Beliefnet
Beyond Blue

I’m one of those people who believe that you are born with bipolar disorder. When and how it manifests is based on experience, but the raw ingredients are in your DNA.
When I look back on my childhood, I can remember periods of time when I felt severely depressed or abundantly excited. But then, I was only considered moody. When I recounted some of my stories for the psychiatrist who initially diagnosed me, she told me these were obvious episodes of mania or depression.
But I didn’t really come into my illness until I moved away from home. I had my first serious manic phase followed by my first serious depressive phase. I failed my freshman year of college and had to move back into my parents’ house. For the next few years, I went through several short and mild episodes. I lost friends who said that I made them uncomfortable. My boyfriends would line up to warn anyone who showed any interest in me to stay away from the crazy girl. I used cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana to self-medicate for years. It was after I quit smoking that I was finally diagnosed. I went to a psychiatrist reluctantly; because my boss told me that I needed to get help to manage my anger or I would be out of a job.
Since that time, it has been a dance of managing symptoms with medication and therapy, stopping the former to have my babies, never stopping the latter. I’m blessed with a husband who, although he can never really understand, loves and supports me through my many moods. And I’m blessed with two beautiful sons. I’m optimistic that they will never have to face the same troubles I have, but if they do, they will have the love and support of a mother who’s been there.
To read more Beyond Blue, go to www.beliefnet.com/beyondblue, and to get to Group Beyond Blue, a support group at Beliefnet Community, click here.

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