When my mother was 22 she was diagnosed with Bipolar type 1 this was in 1981. 16 years later her diagnosis was changed to schizoaffective disorder while I was deployed to the Persian Gulf. My entire life I feared being diagnosed with a mental health challenge. There is a stigma that people with mental health challenges just can’t cut it in the military, “it’s a cop out,” so for 14 years I avoided going to a psychologist based on the stigma and my own fear. 3 years ago at the age of 33 I was diagnosed with Bipolar type 1 and PTSD. Then the following year I was medically retired from the Army because I had an episode of extreme anger and threatened another soldier. Since my retirement in 2013 I have been stable until last November when I started struggling with depression after my grandma died. The depression has been made worse by my wife going to Ohio to visit family without me and my brother passing away in January. I am still struggling but I do have a support group and have been seeing a mental health professional and it is helping. If I can say anything about mental health it’s don’t be afraid to ask for help; everyone needs help sometimes.