by Jim in New Jersey
I was born and raised in Philadelphia. I then moved to Florida with my wife and three children. By the 2001, I had been married for ten years. I wrestled with an obsession for many years.
In July of 2001 our family was torn apart. I was left to raise our children alone - a charge I was not prepared for. Depression set in very deeply. I was barely functioning. In May of 2002, I attempted what was the first of seven suicide tries. At the time I was 37 years old. I was not to have custody of my children again. I struggled with depression the next three years. I sought and was granted a divorce in June 2005. In August of the same year, I moved back to the Philadelphia area to be near my immediate family. Things improved little. Three more suicide attempts followed, devastating my family. It was after the final attempt, however, my mother insisted on intensive mental health care. After I recovered physically, I spent four months in a psychiatric hospital where I willingly participated in my recovery. In the hospital, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, major depression and obsessive compulsive disorder tendencies.
From the hospital, I was discharged into a wonderful group home. All our needs are closely monitored while a sense of independence is encouraged. My intensive therapy is covered by Medicaid as is my outpatient meetings with my psychologist. Currently I am enrolled in a community college and am taking two classes a week. The other three days I attend an adult partial care program. It is almost impossible to explain the difference in my life now. I feel joy I have never felt before. I believe now people love me for me - not for who I think I should be to please them. I enjoy so many activities. I love to take walks, read books, surf the internet, talk and watch my favorite sport, baseball, and more importantly, my favorite team the Philadelphia Phillies. For me the most important factors in my recovery were to rid myself of the selfishness and embrace those trying to help me. There are many obstacles that remain, but I intend to stay positive and stay focused.