2013 Mental Health Hero Cartoon-A-Thon
Drawing by Chato Stewart
My name is Melanie Oldham. I am bipolar. I am also a wife, a mother, a court reporter.
At the age of 40, I decided I was drinking too much alcohol. I checked myself into a rehab. After five days of getting all the alcohol out of my system, they sent me home. The very next day, Thanksgiving Day 2007, I had my very first manic episode. My husband didn’t know what was wrong with me. He finally took me to the hospital and they started running tests thinking I had a brain tumor.
After an overnight stay and a threat to send me to the State psychiatric hospital, my husband found a private hospital in Dallas that I could go to on a voluntary basis. I do not remember the first eight days because I was so manic. Before I could leave the hospital, I had to have an appointment with a psychiatrist. My psychiatrist and I hit it off. He is as much my friend as my doctor.
My job as a court reporter is very stressful. It is filled with deadlines, emotions, and drama. That is one of the reasons I choose to also see a psychologist on a regular basis. It has been challenge to find the right one. Finding someone you can talk to and relate to is important.
When I was first diagnosed, I was embarrassed about being mentally ill. The only bipolar people I had been around were in the courtroom and they were self-medicated on methamphetamine and marijuana and in trouble with the law, and I knew that was a path I didn’t want to take.
I read everything I could find on the subject. I discovered the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) website. I even attended their conference in Houston. That is where I met Chato Stewart. I became friends with him on Facebook and read his columns on PsychCentral.
He encouraged me to enter the Facing Us Video Contest. I did, and I won. What an honor.
I currently chair a support group each week. I feel it is important to stay involved in the latest research and give back to the community. I am grateful for the loving support of my family. I am thankful I have not had a relapse. I hope my involvement will keep me on the right track.LP 14 – Sweet Pea 11 – Precious 10 and Belly 7
FreeCounselingHelp.com is America’s only directory connecting people with affordable counseling. There are thousands of non-profit agencies within America that are available to help those with limited means. FreeCounselingHelp.com allows people to quickly search by ZIP code and find the best fit for their mental health needs.
Mentalympians is a mental health community development initiative to raise awareness of mental health recovery, inspire hope, reduce self-stigma, foster recovery and also connect individuals who are interested in campaigning for mental health reform.
I would like to thank Enzymedica’s Tom Bohager for his support. Enzymedica is Florida-based founded in 1998 to offer consumers targeted digestive enzymes products. Considered America’s #1 selling enzyme brand sold by health food store retailers. They also offer a FREE Digestive Enzyme interactive education program that is very helpful in learning the benefits enzymes have on our over all health.
Friend me on Facebook @chato B Stewart.View previous Newsletters.
Bonus My kids’ Drawings:LP 14*
Coming SoonSweet Pea 11 * Sweet Pea 11 Precious 10 *Precious 10 Belly 7*Belly 7