Since I was little I knew I was different, I felt it. I just did not know why. It started when I was in high school and grew more when I got older. I would be up for 24 hours, cleaning, working on papers, trying to accomplish as much as I could. But, then all of a sudden after a few days of being up all the time, SNAP I would be driving home and hoping someone would come and hit me head on so I did not live any more. During my mania’s I have spent thousands of dollars in about a hour and then on the flip side I have attempted suicide once. My depression days, I would not get out of bed, shower, eat, or talk to anyone. I would find myself very irritable at the same time. I often felt like a yo-yo, with the mania and depression.
Moving forward several years later, finally an answer happened..I have Bipolar Disorder.I was diagnosed with this mental illness when I was hospitalized. I then a few years later was hospitalized again, both times as an adult. It all started to make sense now. At least, I had an answer for how I was feeling so “different”. Now, I had to so something about it. I have taken several different types of meds and often feel like a “Pez” dispenser. But, I know I am the one that is in charge of my treatment plan. I make sure I go to my psychiatrist and seek professional counseling. I also attend group meetings, which have become my second family. I can go on and on about my dark days, but I want to give people hope and courage so I will not.
I have taken this mental illness and I have not used it as a crutch, just the opposite, I have used it as an inspiration for others. I have become a co-facilitator for my support group and I go out and tell my story to other people in a program called In Your Own Voice, by NAMI. I have been working full time at my current job for 11 years now and I work part time as well. Having a mental illness does not bring me down. I want people to see I may live with Bipolar Disorder, but I am Tammy, it will never define who I am.
This is a short version of my story, but I appreciate you letting me talk about it. Go reach for your dreams and goals, you can do it.
Let’s stomp out the stigma together!