My Story: Nanci Hemingway

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

I was diagnosed when I was 50. My doctor said that my tremendous drive to succeed at work and raise children kept this hidden.

I can look back into my lifetime and see that I had it high school. A victim of bullies in school to the point where I developed an eating disorder and nearly died. To this day I can picture those women.

At one of the companies I worked for as an International Credit Manager, we had a poorly managed department where bullying wasn't dealt with. To have a more positive environment I created a White Board of positive sayings that were taken from the inside of Dove chocolates.

One of the bullies screamed at me and told me my posts were picking on her. The other one walked up and called me the C-word at the top of her voice. Everyone heard it, and it was reported to management.

Our new boss tells me that he didn't know what to do. She continued to work there another seven years. I had to medically leave my job on my psychiatrist's advice since I was breaking down and having mania I didn't realize I was having.

They denied my unemployment but the State decided for me. It went into arbitration I wrote a nonemotional defense not naming anyone but only the facts. This was what happened, here's is what management did, and that was the result. They showed up in court with six people to fight my attempt at unemployment that I was legally entitled to. I spoke for an hour.

When it was their turn, the HR director asked why I didn't go to the boss. I had and explained to the court that he had walked up to one of these women and said, "Hey I saw that picture of your husband on a sand rail on Facebook. I told the Judge that it was inappropriate to favor people like that." The judge slammed the gavel awarded my claim and told this multinational company that they should be ashamed of themselves.

I had been fighting cancer for years. Of course, it took an emotional toll on me. I was the only one in the department that had ever been a manager and took on two jobs and the training of three new people.

Who has been there for you? How?

Just me, really. I am stubborn that way and choose to take care of myself. My dogs as well. I have two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and they both are loving and cuddly. They took the best care of my emotional needs.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I will no longer work for companies that don't treat their employees well and allow bullying.

I took care of myself with three years of therapy. Received acupuncture and Chinese herbs. I exercised daily and swam as often as possible. I surrounded myself with people who were caring. I gave back to others. I was a breast cancer advocate, a docent for the Seattle Men's Chorus, volunteered for hospice patients and took my dogs into nursing homes.

When I moved to Florida two years ago from Washington, it was a mania fueled event. It took me 21 days to cross the country. When I got to Florida, I was raped at gunpoint the day before Christmas in a local mall.

I didn't know anyone and had no support. I sought guidance from a Shaman who seemed to know everything that happened even though I told him nothing!

I was diagnosed when I was 50. My doctor said that my tremendous drive to succeed at work and raise children kept this hidden.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

My two tremendously successful children. A career I am proud of winning national awards for best performance and zero turnovers as a manager in a high turnover industry. I like to train my replacement its a challenge to them and me.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

My two tremendously successful children. A career I am proud of winning national awards for best performance and zero turnovers as a manager in a high turnover industry. I like to train my replacement its a challenge to them and me.

My two tremendously successful children.

My two tremendously successful children.

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

Take your medications, get therapy, and join a group of like-minded people. Like AA does regarding support. Families often don't understand these things and are angry that they may have inherited this. My children both have, but at this point, they have my drive to succeed in their careers.

Take your medications, get therapy, and join a group of like-minded people.

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