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18 October 2019

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10/18/19 #SameHere Hero: Michael Wellington

Today’s #SameHere Hero: @mwellington3906 the newest member of our Influencer Alliance

 

Michael was an incredible college golfer, who got to play pro golf. The thing is, he might have gone on to be a top PGA pro, had bipolar disorder not gotten the best of him for some time & had he learned sooner, how to acknowledge what he was facing.

 

At a young age, he had “symptoms” – being the overly talkative kid, overly friendly & outgoing, but the mania didn’t hit in a big way, in terms of ppl taking major notice until the comforts of college ended, & he was out in the “real world.” 

 
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His story is very relatable & to Michael’s credit, he reached out to me, even after all the advocacy work he has done personally, & the book he’s written: “Birdies, Bogeys & Bipolar Disorder” – to get involved w our Movement.  I now look forward to having Michael become a vital part of the events & programs we coordinate, as our footprint grows. Please help me welcome Michael!

 

“I was correctly diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2001.  At the time of the diagnosis, I wasn’t sleeping at all, I was making grandiose & odd claims to family & friends.  I had a creeping paranoia that people were outside my apartment windows & were ‘out to get me.’ My mind was moving so quickly that I would forget to eat on some days.  I went on odd & unnecessary spending sprees buying things that I simply did not need.  I was restless & couldn’t sit still even when doing something relaxing like watching television or reading.

 

During this time frame, I was a month removed from college & without the friendly confines & familiarity of college life, the real world triggered my condition to grab a hold of my life.

 

My condition confused me in such a way that after I was diagnosed & prescribed medication, I skipped taking that taking that medication thinking to myself, ‘I was a college all-American golfer & I didn’t take meds then, I don’t need them now.’ When the paranoia took over my mind, I made the terrible decision to take a hand full of the medication to ‘catch up’ on the two weeks worth of medication that I had skipped due to my ego’s overtaking of my brain.  That decision brought me to a hospital to get my stomach pumped & then put into my first psychiatric facility.  This episode was my introduction to the power of bipolar mania.

 

After 5 years of struggling with inconsistent use of my bipolar medication, a group of friends of mine challenged me to take the meds or lose their friendship. I chose to take the meds everyday & to keep my friends in my life.  These friends cared about me but they had seen the inconsistency of my medication usage land me in hospitals too many times so they challenged me & I’m glad they did.  Listening to people that I respected was a key in becoming healthy.  Anyone living with a mental health complication should realize that a support system is an incredible resource.

 

Lithium is the medication I use.  But managing bipolar disorder is not only about taking my meds.  It’s also about regular intense exercise, proper hydration, quality sleep conditions/patterns.  Strong diet: good gut health aids in good mental health.  I think Cryotherapy is a great tool to fight off depression.  Cryotherapy is a 3 minute technique that uses a cold chamber to send all the body’s heat to the core & ‘charge’ the body & mind with fresh new energy.  My other secret to fending off depression is to eat probiotic foods, specifically & especially: sauerkraut.

 

I wrote my book: “Birdies, Bogeys & Bipolar Disorder” to share my story because I want people out there living with bipolar disorder & all mental health conditions to know that they are not alone & can live a productive life if they are willing to create a plan & work hard on their mental health.

 

The reception that I have received at speaking engagements & on social media has been 100% positive.  People understand that the mental health discussion is an important one. You really can’t do much without strong mental health.   I’m happy to share my #SameHere story & what I’ve learned in 18+ years living with a mental health challenge.”

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