A Girl's Struggle with Bipolar Disorder

November 7, 2010
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Leah Miskoviak was confused with her swing of moods and wasn’t able to understand why it was so hard to complete everyday tasks. She noticed the first symptoms of it starting freshman year but it just recently had taken a turn for the worse. “Good morning Leah,” her stepfather Jay said. Leah felt this burst of irritation fill inside her and simply told him to leave her alone. How could someone become so easily irritated by the words good morning? She knew something wasn’t right and it had to be more than depression. She asked her mother if she could go see a doctor to get some answers. Her mother agreed and took Leah to Encircle Health.

“I have been having a hard time with my friends and family because of my sudden change in moods. One day I’ll be happy and the next I’ll be crying for reasons I’m not sure of,” she stated to her doctor. Leah continued to explain her situation and the doctor continued to nod and listen to her. The doctor suggested that they could increase her depression medications but Leah insisted it was something else. After a few written tests the doctor told her what was wrong.

“Leah, you have severe bipolar disorder which is uncommon for someone at your age,” her doctor said.

Leah is a junior at Kimberly High School and lives in Darboy. She has goals, likes, fears, and embarrassing moments just like the rest of us. Leah loves owls and wears her owl rings often. She also eats almonds every day. One of her goals is that she wants to visit every state in the United States before she turns the age of 45. Leah laughed when I asked her about her most embarrassing moment. “I fell in the same spot three times in the hallway because the floor was wet from the bubblers. After I finally was able to stand up I walked the other way because other people were staring at me,” Leah said and smiled as she recalled this memory. But there is one thing that she has no control of that she still is trying to figure out to this day since first learning about it two weeks ago, Bipolar Disorder.

Leah isn’t alone when it comes to having this disorder. Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million American adults, or about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older a given year. Leah’s grandfather also had bipolar disorder but never received care for it, which resulted in him taking his life. According to Leah, having bipolar disorder will affect her for the rest of her life. There is no cure other than taking medications that can help regulate her moods. “I’m relieved that I have answers but it’s hard to go places if you can’t stop crying. I’m trying to figure out how to control these moods and what sets them off. Until then it’s difficult for me to do normal things at school, work, or even at home,” Leah explained to me giving me a better understanding. Leah answered each question openly when it came to talking about her disorder, she wasn’t afraid to talk about it.

When it comes down to the end of the day Leah depends on her best friend and her mom the most. The ones close to her have accepted that she has a disorder and are understanding. I wondered how they knew when she was having a bad day and when she should be left alone. She explained that usually they can tell right away because she isn’t as talkative and stares off into space. If she really needs time to settle down and clear her mind, she goes home. “Cleaning my room makes me feel more at ease when I become irritated or upset. I have more lows than highs,” Leah stated. She explained there is a difference in the types of moods you experience if you have Bipolar Disorder. Some people experience more of either high or lows. When you have a high feeling you usually have a large amount of energy and are extremely happy. While low means that you are feeling more upset and cry. She is still learning about her disorder from this day. “One day I hope I can get my moods under complete control so that I can live a normal life,” Leah said.





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