DEAR ABBY: I am a 47-year-old woman who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (manic depression) four years ago. The doctor said the medication would take care of it, then he sent me home to deal with it.
The medication helped for a while; however, I became resentful and unhappy with the side effects and quit taking it. I seemed to be fine for the first six months, then boom -- manic city! I ended up at a psychiatric center for five days.
I voluntarily attended the two-week intensive outpatient program. I am back on lithium and feel good.
During the program I learned there is a mountain of information about this disorder and also support groups on chat lines. What a relief it was to learn I was not alone.
Abby, please tell your readers who suffer from bipolar disorder that there is more help available than just taking medication, and urge them to avail themselves of everything they can to cope with their manic depression. You may use my name. -- JILL E. HAYES, SACRAMENTO
DEAR JILL: Although the symptoms are different from physical illnesses, mental illnesses are conditions for which treatment is often effective. Just as one would see a doctor and take medication for pneumonia, one should see a counselor or psychiatrist for treatment of mental illness.
Readers, if you suffer from manic depression or any other mental disorder, please don't hesitate to talk to your physician about getting help.