I was 14 years old when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I had been in and out of psychological hospitals since I was 5 years old. I am now 35 years old. My mom had to put me in a psychological hospital when I was 5 because I told her I wanted to kill myself and told her exactly how I was going to do it. They told her I had ADHD and put me on a medication. Then when we moved from Florida to Minnesota in 1993 I started harming myself and trying to commit suicide I was again in and out of the hospital. My mom found a mental health provider that took the time to listen to what she had to say and listen to me too for the first time in my life. When he did his assessment he stated that he thinks I have bipolar disorder and started me on depakote. It worked for awhile but it was causing other medical issues. So I was put on tegratol and again it worked for awhile but was causing other medical issues. Then I was put on lithium and zoloft and worked for many years without causing other medical issues. I now take seroquel and have been on it for almost 17 years. It is my wonder drug. My psychiatrist who diagnosed me has told me many times over the years that I am one of his success stories because I graduated from high school and college. I worked as an EMT and a certified nursing assistance and worked with many people with mental health issues. Almost 17 years ago my sister had my niece and at that time I was mostly in than out of the hospital. I got to hold her when she was 30 minutes old and when I looked in her eyes it made me realize how precious life was and from that moment on I decided to get the help I need and become my own advocate and learn what Bipolar disorder was and learned how to control it and not let it control me. I am very lucky to have very supportive family. I have spoken to many large groups about living with Bipolar disorder and many have come to me and said thank you. I have bipolar disorder and not afraid to talk about it. I often even joked about being mentally ill. I used to think I was alone but learned that many people live with this mental health issues.
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