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Posts by queeeel
Name: Raquel Carolina
Joined: Dec 30, 2013
Last Post: Dec 30, 2013
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From: Brazil

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Dec 30, 2013
Undergraduate / My mother's been diagnosed with bipolar disorder; CENTRAL TO IDENTITY [3]

Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

I remember thinking about how I'd like for things to be different and I think that this is a problem with humankind: instead of being grateful and trying to take lessons from the problems we've faced, we question the situations and try to understand why they're happening to us. The thing is that we'll never understand. And that was my problem; I couldn't accept the situation I was in.

My immediate family is formed by my parents and my younger brother, and it'd be perfectly normal if we didn't have such pressing issues. My mother's been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which is a mental condition that most people don't even recognize as a serious medical illness. This disorder causes the patient to present two different phases that alternates: depression and mania. My family and I have been dealing with my mother's illness since I was around eight, which was mainly due to the amount of stress my mother had at work. Back then, I remember seeing my mother in bed for days, she'd only get up if she had to go to work. I couldn't understand why it was happening, ''how could she sleep so much?'' I used to wonder.

As time passed it only got worse. Sometimes, she couldn't even go to work, she didn't eat or shower, she didn't want to do anything anymore. At that time, my brother was only six years old and my father was distant, so, because of that, it was always my brother and I taking care of each other. That was when I took some responsibility upon myself, besides being so young; my brother and my mother both needed me. This brought about in me a maturity and a responsibility that weren't common for most at my age.

As the years went by, my mother began to show the manic episode and I couldn't say which one was the worst. Even today, when she's in this phase, she's confident, irritable, euphoric, extremely energetic, and talkative. When she was feeling assertive, she started to act impulsively by buying everything that she saw ahead of her creating debts. For my mother this was catastrophic, she couldn't bear that and being in such position was oppressive making things worse. Everything in my life was bad, it wasn't the way I wanted it to be and the only way out that I could see was through studying. It was what I knew how to do, so I dedicated myself to my schoolings, I felt great doing that because I knew that someday it'd allow me to make a difference.

Strangely enough, nowadays I'm grateful for these lessons no matter how hard they've been. It's been harder in the past two years because my mother's depression got worse to the point her doctor wanted her hospitalized due to her suicidal tendencies and almost no improvement with the treatment. However, now, I believe the worst is over and she's improving. Going through this turmoil has made me realize the importance of life and how fragile life is. It's also allowed me to develop the most beautiful sibling relationship that I could ever ask for with my brother, it brought us close and taught us to rely on each other for support. When I'm sad or hopeless, my brother always tells me: ''don't you worry, it'll be better tomorrow and remember that it'll always be you and I against the world''. These words help me hold on and not give up. This experience made me become less selfish and care for others and want to help whoever needed my help. It made me become a better person. A person that knows that life's hard but that has strength to go through hard times knowing that things will get better. I'm sure that I'd never be who I'm now without all of these lessons and moments.

Please, any suggestion and comment will be very appreciated!! I dont know if I should change anything