I was born into an upper middle class family in a rural town in New England.  My
childhood was fairly normal with the exception of my parents'
divorce and family 

alcoholism.   Things were hectic but i was never abused or
went hungry.

I can remember feeling as though I was on the outside looking in,

even as a young child.  Although i was never very motivated academically, i was

involved in athletics and had plenty of friends.

As I have heard and read from other bipolar sufferers, my illness

too, seemed to erupt after the most significant event in my life.  I had just

turned sixteen when my father was killed in an accident.  We had begun to get

close so it was very devastating for me.  It was also then that I experienced

the first symptoms of bipolar disorder.

I went for over a week without sleep and after visiting the doctor

it was determined my insomnia was a result of losing my father.  Deep down I

felt this wasn't the reason.   In fact, I felt like maybe i was going insane

because I felt euphoric and not like I was in the middle of the grieving

process.  I felt guilty.

Several days later I fell asleep only to wake up to realize i no

longer wanted to live.  My manic period previous to that had been spontaneous,

thrilling, and enjoyable.  The depression that followed was the opposite.  I

cried.  I didn't get out of bed.  i didn't want to shower, and i sure as heck

didn't want to see or talk to anyone!

After another visit to the doctor it was determined that perhaps it

was post traumatic stress syndrome from the loss of my father.  This was 1979

and bipolar was rarely diagnosed particularly if you weren't hospitalized.

It wasn't until after a therapist i was seeing asked me to keep a

journal that i was diagnosed bipolar in 1987.My cycles were ten days manic

and ten days depressed and this finally became evident to others through my


I was originally put on Lithium bicarbonate and stayed on it for

six years.  I had the usual weight gain and was able to control it through

exercise.  Until the seventh year of treatment my life was productive and

normal mentally and physically.

After experiencing my first severe manic cycle in seven years i was

switched to depakote and wellbutrin.  I have been off the depakote for two

years and am currently taking zoloft and wellbutrin twice a day.

With the exception of two pretty severe manic cycles in the last

fourteen years my life has been stable and rewarding.  I can notice small

changes from one cycle to the next but it is very liveable and my case is not

severe.  To all those who feel they can't recover i am here to prove that you

can.   For me it couldn't be done solely with medication.  I have to let others

know how i feel and get some form of exercise everyday.  That is very



Email Andrea



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