My name is Amanda, or Mandy if you’re a friend from high school or a family member. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 1993 after jumping out of a jeep on a highway in California. I sustained severe road rashes, and my husband, at the time, shipped out the next day for what was supposed to be 6 months. The day after he left, I went out, barely walking, & spent over $1,000 on items we either didn’t need, didn’t fit, or couldn’t use. 2 days later, I crashed into the deepest depression I have ever felt. My alcoholic neighbor had to take care of my then 6 year old son, as I couldn’t even get out of bed. Somehow, I managed to call Family Services, which was part of the U.S. Navy. They convinced me to go into Balboa Hospital, and helicoptered my husband home to take care of my son.
I’d like to say that was the beginning of my recovery, but no, there were about 15 more years of hell, during which time I’d gotten divorced, remarried to a great man who adopted my son, had a daughter, and gotten divorced again. During all of that time, we lived in a mobile home with black mold, which I later learned only exacerbated my condition. Finally, at the age of 39, my son being 24 and daughter 6, I received a case manager because of a wonderfully persistent therapist, I was finally able to move to a healthy apartment, started a new medication, and immediately saw a vast difference. Since then, I’ve taken DBT classes, which I feel is an integral part of who I am today, done a lot of research, and adopted the saying “Bygones;” as in “it’s over - move on.” I’ve been very stable for 7 years, and have become a medical advocate, on a volunteer basis, for 4 other people.
I am walking, living proof that Bipolar is not a life sentence. Knowing it and treating it are the important first steps to a real life; a full quality life. I also suffer from some daunting physical issues as well, but my focus is, and always will be, positivity.