Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Sara, I am 29 years old and I live just outside of Baltimore, Maryland. I am so glad you found my blog! Here is a little bit about my story of life with Bipolar Disorder.
I definitely did not leave the hospital at 15 thinking; “Great, I’ve got this mental illness and I’m going to take medication every day and everything will be alright.” In fact, it was just the opposite. High school was a time of complete turmoil for me. The addition of the onset of bipolar symptoms to the already tumultuous time that high school brings did not bode well for me. I really can’t even begin to put into words how treacherous that time in my life was. It is a time that I don’t want to remember, and to be honest, I have trouble recalling a good portion of it which is definitely for the best. It was in my senior year that things began to turn around. At that point I was finally faithfully taking my medication as prescribed. The change in me that accompanied my medication compliance was truly phenomenal. It was like night and day, two totally different individuals. During my senior year in high school I was able to take half a day of classes in high school while taking a college course at the community college in the afternoon. I had hated school so much during these years and was able to discover through taking college courses how much I really do love learning. It was a fantastic discovery to have made during a point in which I thought I completed hated education; it gave me the desire to continue on to college.
Let’s fast forward 5 years from my diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder to my 2nd psychiatric hospitalization at the age of 20. I was experiencing a very severe depressive episode during this time period and was feeling suicidal. I locked myself in the bathroom with the intentions of taking an overdose. My dad came to the rescue by literally banging the door down before this could fully occur; I had taken a few pills but not enough to cause any damage. I voluntarily admitted myself to Sheppard Pratt, a psychiatric hospital in the Baltimore area. I stayed inpatient for 6 days which was followed by a week in the day hospital. I took the semester off of college during which I was hospitalized and returned in the following fall semester.
I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in 2007 and went out into the full time workforce. Two months after graduating college I went through the scariest experience of my life. I made a suicide attempt that I am extremely lucky to have survived. After a extremely large overdose of tegretol, I woke up in ICU unable to walk or talk, remembering only small parts of what took place after I took the overdose. I spent quite a few very scary days in ICU with my family by my side. I managed to come through it all and am so thankful to be alive!
Since that event in 2007, I have been through a subpar marriage (which is an understatement), a divorce, a series of increasing intensity in my bipolar symptoms requiring medication adjustments and an onset of a psychosis like I’ve never experienced before, just to name a few.
On the other hand, since that scary event in 2007 I have overcome the psychiatric symptoms that I have dealt with on various occasions, I have changed my outlook on life and on mental illness, I have taken a stand to fight the stigma of mental illness, I have told me stories using various different avenues and a year ago, I graduated with my MBA degree!
In between the major events that I wrote about, I have experienced many other rough patches throughout my life. I have experienced times of severe mania and times of severe depression. I have also experienced times of mania and of depression that were much less severe yet lingered over time before I achieved a successful medication increase or change. Finding the right mix of medications hasn't always been easy. In fact it has often times been tiring and cumbersome; sometimes feeling like more trouble than it’s worth but I’ve always stuck it out. There have been obstacles to overcome through every step of the way as a result of my Bipolar and I am happy to say that I have successfully done so on each and every occasion. That's not to say I don't still have obstacles, I have plenty that I’m faced with at any given moment, which is a lifelong battle. However, Bipolar can’t and won’t stop me from anything! I proudly take the psychotropic medications I am prescribed and stand tall for all that I have accomplished despite having a mental illness!
Bipolar has knocked me down temporarily but I will never let it keep me down! The stigma of bipolar kept
me from ever discussing that I had an illness until recently. Last year, I went from hiding my bipolar in the back of a closet like a big dark secret to saying to the entire world that “I have Bipolar Disorder and I am just like you!” I started this blog, Kissing Stigma Goodbye to raise awareness to mental illness, fight the stigma attached to mental illness, and provide hope, encouragement and a sense of belonging to individuals living with a mental illness and their loved ones. It provides me with the chance to use my experiences to help others and to show others that they are not alone in this fight! My bipolar disorder and my experiences have given me the gift to help others who may be struggling. It took me many, many years to realize how strong I am for all that I have overcome. I hope that my blog can help others with a mental illness of any sort realize that they too are strong and that they are not alone in this battle. I am so glad you have found my blog, I hope that you will follow my journey and that my story helps you in some way.