Bipolar Disorder: Real Stories
Top Real Stories
1. A strong will to overcome actually did wonders
I was devastated with the diagnosis of my bipolar disorder when I was 16. I did not want to be sick because of some chemicals in my brain. I wanted to be happy and healthy. I had been prescribed lithium, and I took it for four years. Now I don’t want to take it any more, I had blurry vision and I developed rashes. And I want to be myself, without having to depend on drugs. So I stopped taking it for a week, and I got so depressed I couldn’t get off my bed because of the pain. Every part of my body ached and I felt like nothing mattered. Then one night I found a support forum on the Internet and I realized that there were other people like me, that I was not weird. This helped me, and it strengthened my desire to overcome the drug that was causing me problems. I went back to my doctor and he prescribed Lamictal, which is what I am taking now, and am so happy with it.
2. Family support by my side
I had been suffering from bipolar disorder for years, but I didn’t want to take medication for it. I felt that if I did, I would be giving the illness power over me. So I waited, I don’t know what it was that I waited for. I tried my best to not let my mood swings affect my husband and did not let on that I had trouble sleeping at night. But then my daughter turned five and and I realized that I couldn’t draw her into my chaotic world. So I allowed my therapist to prescribe antidepressants. Initially my antidepressant helped, but then I became manic and I had to be hospitalized. My family was terrified, and I hated myself for what was happening to me and them. A few years passed before I received the right treatment. This was when the doctor pronounced that I had bipolar disorder and prescribed an anti-psychotic drug along with a mood stabilizer. My family and my church are what support me even today, to cope with my illness.
3. I never left hope
I thought I didn’t need the medication when I experienced my first manic episode at college. I had taken some recreational drugs with friends, but even after its effects wore off, I felt euphoric, I didn’t feel the need to sleep and I felt as creative like I’d never felt before. I spent thousands of dollars on books and CDs and talked non-stop. When I went home, my mother realized I had bipolar and got me to see a doctor. I didn’t want to take the medicines initially because I didn’t want it to change me, but I was hospitalized when I didn’t take them, and I lost a girlfriend I cared about because of something I said when I was manic. Now I am fine when I am under medication. My girlfriend supports me, and so does my family. I believe I can triumph over this illness.
4. Never ignore the signs
I had seen my aunt suffer from bipolar disorder. She would suddenly start crying in the middle of something and wouldn’t know why she was crying. And the next instant she could get extremely excited like a child and rattle on about what excited her at the moment. We felt it was odd that her moods would sway so quickly, as if there was no logical connection between what she thought at one moment and the next. We talked to her husband about it, and thought she should see a counselor. He was a physician himself, and he scoffed at mental illnesses. He believed them to be imagined problems that could be cured with exercise. We let it go. My aunt got worse.
Her moods switched closer and closer together and then one day we found her trying to slit her wrists, the same person whose laugh could usually be heard at the neighbors’. So we rushed her to the hospital, and after a series of tests she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and prescribed lithium. We learned how important it was to believe that the sickness exists, and that wishing it away will not help. We are far more supportive of her now, and we have decided to stick with her through thick and thin and fight the illness out.
5. No need to be afraid
My mood swings began when I was 13. Sometimes my temper would flare up for no reason, and I’d frighten myself with the rage I felt and at other times I would feel a rush of joy like nothing I had felt before. At first, I enjoyed the joyous moments. But then I realized I had no control over what I felt. And there were times when I became indifferent and completely withdrew myself from other people. I didn’t go to my best friend’s birthday and slept it out in my room. I must have worried my family. So my mom took me to a doctor. And after some tests, serology, blood counts etc., they told me I had bipolar disorder.
I found out this meant that my moods would be uncontrollable because of some chemicals in my brain. Whatever it was, it made me feel like a freak. So what if I found out that even my grandmother had suffered from it? To me, it seemed that we were a family that was different from others. I was ashamed. I only confided in my best friend and no one else. And the first thing she said to me was, “Maybe you’ll turn out to be a genius like Van Gogh, he was the same as you.” That was the first time that I realized that while I was thinking that I was ‘different’, there were actually more people like me: Winston Churchill, Stephen Fry, Byron were some, and they were all great men. Maybe I didn’t have to be so frightened any more.