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A Beautiful Mind

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Reflection Paper

I haven't had much personal experience with anyone that has a mental Illness diagnosis, nor have I been diagnosed with one. However, I work with a young female that we will call Jen. Jen has been diagnosed with Bipolar and Depression. I interviewed Jen and I will let her describe her diagnosis, her symptoms, how she has learned to cope with them, and the medications that she is taking to manage her symptoms.

"My name is Jen and I am Bipolar. I also suffer from severe depression and with my bipolar come serious mood swings. I did not know that I was Bipolar until the beginning of 2002. I quit drinking for ten months in 2002, and then relapsed in 2003. It wasn't until I got sober for the ten months in 2002 that I realized that there was something wrong with me mentally. I had no idea what was going on with me, I just knew that I was depressed. I would hear voices sometimes when my mind races, which scared me, when I went to my doctor, he said that was because my mind was racing so fast, I would hear my thoughts. This still happens when I don't take my meds. Sometimes I actually forget to take them. If I miss just one day of taking my medicine, I start to get dizzy and that freaks me out! I didn't know what mental illness was, I had always thought of the mentally ill as people who had to wear helmets and people that can't talk and function properly, that's how ignorant I was to mental illness. When I got sober is when I began to go to the doctor. I was diagnosed with Bipolar I, and for the first year they tried, different meds on me (like Celexa and Depakote). Finally, they put me on Effexor and Tegretol. This combination worked for me. When I am not, on my meds, I have severe mood swings, I go into rages, and I cut on myself (to make the pain go away). I had to be taught how to manage my mania. Since being on my medications, it has been much easier to live with my mental illness. I have gone from not being able to come out of my room or get out of my bed to working at a mental health facility. On a regular basis, I get up, take a shower, get dressed, and start my day. I function like a "normal human being" today. I say that because when you have a mental illness, you don't feel normal; you don't even feel like a human being sometimes. Most people that don't have a mental illness don't understand



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