Below is the story of Rory, who shared her story of first being diagnosed with bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression). She shared her story with us to help destigmatize this disorder, and let others know about what it’s like to struggle with bipolar.

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I’d had depression in past years, but in May 1999 I became very assertive, afraid of no one, things seemed clear that were never clear before, I was determined to fix everything that was wrong in my life and I ended up in the hospital and diagnosed as bipolar.

Before I actually went to the hospital, I woke up from a short sleep, thought a saw beautiful blue lights twinkling downward, instantly I thought it was God trying to tell me something. I jumped up running around like I had to know what he was trying to tell me.

My husband could not control me, he called his family, as they arrived I had stripped to nothing and said clothes don’t matter anymore. I thought the world was ending. I had to have my minister come to my house and he was quite puzzled.

My daughter watched as if it were a horror movie. I didn’t want to get in the rescue squad; they told me it would take me to where I needed to go. I thought that meant heaven. Needless to say I am on lithium now, and welbutrin and regularly see my doctor.

Since I was diagnosed as bipolar, my mother died, my dog was run over and nearly died, I lost my job as church pianist, I have to sell my house, my cat was lost, and numerous other stressful things have happened. I have online friends that help me a lot.

I wake up in the morning and wonder, “Is this really my life?”

Thank God there is lithium and a lot of hope for the future. It’s not always easy, and I know that… But I am taking it one day at a time. The important thing for me to remember is that the medications are there to help me, and to help keep my moods stable. Sometimes when I start feeling more manic than usual, I have to remember that. So I’ve written it down in my journal so I’ll always remember.

It’s not always easy, and like everybody else, I have good days and bad days. But it helps, I think, to let others know it’s not the end of the world. There is hope. And there is always a tomorrow.

Thank you for listening to my story.