“Asking for help is the greatest gift I’ve ever given myself,” said Stephanie, smiling, as we began our meeting.
Stephanie has bipolar disorder, a diagnosis that often comes as a shock. To her, those words seemed downright unreal, exaggerated when they were uttered some 15 years ago.
“When my doctor told me I was bipolar, I didn’t believe him. At the time I was helping my father with his business. I worked hard, slept little, forgot to eat, and jumped to exaggerated conclusions very quickly… It was my relatives who first took me to the hospital. I was so out of touch with reality that I thought the ambulance I was in was driving me to an appointment with the accountant.”
That first visit to the psychiatric emergency room at the Montreal General Hospital was followed by hospitalization. Unfortunately, it would not be the last for Stephanie, who has had to learn to live with the disease, and to accept the different treatments and therapy offered to her.
“Like many people in my situation, I wanted to stop my treatments. I went through a series of ups and downs, but the moment I realized that I needed help, I mustered all my courage and gave myself the tools to get better. I realized that when I was a kid, I didn’t mind asking for help. So why would it be any different now?”