My name is not Donna, but that’s how I refer to myself on this blog. I use pseudonyms for the other people in my life as well. I am a woman in my late 30s. I live in the same small Midwestern town that I grew up in, reasonably close to a major city.
I began experiencing depression as a teenager, and a severe episode of it led me to flunk out of my second attempt at college. The first attempt ended in me dropping out, due to what I now believe was a manic episode. In 2014, after many years of suspecting I was bipolar, I had a police-prompted emergency room visit which led to beginning therapy and getting officially diagnosed. I have Bipolar I Disorder, with anxious distress, and was also later diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.
At this point, my treatment consists of individual therapy every week, a weekly Dialectical Behavior Therapy group, and medication adjustments from my psychiatrist every month. My medications right now are Lamictal 200 mg, Wellbutrin SR 150 mg, Latuda 40 mg, and BuSpar 15 mg three times a day. I’ve been through a large handful of sleep medications from trazodone to Ambien to Belsomra and lately none of them are working.
At the time of my diagnosis I was employed in a full-time job, but struggled more and more with it as my medications were adjusted over time. I ended up quitting after a year in the job, primarily due to the anxiety I experienced while at work. After a few months of working with an employment specialist, I started a new job at the local hospital, where I worked on an occasional basis for close to two years. I left that job for one within the same mental health organization that provides my treatment, but only lasted 5 months before the stress became too great.
Since August 2016 I’ve been enrolled at a nearby college to complete a BA in Psychology, but during the past semester I was hospitalized four times and had to take an incomplete in my 5 credit hour course. I’ll be spending the Spring 2018 semester attempting to complete that.