Thursday, November 10, 2011

The next bridge to cross in my Journey

Today I was reminded of why I started my blog.  I started this blog because I thought by sharing my experiences it would help others not feel so alone and maybe get the right information.   I have been feeling discouraged lately about anything I have done on here.  That can sometimes be my illness telling me that nothing I do is good enough as well.  Sometimes I wonder if this blog is making any difference in any one's life at all.  Since I have not been able to write that much, I also started an online newspaper that collects different articles people post on twitter about Bipolar Disorder.  I was feeling better about the online newspaper because it was a collection of more than one viewpoint on the disorder.  But as I was reading a blog post on, I was reminded of how important it is to get as many viewpoints out there as possible.  I suppose that means I need to blog more myself and put my own personal spin on the illness. 

It has been a tough few months for me, but I guess that goes with the illness.  It's normally tough and I think that is what has kept me from writing.  I so want to be a positive light out there to help others but how can I do that when I am still struggling just as much as I always have with this illness.  And then it hit me that I need to put my feelings out there whether they are good or bad because that is the nature of the illness.  Of course there is the other thing of not being about to write much when you feel so empty and blue.  So as of right now I am pushing through the sadness to try and put my feelings out there. 

I am facing something at the moment that is very tough on any patient but even more so on someone with a mental illness.  My Psychiatrist of over 8 years may have to shut down his practice due to the bad economy and just work full time at the hospital.  About ten years ago he went into a small private practice that allowed him plenty of time to devote to his patients and not just treat them like cattle. It also gave him plenty of time to devote to his own family.   His previous employer pushed him to see so many patients per day he said he could never devote the time he needed to each patient.  So he took a leap of faith and started his own small tranquil environment for his current patients to see him and not be treated like a number.  The only downside to this was that most of the major insurance companies did not pay for full visits.  I was very happy for him but this left me at a point I could not afford him so I had to see another Psychiatrist that my insurance covered.  This ended in a complete disaster because they were not caring or on top of my care.  I actually ended up back into the hospital after ten years of being stable because my care was so bad and the medicine they kept putting me on had such bad side effects and they did not listen to me when I was struggling.  So after I improved enough to get out of the hospital I made an appointment to see my old Psychiatrist and I have been the happiest with his care for the last eight years.  I was lucky enough to have family members that would pay the difference of what I could not afford to see him because he is that good and worth every cent.  Now it seems that people are not able to afford his care and things are looking like he might be shutting down.  He started a new job and is now doing great work for the homeless but I make too much to see him now.  There has been no final notice that he will shut down his office but things do not look good and I am fearful of having to find another Psychiatrist.

My Psychiatrist was the best one I have ever come across and I have seen a ton over the years.  He really knew me and he knew how to treat me.  He would actually listen to me and trust me when a medicine was not working and adjust it as needed and I had complete trust in his care.  He not only treated me with medicine but he took the extra time to sit and listen to my struggles and help me work through my issues.  Most Psychiatrist do not take that extra time to do that because they make more money the more patients they see so I am certain I will not find that again.  It is almost like losing someone in your life because you have spent so much time with them and opening up about your deepest trials and tribulations.  I really hope that he can find a way to stay open and keep me as a patient.

The one positive thing I can take away at the moment is that I learned a lot from him and about my care and hopefully I can take that with me to the next Psychiatrist if I have to go in that direction.  I am working through this pain and the thoughts of having to start all over with someone new with my treatment.   I know my Psychiatrist has been a huge factor in keeping me out of hospitals and helping me stay as stable as possible but I am scared for what the future holds for me and my illness.  So at this moment I am standing at the beginning of a brige waiting to see what direction I will be taking to get to the other side.   I will get to the other side but it will probably be bumpy and unsteady.  I do have my support team around me though to protect me and guide me until I find the answers.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Silent Killer

People who suffer from bipolar disorder or depression deal with a silent killer.  That silent killer is the potential that suicide might one day take their life.  As someone who has battled this silent killer for years, I know how hard the struggle can be each day.  I call it a silent killer because it seems that is the best way to describe it because many people suffer in silence without getting help.  Even in these times mental illness is still something that people feel ashamed of and don't reach out for help.

I guess there have been so many suicides reported lately that I am concerned we are not any better off than we were a decade ago.  Last month I found out about the suicide of Jeret "Speedy" Peterson.  He had spoken out often about his battle with depression and now we are left without another talented person.  I just read on the news today that former NHL player, Rick Rypien, took his own life on Monday.  He had battled with depression for over a decade.  Also on Monday reality star of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Taylor Armstrong found her estranged husband Russel Armstrong dead.  He had hung himself after dealing with a difficult divorce, being in the media spotlight for alleged spousal abuse, and financial pressure.  While I am an advocate against violence against women because I survived an abusive marriage I still am a huge advocate of preserving life. The thing that struck me about about all of these suicides is that they all told people in their lives that they were "fine" the last time they spoke to them. 

The key to warding off the silent killer of suicide is to have a support system that knows you very well and can tell when you are not "fine" and just giving lip service.  My family members know me so well now that they know a tone in my voice that gives away my depression.  While not everyone has as much support as I do I would encourage anyone that suffers from depression to find some type of support that they can reach out to when they feel suicidal.  Mental illness should be treated just like any other medical condition and there is still so much more that needs to be done to make treatment equal to any other health conditions. 

Patrick Kennedy is a key person that is trying to push for more research on the human brain.  As his late uncle President John F. Kennedy pushed for moonshot, he calls this his new "moonshot" into inner space.  In 2008 he pushed to have mental illness health insurance coverage the same as all health conditions.  Kennedy also wants to push for the medical community to create a detailed map of the brain so that we can better understand mental illness and have better treatment.  I believe this is a good step in the right direction but so much more needs to be done before we lose even more talented people.  I don't just mean celebrities.  I mean someones mom, or your next door neighbor.  There are so many lives that are devastated after suicide kills and we should strive everyday to keep that tragedy from happening. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A day in the life of bipolar

I have not updated my blog lately because I have been in a very dark hole.  The past few months have been really tough.  I had fallen into a deep depression and it seemed like the dark clouds were never going to lift.  Being depressed for this period of time is like a bear going into hibernation for the winter.  All you want to do is sleep.  You don't care about anything in your life and you don't care if you never wake up again. Every night I would think this world would be better off without me and I would wish that I would not have to face another day.  I felt like a big waste of space and that I had nothing to offer to the world anymore. I had so many dark thoughts about how to end my life and what would be the best way to do that.  This is yet just another cycle of dealing with bipolar disorder.  Just when you think you have your medicine worked out and you life in order, the illness will throw you a curve ball. 

I was sleeping something like 16 hours a day and yet a felt so fatigued and had very low energy.  I stayed in bed for nearly a month.  I had very low interest in anything except watching tv.  I also would eat way too much because food can be comforting when the depression hits.  Everyday was so painful and I felt there is no way I could face another day.  I know I am not alone and I know I have people that love me but when you are this depressed nothing really can pull you out of the abyss.  I just had to hang onto anything I could to get through the past few months.  It's the longest depression cycle I have had in sometime.  So it just goes to show you that no matter how long you have had bipolar disorder there are still some days or months that are tough to deal with.  One of the harder things I deal with each day now is not being able to work and follow my dreams that I had so long ago.  I spent a great portion of my life working toward a career and now I can no longer feel the joys of the work environment.  But I have to listen to my doctor and he thinks it is best that I stay on disability because I have days or months like this and I would not be stable enough for a job.  So I carry on and just try to find the simple joys of life.  One thing that always helps me is being around my family and my niece and nephew can always bring a laugh and a smile to my face.  They are such a blessing to have in my life.  I seem to be on the the upside now and I was able to get out for a few days and enjoy the sunshine.  Surviving Bipolar Disorder a lot of times it just about making it through the rough times and finding what it is that can you can hold onto until your chemicals are back into balance. 

While I was watching all that tv during my depression, I was so sad to see that one of my favorite Olympians had killed himself.  Jeret "Speedy" Peterson took his own life last month.  I know he struggled for so long with his depression and suicide thoughts.  I know he must of been in so much pain when he took his life and the world will miss him so much.  My thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family while they deal with such a huge loss. It just shows you that anyone can fall victim to depression and there is so much more that needs to be done to help people get through rough times. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How I find support and fight the stigma of Mental Illness

This morning as I was going through reading my daily blog post, and I was suddenly empowered by how much support there is out there for people that have a mental illness.  Back in the 1980's when I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder, support groups were confined to going to a local meeting and sometimes with this disorder you are not always able to physically make it there. While those meetings are valuable and needed, it is encouraging to find new ways to interact with others immediately and read about their own struggles and success.  I am still amazed at how social media sites can actually be the newest form of support.  The best part of it is when you are depressed you may not feel like getting out of the house at that moment but by making these connections before you have an episode you already have a nice network to reach out to for help.  I believe if everyone that has bipolar disorder or a mental illness had some type of support they would be much more successful in staying stable and reaching out for help.  I know when I first heard of twitter I was not quick to sign up for an account because I thought it was just a place for status updates.  I had no idea how valuable it would be to connect with others that have similar experiences and struggles.  I would encourage you today if you have a mental illness to find some type of support.  It can be as easy as logging into and posting comments on the message boards when you have questions or just need someone to listen.  I think not feeling alone is key and an essential part in living a stable life and surviving with a mental illness.

My long journey with a mental illness has also made me a strong advocate of fighting stigma associated with bipolar disorder and mental illness.  I have channeled my disdain for society's misconceptions and partnered with NAMI at and joined their stigma alerts.  I have found new empowerment by writing to Senators and Representatives as well as people in the media.  I would encourage anyone that wants to fight this stigma to join the stigma busters and educate the world that Bipolar Disorder as well as all mental illnesses are genetic conditions that require medical treatment and most people can live very functional lives with the right treatment.  I am proof that the treatment does work .  To take action go to and sign up to educate and stop these misconceptions about bipolar disorder.
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Celebrities can have Bipolar Disorder too

With the recent news of Catherine Zeta-Jones confirming she has Bipolar Disorder, I was interested to see how many celebrities and well known iconic figures in our society deal with the illness.  I was always very found of Ms. Zeta- Jones acting and singing talent but she also seems to be just a beautiful person on the inside and out and a great family person.  She has demonstrated such strength caring for her husband, Michael Douglas, during his battle with cancer.  This can take a toll on any person but a person with bipolar disorder has an even greater struggle with the stress.  I applaud the fact that she was strong enough to also come out to the public and be so open about her disorder.  After doing some digging on the net I was surprised to find out just how many famous people in our past and present society battle or battled bipolar disorder and also gained great success and respect from so many people.  I started thinking if more and more of these "icons" started to come out on record and say they suffer from it and they have received successful treatment, then it might be the right direction to help fight some of the stigma related to the illness.

 I think one of things that has hindered breaking down the barriers is that so many people are afraid to admit they suffer from it and are ashamed to get help.  I do understand why people do not like to share something so private and painful with so many because I myself have been judged harshly by my own peers at school, later in the workplace, many times at my local church, and surprisingly enough my own family members.  It takes some time just to accept that you have the illness but it can sometimes take longer for others to understand it and then to accept as just another medical condition that requires treatment.  There is only one person in my entire life that once they found out I did have bipolar disorder never blinked nor treated me any different as the minute before he knew about it.  That person is my wonderful husband and even after two years later he sees me and not my illness.  He is a wonderful support and there are not enough words to ever tell him how much I appreciate how much of a support to me he is in my life. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Living with Bipolar Disorder, OCD, and Social Anxiety

Well it's been awhile since I lasted posted my thoughts.  My life for a few weeks was very stressful and there seemed to be no light at the end of that dark tunnel.  Well it seems I am digging out once again and in the past month I have stumbled over something about myself that I don't think I really took to heart or really understood.  I was told I have bipolar disorder years ago and I have been under treatment for many years.  While in therapy I was also told I had OCD, (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) as well as social anxiety disorder.  Being told that I had these two other mental illnesses was really no surprise as they do run in my family and I was familiar with them.  I was also told that having more than one mental illness is not that uncommon but I just thought to myself....Isn't Bipolar Disorder enough?  When will the punches stop coming.  I have since learned through a lot of hard times that they never do you just have to adapt and try to be strong and get through each moment. 

With my OCD I am a recovering checker.  This means I use to check my front door 15 times before I went to bed every night.  It meant that I would check the stove each morning and night that it was turned off.  I don't just mean one or two times I would literally have to put my hands on the burners at least 15 times each to make sure that they were not on.  This was even on days when I did not cook anything.  While I have received much therapy in this area and I do take a medication to help, there are a few days that I have a slip and I have to walk back inside to check the stove or oven.  I tried what is called cognitive-behavioral therapy which will expose you to whatever is causing your anxiety and you have to experience the anxiety of not checking the items and seeing that nothing bad happened.  On most good days I can get through each day without over checking as I call it.  Most of my checking steams from my fear that I will leave something on that will burn my place down and not just destroy my property but it could harm others in the process.  I think my fear of harming others as well as my beloved cat when she is home alone is what really is behind my checking.  I believe I think I have a good understanding of this mental illness and have it under control. 

The social anxiety was something that I thought I understood and didn't think it was much more than having panic attacks in public when I am alone.  I have now arrived to the point that I will not go out in public alone unless it is an emergency.  This has hindered my life so much but I have never paid it much attention or tried to understand why I felt this way but it makes so much sense now that I look back at my life.  I think I have spent so much time in therapy concentrating just on the bipolar disorder that I never really looked into my 3rd mental illness.  After looking up my illness further on the net after watching a show on television about anxiety disorders I was surprised at how much it described me as well as why I had overwhelming panic in pubic so paralyzing that I could not move.  You can find one of the articles I read at the following link but I will list what what struck me the most later in my post.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Celebrities fight against the stigma of Mental Illness

Today I was watching my favorite morning news program and Dr. Sanjay Gupta was interviewing Lakers player Ron Artest. Artest went onto to say how his life has been changed by the therapy he sought from a Psychologist. Artest is best known for punching out a fan at one of his games and he said he has anger management issues, but with therapy he has learned better ways to cope. He also sold he championship ring for $500,000 to start programs in the community for therapy for high risk kids. He says one day he would like to be a role model and I think he is on the right road. It just shows you when you turn your life around you can change so many lives and you never know how that can change the world. This was on the heels of the story the of Eric Ainge announcing that he has bipolar disorder. Ainge was a Quarterback for the University of Tennessee and a fifth-round draft choice with the New York Jets. Eric also talks about his heavy drug use which is not a surprise because a lot of people with mental do self medicate. While Eric and Artist will have a life long battle these two men should be commended for having the courage for coming forward and this might empower others to seek help.

I would also like to mention Glenn Close who is huge supporter against the stigma of mental illness. Glenn Close has a sister, Jessie Close, who has bipolar disorder and Jessie's son Calen Pick has Schizo-Affective disorder. When Glenn Glose was on Good Morning America she said "Mental Illness is just part of the human condition" and added that we should "talk about it as openly as cancer or diabetes." She has also started her own non-profit organization called BringChange2Mind. You can find other information on her organization at her website at

Friday, March 25, 2011

Celebrate your survival with mental illness each year

The other day I was trying to think why do my Birthdays mean so much to me.  It is not the presents, it is not parties that people throw for me, and it is not the attention you get from it.  I finally figured out that it meant that I had made it another year surviving with bipolar disorder.  Some people may not understand why living another year is such a big deal but to a person with a mental illness it can be a huge milestone.  The statistics are not in our favor.  They say about 1 in 5 people with bipolar disorder will kill themselves.  I can relate to this so much because I suffer more from severe depression more and I have to fight the suicidal thoughts too often.   When I did a fundraiser walk-a-thon  for The American Foundation For Suicide Prevention, I realized just how devastating a suicide can be on the family and friends left behind.  They  have so much guilt, they feel they should of done more, or that they should of seen more and figured it out. The number one comment I have ever heard is that they all wished they had one more day back with their loved ones to tell them how much they were loved and missed.  I always keep these comments close to me when I get to feeling really down and remember how much more pain I would cause if I did end my life.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Why are Bipolar Patients more likelly to get SAD

When you first look at the title you simply think oh they suffer from depression, so of course they are sad.  This SAD is quite different though then just being sad.  SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder.  As I was going through my routine this morning and that includes any interesting topics that I find on twitter.  One tweet really caught my eye that was listed by  Per the article that Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation linked, stated that research shows that patients that have bipolar disorder are more likely to display symptoms of SAD.  The full article can be found at

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Support is key to survive with bipolar disorder

This morning as I was going through reading my daily blog post, and I was suddenly empowered by how much support there is out there for people that have bipolar disorder. Back in the 1980's when I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder, support groups were confined to going to a local meeting and sometimes with this disorder you are not always able to physically make it there. While those meeting are valuable and needed, it is encouraging to find new ways to interact with others immediately and read about their own struggles and success. I know this weekend my depression was starting to rear it's ugly head and I was empowered and refreshed from responses from others that follow me on twitter as well as some blog post I was reading. Here is a list of  a few blogs that I looked through that truly made me feel not alone and they knew exactly how I was feeling.  I encourage you to check these out as well and find more personal stories and others that have bipolar disorder to interact with and to most of all feel connected.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fight for your right to be healthy and stable

This weekend was a difficult one for me. I was starting to feel very depressed, hopeless, and alone.
I am fortunate though because I have a strong support system filled with people that truly can help me get back on track. Some people may not have all the resources that I have and need the help and funding from governmental programs so that they can live a fairly stable life. Then today my husband showed me an article that was very hard for me to believe. I couldn't believe that someone that is a Representative of our government could think such barbaric thoughts and be so insensitive to people with mental illness. As per the Huffington post article the NH representative said that people who have mental illness are defective and should be shipped off to Siberia. He did resign this position today but it did just show me how far we have to go to educate more people about mental illness and that there is treatment for it and why these programs are needed.  I encourage anyone that is reading this to contact your local representatives and senators and have them fight for mental health programs and not to cut programs in your state. It is crucial for people with mental illness to have access to good health care with doctor visits and be able to afford their medications. If we stop the funding for these programs I am afraid there will be more people that might become homeless or commit suicide because they do not have the access to these needed programs.

I guess I found myself in a depressed state after the personal attack to my illness, but after reading the above article I was inspired to fight even harder and to help educate even more people about the truth of bipolar disorder. It is a hard disease to live with and it takes a lot of effort to live a fairly stable life, but it treatable. This is why it is so important for anyone that lives with bipolar disorder or knows someone that does to speak out and let our government know that mental health programs are important and very needed in our society for someone to survive with bipolar disorder.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How did I go from sucessful Accountant to being on disability??

In the year 1994, I did graduate from a 4 year college with a degree in Accounting.  Now it was not the medical degree I once wanted but I thought at the time it was a good career path.  I was just thankful that I did graduate with a great G.P.A while still battling some extreme mood swings.  How little did I know at the time that working as an Accountant was going to very stressful and my mood swings would go from one extreme to another because of the pressure I was under at all my jobs.  I had these huge goals at the time and I thought I had it all planned out.  I would work at a fortune 500 company, meet a great man to marry, have two wonderful children, live in a huge house and drive a fancy sport's car.  Wow, it seems so shallow and silly to think back to those days when I just 21 years old and just starting out in the rat race. 

While I have worked at a few high profile companies and climbed the ladder to the top in my field, it did not give me all the happiness that I thought it would.  I did meet a man that I married but he turned out to be the worst nightmare I could ever imagine.  He was very controlling and abusive and he never understood my disorder.  He caused more stress in life than my career did at that time.  Between work and my home life, I had very little to look forward to or much to live for at the time.  I did have a beautiful house and I was driving a nice car and I was making a very nice salary.  But after working just 10 short years in my field I had to make some changes or I was going to die.  You see I wanted to end my life and I was very close to being successful one night. 

How was I diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at such a young age?

So many people ask me how I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at such a young age.  Back in 1989, very little was really known about this disorder and there was such limited information.  Back in those days it was still referred to as Manic Depressive.  The one thing that I believe caused my illness to surface so early was all the stress in my life.  A lot people have said at 16, how could the stress be bad enough to cause symptoms.  Well as most people remember that time in any one's life can be difficult.  The problem with me though was was my need for perfection and overachieving.  I was taking 5 college level classes in the 11th grade, I was on the school's dance team, I was President of the honor society, and I was involved with many clubs and doing volunteer work as well.  I still remember the shock in the eyes of the treatment team when they looked at just my class schedule.  They said that no one should be under such stress and it was no surprise to them that I was having extreme mood swings.  I was barely sleeping back then and I was also obsessed with my weight so I would skip eating for days.   This was a recipe for disaster. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fighting the stigma of Bipolar Disorder

I was reading another one of my blogs today that I follow at and he brought up an excellent point on how some people out there want to say that Bipolar Disorder is an addiction.  He has a great blog on the reasons it is not an addiction.   I am a strong advocate of fighting stigma associated with bipolar disorder.  The media is notorious for jumping on the band wagon of misconceptions about this disorder.  I don't even understand how some people could say that bipolar disorder is an addiction.  For starters it is a genetic condition that the person is born with and there is nothing that caused this other then being born.  I will agree that self medicating can lead to an addiction but bipolar disorder is not an addiction.  This just shows that there are so many people out there that have no idea what the illness really is and what it is not.  I have channeled my disdain for these misconceptions and partnered with NAMI at and joined their stigma alerts.  I have found new empowerment by writer to Senators, and Representatives as well as people in the media.  I would encourage anyone that wants to fight this stigma to join the stigma busters and educate the world that Bipolar Disorder is just and illness and it is treatable. To take action go to and sign up to educate and stop these misconceptions about bipolar disorder.

So I was told I have Bipolar Disorder... Now What???

The first 5 things you should do once a doctor tells you have bipolar disorder.

1. Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor
2. Seek out therapy to work through the stress in your life and coping with the illness
3. Find a support group and support system
4. Eat healthy and try to exercise at least 3 days a week
5. Educate yourself with books and online material

Hearing those words is not easy and it can be overwhelming to you and others around you.  Probably the first thing a Psychiatrist will do is prescribe medication that will help stabilize your moods. As I said before everyone is different so the medicines you are prescribed will be different than other people with bipolar disorder. Also note a lot of medications have side effects and you will need to work closely with your doctor to work out the best combination for you. I still have to change up medications and normally do so on a yearly basis. Your treatment plan does change throughout the years. Your Psychiatrist will probably refer you to a therapist that will give you tools to better cope with stress in your life and your illness. Stress can play a huge factor in causing mood changes so it is important to find ways to help control that as much as you can.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

So how do I know if have Bipolar Disorder?

It is a question I have been asked by many people along my journey. It's not that easy to answer as everyone might think. Everyone I have ever met with bipolar disorder show different signs and symptoms. There are the classic symptoms of course that I will list at the end but with my experience everyone has a different treatment plan and no one with bipolar disorder can be put in a box. I think that this is probably why it is so hard for people to get help and maybe get the proper diagnosis. As I have shared in my earlier blogs that I looked in a psychology book and after reading the classic signs, I knew then that I probably had this disorder. I ofcourse went to my doctor at the time with my concerns and was later properly diagnosed with it. For some people it is not that easy though and sometimes the disorder can even mask itself as just clinical depression because the mania has not shown up in the person at that time.

I am not Bipolar... I have Bipolar Disorder

My last blog was an introduction on how I first heard the words Bipolar Disorder and it's the journey I have been on that has inspired me to write this blog. I would like to share how I have survived with bipolar disorder and help others out there that may be confused as I was at 16 years old. My goal is to help others find the help they need and maybe find some answers on how to survive with Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Disorder is nothing to be ashamed of and it is no one's fault. It is simply a disease just like any other that has to be treated. I have wanted for many years to reach out to others with my own personal knowledge and I thought this would be the best device. I have kept journals for years so I have many stories and experiences to share. If I could help just one person from going through the struggle that I went through with so much confusion than I feel that I have achieved my main goal in life. That was my original goal after all from the very beginning. I wanted to add something very important to the human race and I think that sharing my journey is that important thing that might educate and fight stigma associated with this illness.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

How I was first introduced to two little words - Bipolar Disorder

I was always a very driven person that had one main goal from my earliest thought as a child. That goal was to finish college and become a highly successful person that could add something very important to the human race. This was coming out of the mind of a 9 year old. I always sought perfection in myself and in anything I ever tried to do or attempted. I never needed anyone to push me to succeed because I was my toughest critic. My parents of course always encouraged me to do my best and strive for perfection. I was always on the honor roll at school and I never missed a day because I loved to learn and improve myself. I studied as much as I could even as early as Elementary School. I have an older brother who was also brilliant and I was always chasing him to achieve more than he did. Quiting or failing at something was never an option in my family. As early as 14, I knew I wanted to become a doctor and nothing was going to stop me from that goal. Neither my father nor my mother had achieved a 4 year degree from a college and that is what they wanted for their two children more than anything. That is until my life collided with two words I had never heard before in my short 16 years of life. In fact no one in my life knew what those two words meant. The year was 1989 and we were all utterly clueless. The two words were Bipolar Disorder.