Mental illness and me

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1998 after 3 hospitalizations for depression.  I have bipolar II (depression/hypomania).  I was on Social Security disability for 2 years until I was able to go back to work full-time in 2000.  I also have generalized anxiety disorder and panic attacks.  I take various prescribed medications for my conditions and also see a therapist.

I have been greatly helped by the organization National Alliance on Mental Illness (http://www.nami.org) which was founded by family members of those with mental illness.  They run support groups for family members and consumers (people with mental illness), sponsor a fundraiser called NAMIWalks, and have various educational forums and conferences, as well as telephone support.  Monday night I went to NAMI Connections for consumers, held at Advent UMC in Eagan, a nearby suburb. 

I am planning my post-3M life and NAMI will be a big part of that.  The support group’s next meeting is September 10, the first weekday after my resignation takes effect.  I plan to go to NAMIWalks as well; it is being held at Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis on September 22.  Although I remain anxious from time to time, my future is taking shape.  I plan to see my psychiatrist on September 21 and ask her about applying for disability again. 

 

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6 thoughts on “Mental illness and me

  1. It is a brave thing talking about mental illness, tell people you have cancer and they do everything they can. Say you have a mental problem and the majority stay away in droves. i’ve suffered with PTSD and various stages of depression for forty years, when you look ‘healthy’ it’s hard for people to take in the fact that you are ill. Depression gives you actual physical pain as well, I could go on but I will say I’m hearing your pain Lisa.
    Take care,
    Laurie.

    • Thank you Laurie for your kind comments and for coming out as a person with illness yourself. You are right, people don’t know how to handle mental illness but I have found some support.

  2. Hi Lisa,
    Again I applaud your honesty and vulnerability in writing, Lisa. This time by sharing your struggles with mental illness. I posted a couple of blogs about my battles with depression (March 15 and 22, 2012) and was surprised at how popular those posts were. By speaking publicly on your blog about it, you are both encouraging others who struggle with mental illness and educating those who don’t. Go, girl!

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