The recovery I needed

Guest Author: Nic

This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.

I grew up watching my mother battle Bipolar (I) Disorder.

 It was a scary and confusing experience when she would cycle into a manic moment and then plummet into a deep depression.  She was in and out of hospital several times during my youth.  I was always fearful that one day the disease would get me too.  I carried this worry with me constantly. In spite of my concern, my life seemed to be going quite well; I graduated secondary school (as class Valedictorian) and left home to attend University where I studied Kinesiology and played Varsity football (’98-’02).  

 I felt angry and ashamed that I was so ‘weak’

Unfortunately, during my athletic career I suffered several concussions.  Upon graduating university (as Valedictorian of the Faculty), my childhood fears were realized when I had my ‘first episode’… likely a result of heredity and my head injury.  I was officially diagnosed with Bipolar (II) Disorder.  I felt angry and ashamed that I was so ‘weak,’ that I couldn’t just ‘shake it off,’ or ‘deal with it and move on.’  

It was hard to hear that I would likely need medication (and therapy) for the rest of my life.  I reluctantly started treatment and several months later, began to stabilize.  Years rolled by and I was, thankfully, managing my mental illness.  I got married, and my wife and I had a couple of children (a girl, now 4, and a boy, now 2).  In the back of my mind, I wondered and worried if my children would ever have to suffer from the sickness.   After the birth of our son, my mind began to unravel.  I entered a depression that was so horrific I was contemplating suicide; I even had a specific plan to kill myself.   

Thankfully, my wife took action before I did anything drastic, and got me to the Psychiatric ER at a local hospital.  I was an absolute wreck… crying hysterically and craving for it all to end.  I was immediately admitted to the Mood Disorders Program.  Over the next few months in hospital, I experienced great pain; however, I also gained new perspective.  I began to internalize that I was ‘sick not weak,’ that needing medication was not an attack on my manhood, and that the shame and stigma I carried was senseless.  

Mental Health is a continuous ‘work-in-progress’

Thanks to the excellent care of my psychiatrist (who actually pinpointed a misdiagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, and noted I had Unipolar Depression with a Generalized Anxiety Disorder… shifting medications that were effective), as well as, the nursing and support staff, I recovered.  After being discharged, I went almost a whole year before my mental state started to go south again.  In turn, I was admitted to the hospital for a second time, where I, once again, received the respect and achieved the recovery I needed.  

My experience has made me realize that Mental Health is a continuous ‘work-in-progress’ and a battle that so many people face daily.  It is now my goal to educate my children and many others about the intricacies of Mental Health, so that if/when they are afflicted with a related illness, they will seek the help they need and experience stigma-free recovery.

Thank you so much for running this campaign.



Was wondering if you were on medication all the time, but would still relapse at times?


I completely understand you. I too have Bipolar 2 and and a mother. I completely understand how you feel. I know it may be weird to say this but I am happy I found others whom I can relate to. It shows that I am not alone.


Thank you for sharing this. I was recently diagnosed with Bipolar 2 and BPD. Much like you, this runs back generations in my family and I’ve sustained several concussions. Throughout my 4 year career as an NCAA student-athlete I spiraled nd finally hit rock bottom. Knowing I’m not alone helps.

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