Alice is a 30 year-old, married Black female. Her mood and affect are congruent, currently presenting as depressed. She states she was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder at the age of five, after her first suicide attempt. She has since attempted suicide several times; her first hospitalization occurred at age 19. Alice reports a history of self-injury beginning in 2000, however has not engaged in self-injurious behavior since 2010. Alice was placed on psychiatric medication at age 12; she was not medication compliant until age 16 when her moods began to fluctuate dramatically.
Alice was not correctly diagnosed and treated for Bipolar II Disorder until 2008. Alice occasionally reports symptoms of hypomania such as irritation, fast-paced speech, insomnia, grandiosity, increased energy, loss of appetite, and racing thoughts for less than three days. These symptoms increase in intensity and frequency when not medication compliant. Alice continues to report symptoms of depression such as lethargy, helplessness, hopelessness, suicidal ideations, hypersomnia, isolation, crying spells, and increased appetite. These periods of depression are reported to occur immediately after periods of hypomania and last for an average of three to five days. Due to Alice’s self-proclaimed perfectionism and fear, she is not often without her medication however is not always able to escape her illness.
Alice writes to relieve her stress, process her thoughts, and has opted to make some of her struggles public in hopes of shedding light on her illness and the complications caused by stigma within the health care system.
Some of the names, dates, and locations have been changes for Alice’s own protection, however the timeline, words, and experiences are very real.