Kimberly H

As a teen, I thought something was wrong. I have family members with mental illness and would say I wasn’t like them. I attempted suicide twice, as a teen. I went through life reaching for goals I’d set and stumbling through things that weren’t supposed to be in my path. At 27, I had a breakdown. I hadn’t reached the goals I’d set and felt like a huge disappointment. I didn’t live up to the expectations my parent’s had given me in school. I was supposed to be a corporate accountant. Instead, I had only achieved an associates degree.

With my husband’s assistance, I found a psychologist that worked with me. I had to obtain a referral for psychiatric care. Unfortunately, the doctor I saw was more interested in furthering his studies on a new drug than actual care. All the medications I ended up taking pushed me further towards an edge I was unfamiliar with; mania. I couldn’t control anything. I went from happy, happy, happy to angry to depressed between days and sometimes it felt within hours of beginning one emotion. There are days I don’t remember. Several follow another suicide “attempt”. I use quotations because I never wanted to wake up. I did days later on the psych ward. I don’t remember my stomach being pumped, talking to loved ones or being taken by ambulance to the ER and then to the hospital where I was admitted.

Days later, I met a new psychiatrist and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It took months to find the right medications and years later it is still a struggle. As a military wife, I’ve had eight different psychiatrists and twelve psychologists. My husband deployed several times, with his last deployment his unit was in a brigade with 43 deaths. Many say it wasn’t someone he knew and he wasn’t there when it happened. The thing is, he was at an air base standing on the tarmac day after day saluting the caskets as they were loaded onto a plane taking them home. After this deployment he was never the same. They diagnosed him and he medically retired with 22 years of service.

Everyday and night we each med check each other knowing if we didn’t that the next day or one later could be a day we don’t return from. Although, this can be a difficult life, it is also a very rewarding one knowing I have achieved the most important goal of acceptance. Without that, I wouldn’t be an MBA student preparing to graduate this summer, have a beautiful daughter, blessed with a son-in-law and precious granddaughter and spent half of my life with an amazing and loving husband.

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