Living with bipolar disorder: my story

Samantha Huff

Mental disorders can be a cause of great despair and strife in many peoples’ lives. It is energizing sometimes and utterly paralyzing at other times.

When I was young, I knew in my heart that something was very wrong with me. I did not know what, but I knew that it was not good.  I also knew that what was wrong with me set me apart in a negative way from other children my age.  But it was not until I was six years old that my problem was given a name: bipolar disorder.

At that time, I was relieved because I finally knew what was wrong with me, though, I was also still at odds with myself. I had so many questions. I wondered if I was insane because I had this disease. I also wondered if I was the only child in the world who had this problem and at that time I honestly believed I was. As time went on, I found out that I was wrong.

As I grew older, I discovered that I was not alone. I recognized that many people that I knew had bipolar disorder, along with a plethora of other mental issues, such as attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), clinical depression and many others. “One in four adults−approximately 61.5 million Americans−experiences mental illness in a given year,” according to Nami.org (National Alliance on Mental Illness).

With this statistic in mind, it is important for anyone who believes that they have a mental disorder to know that they are not alone in the world. Seeking help is the first step towards recovering from a mental problem. It is also the best way for anyone with a mental disorder to gain peace of mind, since a mental disorder is one of the most exhausting health problems to have to cope with. In the end, it is up to the person suffering to seek out help for themselves.

Senior Justin Yarborouth was diagnosed with ADD and anxiety disorder. “ I hadn`t been going to school a lot recently, so my mom thought that my problem was mental, rather than physical, so we signed up at Comprehensive Mental Health, where I was diagnosed.”

Yarborouth said that he felt “relieved” when he got his diagnosis because “it was a definite diagnosis,” and he received “free counseling for a month.” He deals with his mental problems “through homeopathic methods,” where as he used to take medication, he does not do so anymore.

Yarborouth said that his mental status has “not really affected his life, at least not in any way that can be seen.” He added that he does not feel alone in the world with his illness because “ADD is a very common illness, and my mom has anxiety, as well.”

Sophomore Casey Ornelas has a case of clinical depression, “It was the beginning of the school year, and my mom decided to take me to the doctor because she was worried about me.”   She said that she “felt better” because she finally knew what was wrong with her when she got diagnosed. She controls her depression by, “taking medication and going to counseling.”

Ornelas said that her mental status has affected her life in a major way because “it`s hard to focus on school work” when she is depressed. “I don`t feel alone in the world with my illness, because most of my friends are depressed at times, too.”