Working to end the stigma and discrimination of mental illness.

Elizabeth B’s Story

I was diagnosed with bipolar soon after college...  after three years of experiencing symptoms.  I can trace it back to a certain time when I had my first manic episode at the age of 19.  I went from being a successful student with lots of friends to three years of highs and lows that couldn't be explained...  even while seeking help from a psychiatrist and doctor.  I'm so incredibly thankful for my family and friends, most of whom stuck by me this whole time and just wanted the old me to return.  Finally after 3 years of this, my psychologist diagnosed me as having bipolar (I was in the middle of hypomania, so it was easier for her to tell the symptoms).  Many have since asked if I was fearful of the diagnosis or wanted to run from it and my answer has always been no... I was honestly so relieved that someone had an answer!  I went on to get treated with medication and therapy and got my life back after years of shame for unexplained behaviors and eventually failing out of college. 

That was 10 years ago.  Since then things have been going pretty well.  I've gotten married and had two children.  I did experience a bit of mania/depression after the birth of my second child, but it was very minimal to what I had experienced those 3 years in college...thanks to constant communication with my psychiatrist, psychologist and supportive family and friends.  Knowing my limits and learning to say "no" helps tremendously as well! I still don't broadcast it, but many of my close friends are aware and I've found that the more I tell my story, the more people's minds are changed and their narrow view of mental illness is broadened.  And I've also had several friends come to me who have dealt with depression, post partum depression, etc. to talk about treatment and medication.  I had not even heard about this organization until I saw a commercial today and I just cried...can't believe it's been around for this long and I'm just now hearing about it, but so thankful for everyone that is a part of this!  Because that's my biggest issue with living with bipolar - the stigma...