Jamie - posted on 01/03/2010 ( 1 mom has responded )
Hi everyone. I am new to this group, but really glad that I found it. I was diagnosed severe Bipolar I, when I was 15 years old. I had an extremely traumatic childhood. I was brought up in a family of severe alcoholics. My father would beat my mother, we moved constantly from being evicted on a regular basis. My mother worked three jobs, and I never saw her, but we still ended up with our utilities being shut off, and losing our home because my dad drank all of our money away. When I was five years old, I witnessed my dad try to commit suicide. He slit his wrists in front of me. I actually saved his life, because at that time, I was more mature than most five year olds, due to what I had been exposed to. I had put some kind of a mental block on this trauma when I was young, but at the age of 15, it resurfaced. I remember having violent images flash into my head at random times, and not knowing what was going on. I thought I was crazy. I discovered hard drugs (mainly cocaine), and tried to make my problems disappear the only way I knew how at the time. I went from a really good student, who was never in any trouble to a drug addict that was flunking out of school. I was out of control. No one knew how to deal with me. My mom took me to our community's local mental health clinic, where I was first diagnosed with clinical depression and put on Zoloft. As the symptoms did not subside, only got worse, I was then diagnosed as Bipolar I. I was put on Zoloft as well as Depakote. I was also dianosed with Panic Disorder and OCD. I felt like a mess. I have battled with these symptoms for 15 years, dealing also with drug addiction. I became severely addicted to meth and cocaine for almost four years, which is how long one of my manic phases lasted. I have since been sober since 2003, and my disease has been somewhat controlled, but last year I had another severe episode that lasted about four months. I ended up feeling as though I didn't want to be a mom anymore, and I left my husband and my children, and went awol for a while. I have since been on medication, Lamictal, Welbutrin, and Valium, and my symptoms have been controlled for about a year, but I live in fear that it will happen again. I am glad I found this group and I can share my experience with other moms who have similar problems. Thank you for letting me tell my story.