Mental Illness Recovery Series: Story # 35

This is the 35th story of the Mental Illness Recovery Series. Kira has been able to turn her life around by accepting her mental disorder and allowing herself to receive help from others. This is her story:

Kira is from Quebec, Canada and she enjoys writing and playing video games on her free time. Her goal is to graduate from university with an undergraduate degree and from there work her way into grad school. She would like to focus on clinical psychology and is open to getting a degree in social work. Kira would like to use her knowledge of Mindfulness to research and practice in the future.

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She has seen different psychiatrist and they have leaned towards depression, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD), but she has been officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Kira does not know what caused her mental illnesses. There has always been mental health problems within her family and when she was young her teacher recommended her to see a professional because Kira was very hypersensitive. She suspects that her diagnosis with depression contributed to her illness because she was prescribed with SSRI and that did not help her manic episodes.

After being hospitalized in 2010, Kira now sees a therapist and attends to weekly mindfulness groups. She currently taking Quetiapine, Lithium, Topiramate, Lamotrigine and Asinepine medications. She is planning to attend a BP peer group later this month, which she is excited and nervous about. It has been difficult for Kira to deal with certain symptoms. She said, “I recently have been experiencing psychotic symptoms again. Every little sensation input gets misinterpreted and fits into my paranoid delusion: that a shadow becomes a man that’s trying to kill me.” Kira also said, “There’s a white figure living in my room, a demon [whom] is communicating with me through subway ads telling me that I have bladder cancer. It feels like you’re constantly being lied to and the liar and victim is both yourself, which is quite the predicament you put yourself in.” Every winter Kira experiences hypomania, and starts to drink and smoke excessively. She becomes energetic and starts projects that she never finishes, becoming emotional. During the summer she crashes and disconnects from others, constantly telling herself negative speeches.

This has affected her daily life, Kira said, “It’s like your life is running off the tracks and you are trying to steer it back on course constantly. I feel like I’m always a step behind everyone else. All of my friends who are my age (or even younger) have already accomplished what I wanted to accomplish. It’s very isolating. It’s even more isolating because you feel like you’re making an excuse for yourself by saying that you’re chronic illness is just making you take things a bit slower.” In 2010 Kira began stockpiling her antidepressants and planned to commit suicide. Thankfully a nurse at her school noticed her odd behavior and convinced Kira to seek out help.

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This also affected her relationship with others, Kira said, “When I was left by my ex, I definitely felt abandoned, I still do. I felt like I could trust her. I felt like I gave a part of myself and when it came to someone supporting me through a really challenging period of my life, I was left to the wayside. I have a difficult time trusting people with my story, but because my illness is a part of me and my identity, it’s really difficult to interact with anyone.” Thankfully, Kira is now happily married and her partner supports her through the difficult times.

Kira still struggles with her disorder every day, but she has realized that the difficult moments don’t last very long. Her symptoms although persistent, don’t last for every second or every day and she is able to look forward to a bright future. Kira surrounded herself with friends and family that support her even though at times they may not understand. She is still a little timid, but has realized that she is strong. This is her advice for others struggling with similar situations:

“I suggest trying Mindfulness. I’ve learn so many things from its teachings. My advice is not gauge yourself against others, it won’t work for you. It’s like comparing apples and oranges.”

I am glad she has been able to turn her life around and that Kira now surrounds herself with supportive people. It has been challenging for her, and will continue to be, but with her determination she can continue to overcome it. Help me make a difference by sharing your story.

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