the never-ending roller coaster
the never-ending roller coaster is probably the best way to describe
life. meaning, that I am constantly going up and down and
left and right
and twisty-turn and upside down and right side out. that is
life. that is my life.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder I at the age of 15 ½
. now, over 3
years later at the age of 18, turning 19 in august, I am very surprised
I am still alive. around the age of 15, I went from the perky,
lucky, smiley, bubbly teenager that I was, to a cynical, irritable,
slightly depressed pain in the ass. let me start you from
since the day I was born, I was very out-going, social and wanted
everyone and everything that was out there in the world. I
from the earliest of ages as being exceptionally bright, articulate,
intelligent and creative. I had a flair for talking and writing.
breezed through school effortlessly. I had a knack for school,
arts, and people. being the oldest of another sister and younger
my sister hated me and looked up to me all at the same time.
but by the
age of 15, everyone was wondering what was happening to gina?
I had just
bought my roller coaster ticket.
my parents were really at a lost for what was happening to me.
happening to their essentially perfect daughter? it was bad
enough that our
perfect, walton like family was falling apart due to my parentsí
divorce. but, there was a lot more to it. finally, my
family could not
longer stand my fiery irritability, ever changing moods, and violent
bursts. <I was never violent before this. I was all
for trying to talk
things through and listening and all that.> so, one day in
went to uicís psychiatric institute for juvenile research.
that is when I
started therapy with one of the perkiest woman I have ever met.
that time she seemed really happy.> she was my therapist.
I also had a
psychiatrist brought in, to recommend a medication program for me.
next 2-½ months, I saw jodi, my therapist, and dr. wright,
separately, once a week. but, it was working, and in november
I attempted a
small suicide gesture. I really wasnít attempting to kill
myself, but just
inflict pain onto me. but, picking at my wrists with carpet
enough to send me the northwesternís childrenís psych ward for 6
was at northwestern I was diagnosed with bipolar. at uic,
jodi and dr.
wright were still investigating every possibility from the obvious
depression to add, to borderline personality. but, since I
in therapy at northwestern, I was asked every question possible.
was, that from the ages of 13 to 15 I was bounce back and forth
hypo-manic and normal episodes. looking back at those years now
and knowing what I know about bipolar, I can totally see how I was
manic. I was all sweet and innocent and maintain my perfect image
and excellent grades, to my family and a lot of my friends, but I was not
acting how a 13, 14 and 15
year old should act.
I was smoking a ½ a pack a cigarettes by the age of
14, drinking, smoking weed, partying, staying out till sunrise,
with 20 year olds. I had lost my virginity at the age of 14,
and had my
first one nightstand at 15. I was working at this time and
I was spending
money like it was nothing. I bought myself everything I wanted
for my friends too. I didnít care. and I wanted to everything
even my friends were saying that my energy was too much to handle
the time and my happy disposition was becoming annoying. that
changed. I then dipped into the worst depression, I
have experienced to
at this point I missed so much school it only worsen my depression
stopped going. or make a weekly appearance. I was fortunate
to attend a
suburban all girl preparatory high school. so as long as our
tuition checks were in, I was good to go. in december, I was
northwestern. this time I had serious suicidal intentions.
I had not done
anything this time, but if I didnít go into the hospital I was going
something, and we are not talking about carpet tacks anymore.
I got out of
the hospital 2 days before christmas and made a promise to my self
going to clean up my act. and I was able to pull it together.
I finally left my all girl school and decided to leave the city
and live my
cousin and aunt in the suburbs and finish my sophomore year at the
high school there. I finished my sophomore year without incident.
to almost failing to get all Aís for the second semester.
I thought I was
back on track. and better.
not knowing at the time, I was extremely manic during the summer
junior year of high school. I was doing some hardcore
drugs. I was
snorting coke, taking acid, going to raves, and staying up all night
sometimes for 2 days or more. I was out of control.
and once again, I was
losing it. I had relapsed, and this time I was going to jeopardize
I was no at my third high school in 3 years. it was an all
but this time, a lot of my girl friends were attending the same
first semester went ok. I had calm down a little a bit.
and I was doing
well. by time the second semester rolled around, which was
in january, I
was manic again. I was skipping my therapy sessions with jodi
wright and I was lying and saying I was taking my meds and I wasnít.
dr. wright found out through blood tests, he gave me an automaton:
your meds again and stick to them and your therapy, or you are going
hospital. I laughed at him and his threat. but in february
I was sent to
christ hospital. and I didnít go quietly. I went kicking
they called in uic security and I was escorted to the uic hospital
sedated. and then off to the suburban hospital I went for
a lovely 9-day
stay. there I started my meds again and was put under
and put in the quiet room many of times. but by day
5 or so, I was on so
much ativan and tegretol and other meds, I became quiet as a mouse
still as a statue. when I returned home, they tapered my drugs,
so I can
carry on with my daily life. but I was still not myself.
I stopped going
to school again and I was getting depressed. what goes up,
must come down.
that is my life.
my depression was getting worse and therapy, combined with my meds
working. and in july, I attempted suicide. at this time,
I was living with
my father and brother. my parents were separated and
my mother said that
she loved me, but couldnít handle me anymore. so, one july
night after a
few friends and my dad, brother and I watched a movie, I went into
and I cut my wrists. I hate pain, so I guess I didnít cut
deep enough, due
my low threshold for pain. it seemed like I did cut deep,
because I would
not stop bleeding. I then passed out. to my dismay,
I woke up very much
alive. I just was a bloody mess, and with some pretty
damaged wrists that
were in a lot of pain. 2 days later, I had to meet with
dr. wright. I had
screwed up my therapy with dr. wright and jodi so much, that if
I missed a
session with either one of them, without a valid reason, they would
my parents. I didnít have one, so off I went to see dr. wright.
at this situation: it was july, not to mention, that this
particularly hotter then previous ones. here I am, going to
see my doctor,
a psychiatrist, to try and lie to him that everything is peachy,
so I can
get out of there as quickly as possible. and I am a wearing
a sweater. I
did this because I had to bandage my wrists and I didnít want him
because I had plans to try again that night. either way I
was screwed. if
I didnít go to my session, I would hear it from my dad and he would
there later in the day for a later appointment. if I did see
dr. wright, I
was going to be extremely lucky if I could pull off the session
incident. well, needless to say, I went to the hospital that
day. I went
to christ hospital again and this time I stayed there for 21 days.
I was on
7 different meds and taking medication 5 times a day. I was
mess. but I could not snap out of it. besides my bipolar,
I have suffered
from extreme paranoia. and my paranoia at this time was sky
high. I sarted
getting delusional. hearing things and seeing things.
I didnít care if I
died. I wanted to die. on my 21st day, my insurance
coverage ran out for
psychiatric inpatient hospital stays. and I had to go and
another hospital where my secondary insurance would cover my stay.
hospital I was there for 9 days. I left that hospital 2 days
before my 17th
birthday. at the 2nd hospital, nothing really changed,
but something in
me just clicked. I wanted to get out before my 17th birthday
and try and
make something of my life. I donít know what it was or if
was just my
bipolar doing what it does best, change moods. I didnít want
to be stuck in
this hospital any more and I wanted out. I wanted to be free
and be in the
real world and learn to cope and deal with crap.
now, almost 2 years later as I approach my 19th birthday, how
is miss gina
doing? in october of í99, I went off my meds. it wasnít
choice, but mine. I have been off them for 9 months.
but as of last week,
I went back on my tegretol and respirdal. I am hypo-manic
olí dr. wright. <yes, I am still with him and jodi.>
he thinks that I am
having a mixed episode. do I agree with him? really
I donít know. all I
do know is, I still remember my past way to clearly and I do not
re-live it again.
I will say this about everything I have been through:
I am very lucky to have dr. wright and jodi in my life to help me.
hasnít been easy for me. currently the guy I am with, his
handling my past too well. I think she is being closed-minded.
hopefully someday, sheíll give me a chance. I live in a small
in a large city, but because of where I live, everyone knows everyone.
people know of me and my past. some only know little details,
some know the
whole story. and some think that I am crazy. oh, well.
I am not going to
lie and say that this is been easy and I am over everything.
everyday is a
struggle for me. somedays I donít want to get out of bed.
somedays I donít
go to bed. that is my life. but everyday I do try and
deal with it a
I thank you for reading my story. I hope it has helped you
in some way or
another. through everything I have learned there is one thing
that helps me
take each day, one day at a time.
I try not to put too many expectations on myself and only make short
goals. this way I donít let myself down and gives me a chance
to get more
out of my life.
thank you and good luck. I know it isnít easy. but remember
and what doesnít kill us, only makes us stronger.
I am not very religious and I know that not everyone believes in
take this as you wish and apply it to yourself as you like:
ďif god had meant for today to be perfect, he wouldnít have invented
please remember, there is always a tomorrow.