I was not formally diagnosed until I was 29 years old. It was only 2 months after marrying the love of my life. I became severely manic after suffering from undiagnosed mild depression as long as I could remember. I was first hospitalized in January, but when I was released I didn’t take my medication, then sure enough, 6 months later I had another manic episode, but this time was much worse. I fell into a bad psychosis, suffering from delusions, I even felt I didn’t want to be with my wife anymore it was so bad. Luckily, things became so chaotic that my family talked me into signing myself into the hospital again to get treatment. This time I took my medication everyday, but when I was released I was still manic and was picked up by the police a week after getting out of the hospital a second time. I had not committed a crime I was just acting very unusual and some who cared enough called on me. After my medication was adjusted, my mania finally went away. I continued to take my medication everyday because the doctors pressed how important it was. It took time, months even, but my thoughts began to be normal again. What helped me the most was seeing my psychiatrist regularly and being honest with her with how I was feeling and where my head was at. That way she could adjust my medication accordingly to get me feeling as good as possible. Also, I have a strong support system through my wife and family. I overcame many things to get to where I am today, and I am lucky to be here now, the one thing that I’ve overcome that stands out is a lack of motivation that comes with bipolar sometimes. I just had to push myself through it, it’s not easy, you just have to keep making small steps. My greatest strength is my heart, I care for people a great deal and do my best to keep others happy in hard times. That’s what I tried to do during my hospital stays, help the other patients, and it worked, I am still friends with some of them today. I have learned about myself that I can accomplish anything if I put my mind to it, I believe anyone can. Wellness, to me, is setting goals for yourself to work towards, accomplishing goals is an amazing feeling, even when they are small. Also, wellness is when you can live with being bipolar and not see yourself as being bipolar. What I mean by that is, don’t define yourself by your diagnosis. You are what you do, that is what makes you the kind of person you are, you are defined by those things. Not your diagnosis. Positives in my life currently are that I have been working full time for over 2 years now. I started back at college 7 months ago, and I just got a new job as an insurance agent this week. Hard work towards your goal pays off, start small, write them down, and as you complete them, make bigger ones and give yourself a deadline. That is how I came from where I was, to where I am today, and you can too.

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