Valerie C

I began developing bipolar disorder at 16. It started with noticeable depression. I cried a lot. Almost every day before school. Almost every day at school. Some people asked me what was wrong, some people told me I was being ridiculous and needed to stop, some people began to ignore me altogether. My first suicide attempt was during this time.

My first year of university, I began to struggle with mania. I was impulsive, sometimes to the point of endangering myself. I became obsessed with the idea of religion, with delusions of a god speaking with me through “signs.” Some friends became concerned about my abnormal behavior. Some, again, began to ignore me. My mania and depression were so out of control that I lost my scholarship and was carried back home like a broken bird.

I saw the university doctors multiple times, and although the word “bipolar” was tossed around, they never officially diagnosed me because it just wasn’t something they wanted to deal with.

I fought for help but with parents raised in strict religious households, they were uneducated. My mother didn’t and still doesn’t believe in the grim reality of mental illness. Since I was stuck at home, I resorted to harming myself as a self-treatment. This caused major tension between my mother and I, resulting in myself being kicked out and forced to deal with my episodes without any support.

I tried to put myself out in the dating realm because I was lonely and desperate for comfort, but I quickly discovered that most guys don’t want to be with someone struggling with a mental disorder. I was never let down easy, either. I was called “crazy” and “emo” and “too intense” and “dull.” I was stood up over and over. I was more lonely trying to ask for comfort than I was cutting alone in my room.

Years went by before I diagnosed officially at the age of 21. Accepting the diagnosis was a difficult adjustment, but it’s been much easier to control with the proper support system. It’s been five hard years since I was officially diagnosed. The road has been long and will continue to be long ahead of me. Each relapse episode is different and more challenging than the last. I’ll always deal with the hopelessness, the irritability, and the delusions to some level. That’s out of my control. But with therapists and psychiatrists who care, I can control how I choose to deal with the inner turmoil.

Sometimes I’m told that my story is a sad one. Sometimes I’m told that it’s a miracle I was able to make it through the things I’ve been through. But I don’t give my credit to miracles. I did it myself, with a proper support system. My bipolar disorder tried to break me. My experiences tried to break me. The people who refused to associated with me because of it tried to break me. But I fought, and I’ll continue fighting, because all they’ve done is strengthen me.

To quote DJ Molles, “She’s strong…Did you mistake her for something else?” #StrongerThanStigma

7 responses to “Valerie C”

  1. Henry Boy Jenkins says:

    If there’s any miracle on display here, Valerie, it’s you. Thank you for your story and the courageous way you share it. I especially liked that “[you] can control how [you] choose to deal with the inner turmoil” because that’s a solid take-away for all of us living with a mental illness. Kudos to you, Valerie! Cheers!

  2. Lauren says:

    This closely mirrors my experience. KEEP GOING. Yes you can. We are a mighty community, we are here for you and for each other. I’ve been to all the points you’ve been to, up and down. No matter how lonely it gets, keep reaching out. #stigmasmasher #strongerthanstigma

  3. Chris R says:

    Well done Valerie C. for your bravery and openness. I was moved by your account, and you don’t come over “like a broken bird” at all.. Best wishes on your journey xC

  4. Christine says:

    Sometimes bi-polar can break ourselves. But for me my faith and staying on medication and working with my doctors has helped me live.

  5. cheryl says:

    very nice story–I relate tremendously!!

  6. Valerie DiM says:

    All morning long and for the past couple of weeks I have been in a very very dark space in my world. Last night during my insomnia stent I’m in as well I saw a commercial for this website…..so I decided to check into it. My boyfriend is a retired combat veteran served 2 overseas tours with his last one being extremely traumatizing to him….he is dealing with his own inner demons whilst everyday struggling to keep a roof over our heads, food in our stomachs and everything seemingly working against us every time he gets us finally somewhat stable….2 years ago I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, chronic depression as well as ptsd…..I recently lost my father due to cancer and its been tearing me apart….he also lived with bipolar disorder and anger management issues…..he was a great man underneath all his inner torments….he was the only one it feels that truly was there supportive wise towards his end…..long story short I’ve been on this site all morning and I came to the stories and as synchronicity would have it the first story on the page is yours….. Valerie c. and I’m Val d…. and your story resonates with me on every level…..I thank you so much for sharing your story and I apologize for my novel story to making my point but I literally just had a crying bit prior to reading your story and it made me feel comfort in coming to terms with my illness and make the leap to gain the help I need not just for myself but for my hero captain g.i.Joe. For even though it’s tough for him to live with me and deal with his own issues without my episodes which compromise our living conditions time and again…..I’m very grateful that I took the time to start accepting my illness and this story ultimately….u rock chicklet and u r a true inspiration to me today……keep on keepin on \m/,

  7. Robert K says:

    Val,
    That was excellent and well written. The greatest enemies for people like us are those so clueless as to their own emotional problems that they have come to mistake them for virtues. Fight on. Never say die.
    Robert

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *