My Struggle with Mental Illness
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.