My Story: Tiffany Cooper

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

As a teenager I knew I struggled more than most teenagers, but I had a traumatic childhood and thought that my issues would fade with time. I got married for the first time at 17, which was a nightmare (my husband was an abusive drug addict). After I walked away from that I knew I had even more issues, but once again assumed they would fade away. After my second marriage (which is with a healthy and positive spouse) and three beautiful boys, I realized I was becoming more mentally unstable despite what should have been a stable lifestyle.

Finally I got help, and was diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar, borderline personality disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I have been hospitalized on several occasions (back-to-back), and since then have been in constant therapy, done DBT (dialectical behavior therapy), and have tried several medications; but I am still on the path to "wellness".

Who has been there for you? How?

My husband, parents, and in-laws all try to be as supportive as possible. They listen to me ramble, help out with the kids, and try their best to stay positive for me. I do not take for granted that I have a much stronger support system than most; however, sometimes it still isn't enough.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I have sought help, accepted my diagnosis, stayed in treatment and have not been hospitalized or done anything extremely harmful to myself in over a year and a half.

GET HELP! Maintaining treatment is the only way to successfully change your life.

I have a much stronger support system than most - however, sometimes it still isn't enough.

I have a much stronger support system than most - however, sometimes it still isn't enough.

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

GET HELP! Maintaining treatment is the only way to successfully change your life. I am not in a completely stable place yet, but I am well enough to know that therapy has made a major positive impact on my life, and on the lives of the people that mean the most to me.

Is there anything else we should know?

Borderline personality disorder really influences my mental state along with my bipolar, but I am aware that it is very common for other people with bipolar to suffer from other mental illness just like I do.

I'm proud that I have sought help, accepted my diagnosis, and stayed in treatment.

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