My Story: John Michael

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

I was making a lot of bad life choices at that time. I was also experiencing a lot of manic episodes, suicidal thoughts, rapid cycling, deep depression, and drinking alcohol a lot.

One night I completely broke. I had racing thoughts, stressing out, talking fast to myself, acting nervous, manic, and was suicidal and had a plan to end my life. My son and wife, also I, was terrified.

This episode helped me to make a decision and choose to seek help at a local hospital. From the local hospital, I was then transferred to a mental hospital. I was put on suicide watch for 72 hours and was there for a week. I was given medicine that calmed me down, and I slept for a few days. While I was admitted that week, I saw a counselor and a team of doctors, and that's when I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 and depression in 2013.

Who has been there for you? How?

For the past three years, my wife has been here for me – through the highs and lows – and also her parents and grandparents.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

In 2015, I started seeing a doctor every month. I have needed to set a good structured schedule. I have had to start getting up at the same time every day, follow a routine during the day, and take my medicine at the same time every night.

I have also started a local peer support program a few days a week, and I see a counselor every two weeks for an hour. I have started working out at my local YMCA gym every day.

Lastly, I have changed up my diet and I am eating more healthy. I have cut out all drinking except for one glass of wine every few months.

I have started a local [bipolar] peer support program [that is hosted] a few days a week.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I am proud that I have been able to gain a lot of ground in my road of recovery in the past three years.

I am currently unemployed, but that has given me more time to step up and be a great father to my six-year-old son.

I am also proud of my accomplishment of going back to school and getting my GED.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I am proud that I have been able to gain a lot of ground in my road of recovery in the past three years.

I am currently unemployed, but that has given me more time to step up and be a great father to my six-year-old son.

I am also proud of my accomplishment of going back to school and getting my GED.

What's your advice to someone else living with bipolar disorder?

My advice is to see a counselor, join a peer support group, work out, take your medicine, and stay on a schedule.

See a counselor, join a peer support group, work out, take your medicine, and stay on a schedule.

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