I believe my bipolar mental illness began manifesting itself when I was in about the seventh or eighth grade, but I was not diagnosed until my sophomore year at Oklahoma University. I was nineteen, frail and had experienced a complete nervous breakdown.
For the first time in my life I didn’t care if I lived or died. My parents took me to a psychiatrist where she made the decision not to diagnose at the time. I was put on some heavy sedatives and told to rest in bed for the week.
I was in such a morbid state that I said nothing much until my next appointment. The doctor asked me if I had ever had times in my life where I went without sleep. I had experienced such insomnia since Junior High School. She asked me if there were times in my life when I was particularly happy. I nodded. She prescribed a mood stabilizing medication. I looked at her like she just landed from Jupiter.
My story can’t be told within a few paragraphs, but fifteen years later, after many psychiatric appointments, a hard-core “self-help” program and Bright Tomorrows, I now know that I have a future even while struggling with bipolar disorder. The fellowship of Bright Tomorrows is sweet and I love the sharing and the understanding. I appreciate the education and knowledge that I gain and the fact that it's based upon faith in Jesus Christ.