Stories of Hope
These are true stories of facilitators and participants that have utilized Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Greater Houston FREE and CONFIDENTIAL support groups.
We hope these empower you and give you courage to attend a support group.
A Participant Story
I attend the Caregiver Meeting on Tuesdays from 5:30 – 7 PM. The reason I first attended that group was to recover from the emotional shock of watching my adult daughter go insane, of finding out she had been cutting herself, and that she had been planning to hang herself in her apartment. All of this happened within a couple of weeks. I felt tremendous sadness knowing how close I had come to losing my daughter to suicide or to insanity. I coped as well as I could during her hospitalizations, but towards the end, I found myself gaining weight from overeating, having difficulties sleeping and feeling depressed about being so powerless over what was happening to her. I desired a deeper understanding of her illness, what she could do to manage it, what I could do to support her, and what to expect in the future.
The various experiences that others have shared with me have helped me to distinguish my daughter’s personality from her illness. For example, I now know she has tattoos because she loves tattoos and it’s not because she’s bipolar. I know her illness makes her feel, say and do things that she doesn’t want to feel, say or do. So if she is having a bad day and is very rude to me, I don’t need to take it personally. I know she has a very serious illness, but it is treatable. I know that recovery is possible and that with continued treatment, she will be able to continue working and will continue to have successful interpersonal relationships.
Others have given me strength and ideas for alternative ways of coping. Within the group, we share websites, articles and books. We share information from workshops we have attended. I have learned about how sleep hygiene helps to reduce mood fluctuations. It has helped me to be less moody myself.
I have developed an appreciation for what a serious illness this is and how important it is to do everything possible to manage it. Even though my daughter has received proper medical treatment and is now stable, I continue to feel an overwhelming sense of powerlessness over this illness. The reason I continue to attend meetings is to continue to exchange resources with others, to continue to learn about her illness and to prepare myself to deal with any future episodes.
- A DBSA Participant
A Facilitator Story
Good morning to all, this past weekend I found myself in a quiet, isolated place in which I had occasion to reflect on the past years. That on which I found myself reflecting upon was the time I spent as a facilitator for DBSA. During this time I have been a volunteer spending various amounts of time working with each of you. These years have been ones of immense personal growth, rich in fulfillment and experience. I have done things I never thought I would be able to do. If it had not been spent under the guidance of you all as my program coordinator at different times, I don't think that it would have been the same. Under the tutelage of my program coordinators, I have found that your leadership cannot be overstated. The conditions set up for me as a volunteer have been conducive for growth and inspiration. I would not change my years working for DBSA and working with you all for anything. I have always felt appreciated and noticed. I have always felt valued as a team member. Thanks to you all for being in my corner. Thank you all for the pride I feel in myself. - DBSA Facilitator
My name is Kelly and this is my story of how DBSA saved my life.
I had a great childhood - my parents loved me, I loved school and I loved life. Then in sixth grade things got weird for me. I lost interest in everything and I slid downhill. Throughout high school and after graduation the problems in my life got worse and worse. I had so much apathy towards life and felt so hopeless and I never tried to do anything about it. I started working instead of going to college. When things did not go my way at work I would just explode and that would be the end of my job. I even injured myself during one of my fits of rage and I received five staples in my head. Although these were all flashing signs for me, I was still in denial and did not see it. My parents finally forced me to go to the hospital and while there I started to realize that my problems were not on the outside, maybe the problem was within me... read more
My name is Lynda. I live with Bipolar.
I now know that the onset of the illness probably began around the age of twelve. Prior to that I was sociable, a bit of a prankster, happy and outgoing. However, around the age of twelve there were periods where I was sad, angry and exhibited extreme and intense reactions to a variety of situations. Despite this I was remarkably high functioning.... read more
The ability to commune on a weekly basis with other people that understand or are trying to understand the experiences you are going through is overwhelming. A group of like minded people struggling together, groping to make sense of things and achieving a sense of purpose that carries over into the following week is a service that can scarcely be measured. I love being a part of that larger scheme of things....read more
In 1997, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, it took seven additional years for me to become an active participant in managing my illness. Once I faced it, I realized bipolar disorder had played a significant role throughout my life. Prior to my diagnosis, I failed out of college, married an old
high school friend and in the blink of an eye, my world became my husband and my two children. I lived the majority of my thirteen-year marriage undiagnosed....read more
My name is Steve. I am 40 years old, a son, a husband and a father. DBSA is an essential part of my personal health plan - enabling me to live a healthy, productive life with bipolar disorder. My grandfather, three uncles and my sister had or have bipolar disorder. Others in my family suffer from chronic depression. Many self medicate with alcohol. For years I kept the disorder and any conversations about it at arm’s length....read more
In the years before my diagnosis, I couldn’t recognize the early indications of my illness for what they really were. In fact, I had created an erroneous belief system that what I was experiencing was simply part of life. I attributed my mood to what I believed were my own shortcomings. I believed that I was lazy or bored, disinterested or tired or any other suggestion that disguised my depression for what it really was....read more
I am a Professional Psychotherapist, Life Coach, and Yoga Instructor. I became involved with DBSA in 2009 after moving to Houston from New Orleans. I currently lead groups in 2 Houston High Schools. Each time I end a group meeting I feel myself awed, filled with a humbling gratitude for the honor of being a part of such a supportive organization, one that brings FREE, QUALITY services to any and all who make the choice to attend...read more
I became involved with DBSA about 3 years ago and boy has my understanding of Bipolar changed, and changed for the better. I have come to realize that everyone is dealing with some issue in their life. Unfortunately, for some people they can't control the extremes that their moods and behaviors cycle through... read more