I suffer from Bi-Polar type 1, it is very hard for my loved ones to understand, as hard as they try I usually get the "get over it" speech at one point or another. I get very depressed VERY FAST and have a hard time getting over hurts. I have 3 beautiful children and one who has ADHD with Oppositional Defiance, the sad part is that she is one of my triggers, her hyper behavior causes my anxieties to skyrocket and then I feel bad and get into a low. I have been on many medications but they always seemed to have sent me into a whirlwind of emotions, and sometimes even worse off then before. Before I was diagnosed I was put on MANY anti-depressants, if you don't know about Bi-Polar 1 let me enlighten you, an anti-depressant will CAUSE a manic state, to treat Bi-Polar they use anti-psychotics, with a mood stabilizer and if they add an anti-depressant they pair it with a counter effect. It is tricky but when they get it right you have your quality of life back. I can finally enjoy my children (even when they are naughty) and I can have supper at the table for my husband when he gets home from work, I can finally imagine myself holding down a job, and my daughter and I are mending our relationship, finding ways to cope with our behaviours and counselling has been extremely helpful to me. I see my psychotherapist every two weeks and always seem to fill the hour with nonsense but I feel good afterwards, I feel like I got to release my anxieties and realize I am "normal", just colourful about it.

The only thing I found difficult at the beginning was telling people around me that I had a problem that even I couldn't fix. I see myself as a pretty tough cookie with broad shoulders, always there for people who need a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, and a friend to go out with, I barely put myself first and would exhaust myself for the sake of others. Finally and unfortunately I broke down, spiralled into a depression and needed to be hospitalized for 10 days, leaving behind my husband and three children who I felt couldn't manage without me. I was relieved to see that the world didn't end while I took care of myself, they managed to keep the house clean, laundry up-to-date and supper at supper time lol. It gave me time to heal, it gave me time to see that others can manage if I'm not there to always pick up the pieces. It also gave them an eye opener that I was not made of cement, that I too needed a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, and a friend to spend time with me. I was as fragile and needy as those around me and that was OK.

It's been 4 months since my diagnosis and as they are still tweaking my medications a little here and there, I am able to spend time, real quality time with my family, no more faking it, no more hiding my thoughts as bad as they may be at times, no more sitting alone in the bathtub crying, contemplating my death, I am stronger, more energetic, healthier, and eager to wake up to see what tomorrow will bring. I am not afraid of myself or feel like the world around me will fall apart if I'm not there to keep it up, I can be weak, needy, and scared, I can reach out and be held by my loved ones. I have an open line of communication with my husband now and he understands my mental illness and is we are getting through it together, I am proud that I got help, I am proud that I can talk about it, I am not ashamed, I love myself again, I can laugh for real, I can smile without a reason... I AM BACK!

Lisa (Bristol)