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In Discovery With Bipolar Disorder

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“How was the class trip to the aquarium?” asked my husband Steve at dinner that night. “The bus ride was crappy, with all the loudmouthed kids screaming their freaking heads off,” I replied, casually. “But when we got to Baltimore it was better. I was in a small group with one of the dads, and at least he kept his goddamned mouth shut.”

I still remember the variety of reactions around the table. Julie, my fifth grader, who had actually been there with me, looked scared. High schooler PJ barely glanced up from his plate. Our Swiss exchange student, Maurus, looked puzzled. (A lot of things about the US puzzled him. Maybe he thought all American moms swore like sailors.) Steve looked sad, and resigned. Throughout the rest of the meal, my frequent comments were shot through with profanity and negativity—in other words, the new normal for me. (more…)

A Lifetime of Secrets Living With Bipolar Disorder

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“This is foolish,” my mother said. “There is no mental illness in our family.”

She turned to my wife. “Enough of this, let’s talk about the kids. How are they doing in school?”

I knew it. I just knew it. I felt her heartless tone in my bones. In 1973, my wife and I decided we must meet with my parents and explain why I was hospitalized. I wanted so badly to lie and say I had my appendix removed, and keep my mental illness to myself. But no, I had to seek my parents’ love and support for this scary illness. I didn’t even understand the doctor when he explained bipolar disorder.

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The Silent Scream: Coping With Depression

Coping With Depression

This is part two of Miriam’s story about coping with depression. Read part one here.

It has been three months since I was diagnosed with depression. Three long, grueling months of cajoling, prodding and pushing myself to put one foot in front of the other. It is an uphill battle with glimpses of successes. My mother says that getting through each day is an achievement. I want to believe her, but I cannot help comparing myself to how I was before the episode.

The mornings are especially challenging. I have always been one to snooze my alarm clock for a few extra minutes of sleep, but nowadays waking up means facing a new day of uncertainties and insecurities. There seems to be a force keeping me from looking at the day as fresh and invigorating. The bounce in my step has disappeared. (more…)

A Molecular Biologist With Bipolar 1 Disorder

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My name is Samina Raza Egilmez. I am a molecular biologist. I am 55 years old. I have been married for 27 years to a wonderful, patient and loving husband. I have a beautiful 25-year-old son. It sounds like a wonderful life. And it is. But I would be lying if I didn’t say it has been a hard fought one. I suffer from bipolar 1 disorder. Here is my story. And believe me, for each line that I’ve written, I could write volumes. (And one day I will!)

For the first 24 years of my life, I didn’t know what bipolar disorder was. I would have preferred to keep it that way.

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