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.