I am a fellow sufferer of Manic Depression. I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder when I was twenty-five. I believe, however, that I have suffered the ill effects of this disease since I was thirteen years old. Sadly, I had to suffer in silence for over ten years before someone would diagnose my illness. I am amazed even today that I survived those tumultuous years of ups, downs and sideways.
Regardless of how frenzied my behaviour became, rising to absolutely ludicrous heights and dropping to unnatural lows, I was denied a legitimate diagnosis with which I could have found some relief. I attempted suicide more than a dozen times in that span of ten years; some I reported to doctors and some I kept to myself. I was treading water in the deepest end of the cerebral ocean of emotions that can be the soul and I was running out of the will to keep paddling. I was almost to tired to really care.
I was told repeatedly by health care professionals that the psychiatric profession did not like to diagnose these disorders before a patient was twenty-five. I would sit there dumbfounded and wonder how many people have had to struggle with this unforgiving illness before they were deemed eligible for a diagnosis? I would wonder how many suicides would be prevented if people were allowed to find treatment sooner rather than later? I know how many times my demons drove me to the brink of life and death before my lithium took those thoughts and urges away.
You see, a diagnosis is an important thing. Diagnosis means medications and medications mean the ability to function on a daily basis on a relatively even keel. It can mean the difference between life and death. It did to me. My life changed when I received my diagnosis and when I discovered the name of that demon that haunted my mind. I then knew what I could do to fight back and fight back I did!
Now that I have been able to identify my illness and it’s control over me, I have been able to understand it better and learn more about myself. It has been a long and painful road to this new self-awareness, but it has been necessary for my mental health. I am now able to recognize my symptoms and anticipate an emotional crisis before it can become extremely dangerous to my personal well-being.
I now am a relatively content housewife with one beautiful child and a loving husband. I live in a normal house in a normal city and lead a relatively normal life. These are things that I never believed were mine to have. I felt unworthy of such contentedness.
I believe many bipolar sufferers feel the same feelings. I want these people to see their future not as cursed but as teeming with possibilities. They too can work towards a path to personal emotional well-being.
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