Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Struggle with Mental Illness

My Struggle with Mental Illness
By Jessie
This is my true story of suffering from bipolar disorder
I am 27 years old. I am just like any other young adult and have similar ambitions. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder four years ago.
I grew up just as any normal child. My parents divorced when I was around five and my mom remarried around two years later.  I started working at a large grocery store chain when I was fifteen years old. I excelled in high school. I was involved in French club, drama club, key club, and art honor society. At the time of my graduation from high school, I held a 3.75 (non-weighted) GPA. I received a scholarship from the art honor society which helped pay for college costs. The fall after graduation, I began my first semester in college.
I had no problems adjusting to dorm life and the new class structure. I started a job at the college under the work-study program to assist with college expenses. I proudly completed my first semester of college.
I decided to go home before I started my second semester. I went to my mom's to spend the holidays with her and then returned to college for my second semester. About a month and a half into my second semester I received a call from my aunt informing me that my dad had lost most of his mobility due to a tumor that they had found on his spinal cord and brain stem. I withdrew from college to help take care of my dad. I moved and started care on my dad until we finally found a doctor willing to operate and remove the tumor.
I had to find a job to fill the void of having a purpose in my life. I easily found work. I had no bills or obligations, but I felt a great burden on my shoulders. Work went well for a couple of years. I noticed that I started to get depressed. I thought nothing of it because everyone gets depressed. I started finding it more and more difficult to be around people and I started making irrational decisions. I would find a job, quit a job. This went on until I had no further options for employment. I eventually reached the point of being homeless because my thoughts were telling me that I wasn't good enough to have anything. I lived in the woods for several months through a cold winter. I had been moving from state to state not knowing when, where, or why I was going. I would just go until I had nowhere else to go.
I finally got stable when I started going to a mental health clinic. The doctor promptly started me on medications, but the medications only made me stay in the town I was residing. I continued to have some serious episodes that I couldn't understand. I was sent to a state psychiatric hospital after I busted out the windows of my car and set it on fire. It really felt like demons were out to get me. This was absolutely the worst I had felt at this point. I spent several months in the hospital and on many different medications. They finally found the medication that would work best for me. I was so grateful. When I got out of the hospital, I wanted to do something with my life. I went to one semester of welding, but I found that I didn't like it. I thought I’d take some more college courses the next semester. I went to all my classes the first day of class. Everything seemed like a blur as I sat in each class while the professor handed out the syllabus. My anxiety level just went through the roof and I was more than overwhelmed by everything that was covered in the first day. I decided to drop all the classes. I was afraid that I would be a failure and I couldn't take that. I just want to achieve and be the best at all I do. 
I decided that I would try to go to work. It seemed as if this would be a good productive option for me to feel worthwhile in my life. Most people do not understand the psychological effects of a man trying to live off of social security disability and support a family. I was raised in a family that taught me that the husband should provide for his family. I have been struggling with this for quite some time.
Now I am in a dilemma. I have not had a stable job in years and I have not worked at all in the past three years. I started filling out applications and doing interviews. I tried fast food, factories, staffing agencies, and more. I have yet to obtain a position of employment. Doing all of this work and having nothing to show for it is quite mentally overwhelming. I would have high hopes going into the interview and my dreams would be crushed coming out. There are only so many places that a person can find employment. I feel like I have exhausted more than 90% of my employment options to no avail. 
I probably do not need to tell anyone who suffers from a mental illness, but there are challenges. I have learned to take these challenges on and not worry about failure. I also know that it is hard to get people to give you a chance. If they do not want to give you a chance, someone will. People have misconceptions about people with a mental illness. The truth of the matter is, they should be more worried about the person not diagnosed as well as medicated who might seem to be classified as normal.

No comments:

Post a Comment