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Story of Hope and Recovery


Claudia Brown

Q: How did you discover you were living with bipolar disorder?

A: I was having depressive episodes in high school.  Intermittently, I had highs and had trouble behaving and focusing in school.  After my second major depression, in college when I needed to drop out, I was sent by my parents to a psychiatrist (I had only been to a psychologist before).  I shared my symptoms with him and he diagnosed me.  I was 25.  I was prescribed lithium.

Q: When did you begin treatment and why?

A: My first treatment was by a psychologist for a depression that wouldn't let up, during my junior year of high school, and was interfering with my schoolwork and thought process.

Q: Describe any personal or external barriers and how you have overcome or dealt with these barriers.?

A: A very overbearing, ultra success-oriented (above all else) father.

Q: Describe your support network and positive influences, and how you find balance and stability. ?

A: Since 2010, I have been seeing a great psychiatrist regularly.  I should have been having regular therapy way before then.  When I experienced a psychotic episode in 2010, he saved me.  He keeps me in check.  I am trying to get involved with a new network called "This is My Brave..." in the DC area.  I have met several participants and attended a performance given by this group.  I try to see my close circle of friends regularly, as well as my siblings who live nearby.  I also try to walk and/or swim often, but regular exercise is hard sometimes when I'm very down.  Writing helps a lot.

Q: What is your message of hope to others living with bipolar??

A: Get a therapist you like as soon as you can!  I waited too long.  Therapy is a HUGE boost in dealing with bipolar.  Find others (or read others) who are/have experiencing/ed bipolar or other mental illness.  When you do, talk about it!  Try to write about it

Q: What is your favorite way of giving back??

A: Reading people's writing and giving feedback.  Listening.  Telling my bipolar story.