My Story: Faith Elizondo

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

I was first diagnosed in 2007. I was 27 years old, newly divorced and left my three children with their father. I believe going from being a wife and a mother to just myself took its toll on me.

I couldn't sleep, I was so paranoid I left my vehicle on the road and began walking, thinking there was a bomb in it. I would leave my apartment in the middle of the night and walk miles, and on some days I felt the ground move.

I stopped paying my bills and lived without electricity in the winter. I accidentally set fire to my apartment because I used my fireplace for heat and left for work without properly putting it out.

I thought I won the lottery and kept the winning ticket in my panties. I went to jail seven times in one year.

I was impulsive, and I thought I was invincible.

I screamed at my closest family and friends when they tried to help me. I stole a car and picked up two illegal immigrants crossing through Texas and did one year in prison.

I blamed everyone but myself. I drank and did drugs. I went from relationship to relationship; I was never alone. I quit really great jobs and ruined friendships. I would paint the house and sew and then sleep for days.

Who has been there for you? How?

My mother and my sister have seen the ugly, and at first, I was bitter because they took me to get a mental assessment.

My poor sister, I have been physically abusive towards. My mother too. I've stolen and lied to her. But they love me and understand and help me with my denial that I still struggle with my diagnosis bipolar and manic-depressive.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I still struggle. I often move because in my mind it helps. I know exercising, writing in a journal, stability and medications all help me.

I know exercising, writing in a journal, stability and medications all help me.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I am a cosmetologist and have been doing hair for 17 years. I am also proud of my three children who are all so brilliant, healthy, taken care of and surrounded by family.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I am a cosmetologist and have been doing hair for 17 years. I am also proud of my three children who are all so brilliant, healthy, taken care of and surrounded by family.

I am a cosmetologist and have been doing hair for 17 years.

I am a cosmetologist and have been doing hair for 17 years.

What's your advice to someone else living with Bipolar?

Listen, learn and confide in someone. You're not alone. You're not suffering by yourself. Don't care what others think. Be honest.

You're not alone.

Is there anything else we should know?

My name is Faith Ann Love, and I've always been called the crazy one, but I wouldn't change my life and my decisions. I am stronger and healthier, and there is no such thing as "normal."

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