This I Believe

Anonymous - Stephens City, Virginia
Entered on July 2, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
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I was eleven and I wanted to die. This was just the beginning of many years full of numerous episodes of depression during my many years of schooling. It was after my last year of law school that I had my first nervous breakdown after taking the bar exam, and I ended up in the hospital for the first time.

I began to receive treatment in the form of medication and talk therapy and was eventually diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I have lived with the ups and downs that go along with this disease that are often devastating. I have survived five hospitalizations over the years with the help of my doctor. On two occasions I had to have electroconvulsive shock therapy administered to bring me out of my suicidal depression. On these occasions it seemed hopeless, and I had just about given up on myself.

I have learned to deal with the stigma and discrimination that come along with having a mental illness. I was fired from two really good jobs for voluntarily admitting myself into the psychiatric unit due to suicidal ideation. I then found myself unemployed after being treated and released from the hospital. These were very difficult times for me.

Through all of this, I have come to accept myself as I am and as someone with a mental illness. These experiences have made me a stronger person. I understand and accept the limitations that I have due to having bipolar disorder.

Through the years I have learned from my psychiatrist, my therapist and from all the people who have stood by me through all the trials and tribulations that if I can get through the dark periods, there is usually a brighter day waiting for me just over the horizon. I will never give up hope.

From the dark periods of depression that I have experienced, I have come to believe this. I believe that if I can just make it through another day, tomorrow will be worth living. I have grown to look forward to the future and to what tomorrow will bring.