“J” was referred to LFS for outpatient aftercare following hospitalization for a suicide attempt. At that time she was diagnosed with a Bipolar Disorder, major depression, and an obsessive compulsive disorder. She was on medications at the time of her admission. Her life including her college studies were turned upside down.
J wanted a better life, but she couldn’t shake feelings of self-loathing and returned to self-mutilating (cutting on herself) and abusing chemicals. She lacked an appropriate support system, was living alone, and was working part-time to support herself.
She was diligent about attending counseling and taking her medications. She struggled for four years, experiencing relatively symptom-free periods but also periods of despair and self-harm. She attended AA and was able to maintain sobriety. During this period she received therapy and medication management at LFS. Her medications, while sometimes adjusted to find the appropriate combination and dosages, helped her remain stable so her counseling could be effective. Her obsessive compulsive thoughts and behaviors were minimized, and the medication caused little or no interference with her daily functioning.
However, she sank into despair about eighteen months ago and attempted suicide. She was hospitalized and stabilized. Her prognosis was poor and doctors were considering sending her to the Regional Center. Her therapist and consulting physician at LFS believed other options should be explored before taking this almost “final” step. Her LFS physician recommended ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), another drastic step.
Following a series of ECT treatments and further counseling, J emerged a new person. She benefitted from counseling and no longer needs medication. She now has a positive outlook and hope for a better future. She no longer engages in self-loathing and self-mutilating behaviors and is free of all her symptoms. J still attends counseling occasionally for maintenance, but her major problems are behind her.
J married recently and has an infant son. She is proud of her accomplishments and her parenting skills (partially learned through her counseling). After her son is a little older, she plans to return to college.