When Michelle reflects on the 25 years she spent tormented by what she now knows were severe bipolar episodes, she regrets not acting sooner. Her life is much less volatile now and the quality of the time she spends with her children is healthier, happier and more rewarding for both of them.

She has to fight back tears when she reflects on some of her worst memories growing up. Screaming at her reflection in the mirror and smashing it to pieces in an attempt to stop the voices in her head from telling her “I wish you would die, why don’t you just kill yourself?” happened on more then one occasion. Over a 14 year period, the voices won and she attempted suicide 5 different times before being Baker Acted to David Lawrence Center’s Crisis Stabilization Unit where she was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Upon discharge, Michelle was referred to Outpatient & Medical Services and a Bipolar Support Group. She takes Lithium daily and works closely with her psychiatrist monitoring and reporting on the status of her mood. She has learned to understand her disorder and now knows that her episode cycle is every five months. She uses group therapy to help cope with the daily pressures and relies on them for support during her episodes.

Today, Michelle holds down a steady job and is working towards a management promotion. She says, “For the first time in my life, I can actually see what is going on around me and I am parenting my children much better now.” She is proof that a bipolar diagnosis isn’t the end of the world, for her it was the beginning – one filled with stability and happiness rather than the torment of untreated episodes.

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