I was seventeen years old when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

In 2/1998, I quit taking my antidepressant and my behavior became increasingly reckless and life threatening. I quit school with four months left to go (they eventually allowed me to graduate), I had extreme delusions, and psychosis. I became violent, and on 2/25/98 the police escorted me to the emergency room.

After an evaluation, I was incorrectly diagnosed with schizophrenia. Later on that night, I was transferred by ambulance to a medical center with a child psychiatric section. They corrected my diagnosis to bipolar disorder. Since I was having major delusions and was potentially dangerous, I spent a lot of time in the infamous padded room. The doctor prescribed a couple of medications, and after two weeks I was released from the hospital.

I never became "normal" again, meaning that I lost a lot of friends, wasn't able to go away to college, and when I did finally return to high school I was seen as the crazy kid who disappeared for three months. Since I really didn't know what happened to me, I couldn't adequately explain my situation to anyone. It was also tough for me to express myself to my doctors. It was a long time before I recognized what all the different emotions and mood states bipolar encompasses. Healing is a very slow process. Every day I learn a little more. Every year gets a little better. I learn from my past and only look forward.

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