Sarah’s success story: bipolar

The death of Sarah’s mother devastated her and her 2 brothers. Sarah turned to a reckless life to cope. After experience severe postpartum depression with her two children, Sarah started experiencing mania and was eventually diagnosed with bipolar. She was prescribed a cocktail of medication to manage her bipolar, but her behaviour caused problems for her marriage and children. Following hospitalization following a medication overdose attempt, Sarah searched desperately for something that could change her life. Eventually, she found Truehope, and her life today is something she never imagined possible.

I’m the youngest of 3, with 2 older brothers. I don’t remember much of my youth, but I do recall my mother’s breakdowns—sobbing in a heap on the floor. It was very sad for us to see her like that, and I didn’t understand what was going on. One day, we woke up and found that she had overdosed on pills and had left us behind. That’s where my story really begins.

It was June of 1967. No one understood why our mother took her own life. She was young, beautiful, living the American dream in the 60s—a big house in the suburbs, 3 kids, a doctor husband, a dog, and a nice car. But, to this day, no one will discuss it with us, including our own father.

What followed her death, for me and my brothers, were years of being kept in dark, years of mystery and years of pain. We weren’t allowed to grieve; we weren’t allowed to discuss what happened with anyone, not even each other. It was kept quiet and I, myself, didn’t know she had committed suicide until I put the puzzle pieces together when I was about 13 years old. I didn’t realize what mental torture she suffered until I found myself in her shoes much later in my life.

Our devastated father wasn’t able to raise us, so we found our own way and made every mistake in the book—including drug use, running away from home, run-ins with the law, you name it. Somehow I managed to make it through high school and actually graduated, but my brothers both dropped out.

I was barely functioning and deeply depressed, and by the time I reached my teens, I was abusing every drug I could get my hands on, latching on to acquaintances, friends, and boyfriends for love and support. I broke windows out in anger and lashed out at my father who had lost all control of me. In my 20s, I completely stopped using drugs but switched to alcohol and cigarettes; I was lucky I never became physically addicted. I became involved with someone who was even less stable than I was, and we married and had our first child, a girl.

Struggling with postpartum depression, I started cutting myself when the baby was young and had a difficult time coping with it all, yet I was the breadwinner and tried to hold myself together to be a good mother to our child.

After a suicidal episode where I had locked myself in my bedroom with a gun, I tried to pull myself together and managed to do so for a good while. But the marriage was a disaster and ended very badly. It was extremely stressful. Somehow I made it through a terrible divorce, requiring years of restraining orders against my ex-husband.

At 30 years old, I moved away with our daughter and started a relationship with someone new in another state. Things were very good for the 3 of us, and we had a daughter together 3 years later. We built a house and were planning on having another child, but something was wrong with me.

It started with another round of postpartum depression after my second daughter was born. I was falling deeper and deeper into such a severe depression that I couldn’t make my way out of it. I put our youngest daughter (then 2.5) in preschool and stayed home all day, sleeping. I hid my depression from everyone.

The depression eventually became cyclical with bouts of hypermanic behaviour. I began spending money out of control, destroying our marriage, and having fits of anger that scared everyone in the house. I broke things, I screamed, and I fell to my knees and fell to pieces. My appetite was gone and I wasted down to 85 pounds. I just got worse and worse, and I began hurting myself—punching things (furniture), driving recklessly (totalling our car), behaving promiscuously, and cheating on my husband.

I finally got to the point where I was cycling between depression and mania in the same day sometimes. I went to see a therapist and a psychiatrist who diagnosed me as bipolar. I was prescribed anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, tranquilizers and sleep medications. I was a walking pillbox.

This went on for years but I was still in a deep depression—they changed my medication cocktail and switched things around, tried different meds, but nothing worked. After a stay in the psych ward and no luck with any of the meds, I gave them up. I stuck with a doctor that would prescribe me Klonopin and Ambien. It was all downhill from there; I had gotten involved in a very sick co-dependent relationship outside of my marriage, with someone that was cruel and verbally abusive and encouraged my already deep self-hatred.

In February of 2003, I took a full bottle of Ambien and a full bottle of Klonopin. Somehow during the stupor I was falling into, I called a couple of people and told them what I had done. I wasn’t unconscious but would be soon. One of these friends rushed over and took me to the hospital. After stabilizing me in the hospital, they sent me to the psych ward again, for a week.

Once again, I was back to the cocktails of medications; for nearly 2 years I attempted to pull my life together on the meds. I struggled to be a good parent and repair the damage I had done to my marriage and to my children and to regain their trust. But I remained deeply depressed and deeply ill.

Some of the worst characteristics of my illness were obsessive cyclical thinking and self-loathing, which the meds did nothing for. The medications were so strong, though, that I lost all sense of myself. I had no interest and no emotions, except a deep and excruciating pain in my centre that wouldn’t cease. It always felt like a hole in my middle—always empty but filled with pain. I tried to work but barely functioned; I couldn’t think straight.

Desperate to find relief, I searched the internet for solutions and alternatives. In late fall of 2004, I discovered Truehope and decided to give the program a try. I told myself I’d give it 3 months to see if it would really work.

I filled out the daily self evaluation forms online, I spoke to support twice a week, and reduced the dosage of my medications gradually. I took the supplements like clockwork, in the recommended amount. Within 2 weeks, my symptoms began to gradually disappear—I was stabilizing!!

I started to feel human again. It took 8 months to get off of all my medications completely. Now, after more than 3 years on EMPowerplus, I’m stable. I’m a functioning human being, I have regained my husband’s trust and respect, I have a professional position with a good company and a decent salary, and I’m paying off all the debt I accumulated when I was ill. Most importantly, I am a good mother to my children. I have worked hard and regained their trust and faith and they count on me. My husband has his wife back; my children have their mom back.

Through all these years, I’ve had it in me to be successful, to rise above the tragedies of my youth, to be a happy person, to be a good mom and have a healthy marital relationship. EMPowerplus has enabled me to finally realize the person I am, the one I had the potential to be all my life. I lived through what my mother couldn’t make it through—she died at 38 and I’m now 48. I never believed I’d live longer than she had.

In closing, I wanted to share that my oldest daughter was diagnosed as bipolar after she left for college. She has been on EMPowerplus for a while too, but hasn’t taken it regularly until the past few months. She is finally taking it regularly and is dedicated to her wellness so that she can finish her degree and also be free of depression and mental anguish. Today, she’s doing very well and is another success story!!

Bipolar illness has run in my family now for 3 generations. EMPowerplus wasn’t available to my mother in the 60s, but I know she’d be happy to see that her daughter and her granddaughter have found a solution to this disease and are living well and have productive lives.

Life is good! Each day, I’m thankful to feel the sun on my face, to feel the warm embrace of my children and my loving husband, and I am so grateful to Truehope for making this possible for me. Thank you so much Truehope for your wonderful product and for your great support. You really saved my life.

—Sarah C.