doctor about your concerns and...
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The Surprising Early Symptoms

September 26, 2016
My experience with bipolar disorder had two long difficult periods of extreme symptoms separated by many years of only dealing with depression. The following story is about how I decided to go back to treatment after many years away. I was first diagnosed at 17 after a not-so-serious suicide attempt; I’m sure that sentence will only make...
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Self-Image and Bipolar Disorder

September 26, 2016
From the time we can talk, people begin asking us what we want to be when we grow up. My answers were usually one of the following: ballerina, model, actress, doctor, nurse, painter, art therapist, occupational therapist, photographer, illustrator, writer. I wanted to help people and make the world prettier for the most part. In college, I changed...
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