My name is Gwendolyn Devereaux and I suffer from bipolar disorder. It's debilitating behavioral disorder that can send me into a manic frenzy that causes extreme levels of anxiety, paranoia, and psychosis- or it can sink me into an unbreakable depression that leads to thoughts of self harm. I cannot control these overbearing emotions without help. It has every possibility of ruining my life and it has taken a drastic tole on those I love most. I refuse to let my life go down that path and I refuse to become a victim. I'm here to get my life under control, become the productive member of society that I've always strived for, and more than that I'm here to start my success story that I can give to my oldest daughter who also suffers from the disorder. I want her to know that no matter how tough our fight may be- she and I are tougher and will come out on top.
I wasn't as lucky. My grandmother suffered from the disorder and went untreated her whole life. She was the single most important woman in my childhood. She was the only person who understood the strange child I was- I later realized it's because we had the same malfunctioning brain. She built me up and instilled the confidence in me that I still have today. I came home from school one day, at the age of 15, to the news that she had died. It was suicide. I had never felt so alone in my life. I lost the only person I had a connection with. Years later I unfortunately ventured down the same path with a couple unsuccessful attempts. I don't dwell on that- I survived and I survived for a reason. With the years of research and better understanding of the disorder, that my grandmother wasn't lucky enough to have, I will not fail and I will not let my daughter go through the unbearable years of hell that my grandmother did and the years of uncertainty that I endured. I'm here to get my life straight, pave the way for my daughter, and eventually help those who need it.
I've recently moved close to the UPMC Bipolar Institute where they have breakthrough therapy programs that specialize in bipolar management. I'm just starting my recovery from a lifetime almost ruined my bipolar disorder and I need help with the expenses. I've already come a long way but I also recognize that in order to manage this and move forward in life there is much I have yet to learn. There is no cure for bipolar, there is only the possibility of managing it and this is the first step I need to take in order to survive.
I'm an artist and an avid cyclist. Both of these things have saved my life and helped me control the disorder. Without them I fear I wouldn't be here to tell my story. I don't want this disorder to define who I am. I want the story of how I overcome it to be a part of who I am.
You can read more of my story and see a better view into the disorder in my blog Diaryofamadbikewoman.blogspot.com