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.